“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them.” (Hebrews 11:13)
All believers should hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering. A believer faces many challenges, but two seem particularly difficult to handle. First, our eternal destination cannot be seen with our physical eyes. Without something material to see or hold, our human nature is not satisfied and on occasion raises questions in our mind: “Is heaven really there?” “Am I missing out on something here on Earth?” The writer to the Hebrew Christians was aware that questions could lead to doubt, then to discouragement, and even cause some to “draw back” (Hebrews 10:38-39).
Though we cannot literally see heaven, we can “see [it] afar off” by faith. This is only done by implicitly believing the Word of the Lord. Paul said there is a special power in God’s Word enabling believers to grow “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17). The fact that faith itself is the fuel to energize even greater faith is illustrated in our text verse. Noah, Abraham, and others had “seen” the promises by faith, which led them to even stronger belief until they were deeply “persuaded of them.” The promises eventually were so real to these saints that they “embraced them” like a fellow companion in their daily walk with the Lord. Only by faith do His promises become an integral part of our lives, able to guide our daily activities and long-range plans.
The second challenge we face is fear of the world’s reprisal, directed to anyone daring to not conform to its practices. This fear has stopped many believers from “confessing” their faith and is why the final step to “dying in faith” may be so difficult. Like nothing else can, being willing to publicly proclaim your belief in God’s Word builds faith and truly honors Him. RJG