What is faith and why is it irreplaceable?
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1).
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb 11:6).
Yet the multitudes of men and women, summarized in Hebrews 11, did not receive the desires of their hearts.
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth (Heb 11:13)…And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised (Heb 11:39).
We all want to see the end of decay, violence, disease, suffering and death. We all want creation to be set free from the influence of evil and not just redeemed from the bondage of evil. We all want each person, who has received the great gift of salvation, to be set free from the influence of sin and not just redeemed from the bondage of sin. We Christians believe God has provided something better for us (Heb 11:40) and a great emancipation will, one day, take place.
But the Christian life today is not one of health, wealth and prosperity, charlatan preachers not-withstanding. Do not expect a great transfer of wealth from non-Christians to Christians in the manner that wealth was transferred from Egyptians to Israelites. Do not expect freedom from sickness, disability and aging. All such beliefs are Christian claptrap. In general, Christians are outcasts, despised by the world, beginning with the apostles who ignored personal gain and freely chose persecution, torture and death to preserve what they knew to be the truth.
So how do we deal with reality? We confront it, like Christians have been doing for two thousand years, with toughness, tenacity and perseverance. We believe the outcome of the Great War between good and evil was completely determined by the substitutionary atonement. We believe Jesus Christ will one day free all creation from the influence of evil and free each Christian from the influence of sin. We believe God’s will is always health, healing, safety, well-being and wholeness for His children. We believe God always responds to prayer and prayer always makes a difference. We are certain that Jesus Christ will fulfill his promises and we will take that certainty to our death.