Hebrews 11 is the “Hall of Fame of Faith.” In it the author starts the chapter by giving us his definition of faith, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So that’s what faith is, the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen. The author illustrates that definition for the balance of the 40 verses by telling us what faith does. Faith understands that God created the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo). Faith gives acceptable offerings to God, obeys God in spite of circumstances, trusts God to keep His promises, and much more. What’s the commonality of faith? Action. As the Apostle James declared, “Faith without works (actions) is dead” (James 2:17-italics mine). In fact, James goes so far as to say, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:19)! Actions are the proof of genuine faith and real belief. If there are no actions, the faith is not genuine and the belief is simply head knowledge. For example, belief in God and the great doctrinal truths of Scripture is not the same as faith. Even the demons are both orthodox and biblical in their belief that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Their actions reveal their lack of faith.
Belief informs our values and when we act consistently with our values we walk by faith. Does that make sense? We believe in the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Scripture and we base our personal values on those beliefs. Our values then tell us how to behave in this world. Why don’t we steal? It violates the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). Why don’t we lie? It violates the ninth commandment, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). You get the idea. To say we believe in the Bible and its teachings and base our values on it yet act in complete contradiction to it is not simply hypocritical, it’s lying. Those aren’t our real values; they’re simply ideals because “actions speak louder than words.” No matter what we profess, if our actions don’t bear them out, our values are simply ideals, not values.
A fellow pilgrim trying to walk by faith,