The Evidence of things Unseen

As I removed the 240 lbs of sand from the back of my car I considered how this shows I have faith that it is not going to snow again. I certainly wouldn’t be doing all this work if I thought I was going to have to make this difficult walk between my car and apartment storage again in reverse to keep my car from fish-tailing. Then Hebrews 11:1 popped into my head:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is one of those things that can be hard to pin down. It seems such an ethereal concept. Many have wondered if they actually have faith, and how would they even know if they did. But this verse is so clear. Faith is the substance, the evidence. It is the thing we can touch. It is not the thing we cannot see.

I’ve heard many sermons that focus on this verse, and it seems most everyone has still talked about faith as this ethereal concept. The things not seen are heaven and victory over death. Faith is evidence of these things, but we can’t actually see it either. Now that I think upon this verse I can’t help if I was misunderstanding them through my own presuppositions as it seems so hard to miss. Faith can be seen.

All that follows in Hebrews 11 makes this clear. By faith Abel offered, Enoch was translated, Noah prepared, Abraham went out, Sara conceived, Abraham offered up Isaac, Joseph gave commandment concerning his bones, Moses was hid, Israel passed through the Red Sea, and so on!

All these things are things seen. We could see Abel’s offering. We could see Noah making a huge boat. We could see Abraham leaving home for Canaan. We could see that Sara conceived. This is why women post pictures of themselves on Facebook when they’re pregnant. So everyone can say, “I see! You are pregnant.” We could see when Moses was hid. Or at least we could see that we didn’t see him. “Where’s baby Moses? We could see that you were pregnant. You must have a baby here somewhere.”

Of course this is made clear elsewhere in the Bible. As James says “I will shew thee my faith by my works.” And “faith without works is dead” James 2:18,20. So must all faith be accompanied with substance? Must it all be as apparent as me carrying a big heavy sandbag out of the back of my car? On some things it seems our faith will remain hidden, but I think if it’s important it will move us to do something visible.

Some things may not be revealed in an instant. My belief that the dead know nothing (Eccl 9:5) may not show up every day. But when someone tries to sell me a posh coffin so I can be comfortable six feet under, if I really believe this truth I will save that money so it can be spent on making life more comfortable for someone who can actually appreciate it.

Sometimes this is hardest to understand in our waiting. Isn’t our waiting just waiting around. You can wait for mom to come home sitting on the couch slack-jawed and no one could see the difference between if you were waiting or trying to catch flies. But Jesus says there will be a difference in the actions of those who wait faithfully and those who do not.

The faithful and wise steward will give those under his care their portion at the proper time. His belief will be seen in his care in those around him. But the servant who says the master delays will be seen to beat his fellow servants and while away what he thinks to be a lengthy time in drunkenness. Luke 12:42,45

Too often I wonder about whether I’ve understood something well enough to believe it. If I’ve properly assimilated the intellectual content well enough to retell it. But I think the question that should be on my mind when it comes to truth is not whether I believe it, but what am I doing about it!


2 Responses to “The Evidence of things Unseen”

  1. 1 Antoinette
    April 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    What is equally interesting, is that Abraham was justified when he believed, according to Romans 4, and not when he performed some visible action. Perhaps it is because to create a visible item, or product — a thing, if you will, we must first have the mental (invisible) creation. So in reality, things are created twice, once in imagination, and then the final product. For example, Jesus has said, if we look on a person to lust after him/her, we have committed sin. Why? Because the action merely preceeds the thought (or dwelling on). Faith, is believing that the same God who created the worlds and sustains them by His Word, is sustaining us too. It is believing that we live by every Word that comes from His mouth, for everything — food, clothing, hair cuts, transportation, schooling, work, promotions, friends, spouses, loving relationships — everything. Per EGW, it is our will, thoughts, and affections centered on and in Him. It is allowing Him to tell us what He thinks about every decision, and action we are about to take, and deciding to follow His prompting instead of our own either spontaneous or well thought out / well researched way. After all, according to Heb. 11:6, without faith it is impossible to please Him, and whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). For me this means, that whatever is dwelt or acted on outside of heart felt gratitude for What Christ has done, is doing and will do, is sin.

    I know this is long, but to me here’s the thing, the entire scripture is filled from Genesis to Revelation with promises — basically the same ones, made in different circumstances, to mankind by God — “trust me, I will deliver you, I will bless you, I have a plan for you, I will transform you and give you my way of thinking (intellectually and emotionally) I will give you a home, a spouse, children, and eternal life with Me forever; Wait on Me, I will come through for you.” Unfortunately, we, like the Israelites, think it’s up to us to fulfill those promises ourselves, when it has been His plan all along to fulfill the promises Himself. Our part, if you will, is to believe. The Israelites failed of achieving their ‘rest’ — because of unbelief. May we not fall into the same trap.

    • 2 rcmosher
      May 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Very well put. As John 15:5 says “without me ye can nothing.” This is an easy thing to forget in our pursuits, but if we truly believe God is our creator then we must also accept this saying.

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