Christ In You, The Hope of Glory.
I’ve always held a fascination for Hebrews chapter eleven, the faith chapter as its been called. In particular the first verse has had a myriad of commentaries written in the attempt to analyze this thing called faith, substance, things, evidence, and hope.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb 11:1
Of course this verse creates quite an enigma and leaves us with many contrasting interpretations when read out of context. Personally, I’ve never heard any rendering I can confidently say I’m certain of. The verse always seems to be reduced to something on a personal level, something that we need or more often some desire to come into existence out of the blue. Something that God will make appear or arrange because we have faith in Him to make it happen.
It would be ridiculous to propose we don’t have needs in this life, but in a real sense it is equally absurd to suggest that God is unaware of our needs. I believe the outworking of our faith often comes up short because we ask amiss. In other words, we invite or seek God to meet our personal agendas and ask Him to help us make it happen, rather than endeavouring to embrace the Lord and find out what’s on His heart on a matter, and then ask Him to supply all that is needed for that purpose according to His riches in Glory.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matt 6:33
Our seeking must never be about things, to do so only demonstrates our ignorance of God’s kingdom and its principals. “….it is the Father’s desire to give you the kingdom…” (Luke 12:22-40), and indeed through Christ He has already given us all things. Therefore, it only makes sense that if all things have been given to us, that the only seeking left to do is for a person.
I might add that the things 5023 translated in Matt 6:33 and Luke 12:22-40 is the word, tauta, which literally means these things or the things concerning this physical world; what to eat, drink, and wear, whereas, the things 4229, mentioned in Hebrews 11 is translated, pra=gma.
The root word here is, pra/ssw (verb), which means to exercise, practise, to be busy with, carry on, to accomplish, perform, to manage public affairs, transact public business, to act…” which are more related to “relational matters” that would have to do with a person, rather than with “objects.”
In short, the things related to in Matt and Luke are obviously objects, but, what about the things referred to in Hebrews?
The definition of the word pra/ssw, sounds more like the business one would carry on with a person rather than an object. Perhaps the stumbling block in understanding Heb 11:1 is not so much with the word, things, but rather with the word, substance?
Substance, on a surface level, often refers to physical objects and matter, or in other words things we can touch…such as clothes, food, and drink. If our understanding of substance are objects, then plainly objects will be the things we ask for in faith. Our seeking turns from looking for a person, to looking for an object.
But, what if the word “substance” referred to in Hebrews has nothing to do with objects or things? If the “substance” is a person, then our seeking will no longer be an object. This train of thought definitely lines up much better with Matt 6:33, which tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and then all these things will be added.
The word substance 5287,referred to in Hebrews is: u(po/stasiv,
Literal translation: Hupostasis
- a setting or placing under
- thing put under, substructure, foundation
- that which has foundation, is firm
- that which has actual existence
- a substance, real being
- the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing
- the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolution
- confidence, firm trust, assurance
- KJV (5) – confidence, 2; confident, 1; person, 1; substance, 1;
- that which has actual existence
In a word, this translation of “substance” leads me to believe that in Hebrews 11:1, we are talking about a person as the substance of our faith, not a thing. Even faith in this verse, I believe, is related to a person rather than a human action.
Faith in this verse derives from the word, piðstiv: (Strong’s number 4102), which in a nutshell, refers to the conviction or belief, respective of man’s relationship to God and divine things rather than some pie in the sky hope that the results of faith are somehow dependent on ourselves to make happen. Actually the opposite is true, we must have faith in the divinity, character, and nature of God to do the things He says He will do.
So then, if faith is the substance of things hope for, then the substance of faith is Jesus through whom all blessings flow. He is the author and finisher of our faith and all things have been given to Him, and if He dwells in us, then Col.1:27 gives us great hope beyond measure…Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Consequently, its not about what we do nor is it our ability to bring glory to God’s kingdom; it’s Christ in us and the Holy Spirit, giving us the ability to know and to do the the will of God, which will naturally bring about God’s kingdom and rightly gives all the glory to God.
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.