You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
1 Now [de] faith [pistis] is [esti] the substance [hupostasis] of things hoped for [elpizo], the evidence [elegchos] of things [pragma] not [ou] seen [blepo]. KJV-Interlinear
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. NASB
By the time of the birth of Christ, the system of faith which God had originally given to the Israelites had been transformed into an elaborate, confusing, and over burdensome system of works. Salvation and the spiritual life were no longer based on faith and Gods work, but on a man made system of legalistic rules, rituals, and works called Judaism, that attempted to gain self salvation by self effort resulting in self glorification.
This in short is man patting himself on his own back using a cult system of ethics. Ethics that were, and are, defined by man. And, anything man defines for his own social norms and standards, is subject to popularity, compromise, and eventually result in abuse.
4 'Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. NASB
The righteous person lives by faith, not works, lest anyone should boast. Man can have and man can take no credit for that which God has and is doing. Man was not here before the angels. Man was not here when the universe was created. Man was not present when the earth was restored. In fact man has never invented anything original out of nothing, but can only redesign things out of things which already exist in the physical world. Man has no direct access to the substance of the spiritual realm.
Now, in chapter eleven, we have a roster of the Old Testament Hall of Fame. These are people who were brilliant in their own right. Given gifts of talent, of leadership and such, and yet they did not depend on their physical or mental abilities in the end, they looked to God and to Gods promises through faith, for their greater reward, not in this world but in the next.
Just as the second covenant is far better than the first, just as Christ's work is far better than the work of the Levites, so too, the spiritual side of each of our lives, is far better than the temporal or physical side of our life.
There are two systems of theology. The first incorporates all religions or even non-religion atheist's, wherein their principle belief is that man by mans own efforts can attain great heights, and solve all of mans problems eventually.
The second system of theology has but one member and that is Christianity. The primary belief in Christianity is that God by Gods efforts can solve all of mans problems and that man has a relationship with God through faith not through mans works. Christianity is a relationship with God, through the only means of access to God, which access is Jesus Christ.
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world NASB
Faith has been around for a very long time. Before the universe was even created, before angels were created, God had laid out a system of faith for the very purpose of bringing mankind, who would eventually fail, back to Himself. And man would come back to a God whom he has never seen, based on promises that have not yet been fulfilled.
From the time of Adam, the very first man (Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon were not human beings. You might have to ponder this one.), but from the very first man, Adam, up and until the very last man in human history, all relationship with God has and will be based, on faith.
God honors faith. God does not honor works. Faith is the primary entry into Gods presence. Mans works should properly result from faith, not the other way around. Works do not produce nor acquire faith. God does not and has never tolerated, nor even recognized any self imposed system of ethics, self denial, self abuse, anything wherein man tries to 'earn' His approval.
Through faith, we look to the future and to the things that we have never seen, nor even know all of the details of, likewise we look to a God whose voice we have never heard. Our sole hope and confidence rests on the promises of God. We tolerate the difficulties of this life, because we know that God has promised far better things in the future.
We believe these things because the Bible provides us with more than ample proof, that it is reliable, and it is truth.
Faith is not wishful thinking, based on dreams or luck, but it is living in a hope that is so real it gives absolute and complete confidence that, that which we have been told, in doctrine, is very real and will become a reality one day.
Music, stories, and philosophies galore, try to convince man that his ultimate goal should be pleasure, that his happiness comes only from his own effort, that he has to get out and hustle for that which will make his life better. Couldn't be further from the truth.
Our works are nothing more than building our existence upon a foundation of a bottomless pit of quicksand. Faith, provides the solid ground on which we build our existence while waiting for the fulfillment of Gods promises.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.