top of page
  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - Faith in Three Dimensions

Hebrews 11:4-7

In this eleventh chapter we find what the 17th century Puritan writer, Richard Sibbes, called ‘a little book of martyrs.’ Raymond Brown reminds us that this galaxy of saints is not arrayed simply in order to exalt their virtues; indeed, all of them were sinners who made mistakes and at times grieved God. Yes, these were ordinary people, but by God’s grace alone, they were enabled to do extraordinary things. It was by God’s grace alone through faith alone that these saints accomplished amazing things.

As we study this beautiful eleventh chapter of Hebrews, we will discover the variety of things that faith does or accomplishes. Richard Phillips underscores the significance of faith when he writes,

“We often think of this chapter as focusing on the heroes of the faith, on the people themselves, and certainly the writer of Hebrews does draw upon the wonderful histories of the Old Testament and therefore on its personalities. But ultimately it is not these men and women who are on display, in all their variety of experience, but rather the one faith that shows its various facets in their lives. Through these historical and biblical figures, the author personifies the faith he is commending, and we thereby see all the things faith does and the benefits it conveys” (Reformed Expository Commentary, Hebrews, p401).

Faith is a quality of response to God which celebrates the reality of promised blessings and the objective certainty of events announced but as yet unseen (11:1). This understanding is then substantiated by a rollcall of persons and events which the writer views from the perspective of faith in action. This demonstration of the effective power of faith under the old covenant verifies the character and possibilities of faith for the Christian community. Thus, serving as an encouragement to the followers of Christ to press on in the faith.

William Lane sums up the character of faith in Hebrews 11 “as a present grasp on invisible truth or as openness to the future expressed through obedient trust in God’s reliable world of promise” (Hebrews: A Call to Commitment). In this chapter, we are issued a challenge, a call to follow the Lord with this kind of faith. Not a faith that simply says it believes, but a faith that exercises that belief through actions. As James said, “faith without works is useless” (2:20). Hebrews 11 presents us with a picture of what faith does.

Are we people of faith? This Sunday we will ask that question. Based on this passage in Hebrews, would be seen as people of faith? You don’t want to miss this week’s study.

In His Name,

Pastor Wayne



bottom of page