Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle for this week, from Hebrews 11, speaks to the importance of faith. Some would call the chapter a “heroes of the faith” list. There is certainly inspiration to be found in the list of famous people who trusted God. However, there’s even more to be grasped as we consider the nature of faith. The author of Hebrews describes it as a certainty, not a blind hope and trust, but as an eyes-wide-open step on solid ground under the noonday light.
This Christian version of hope and faith is decidedly different from any of our cultural substitutes. Even within Christianity we have sometimes sadly persuaded ourselves that faith in Christ is somehow vague and uncertain. When visiting the sick or elderly, rather than a confession such as, “I know that Christ my savior has redeemed me and will keep me even through death” we hear something like, “I hope Jesus is my savior, I’ve always tried to be a good person.” The first is a biblical hope. The last is the hope in one’s own ability to be pleasing to God by good works. The first is certain, the second leads certainly to destruction.
How does the Christian live in light of this passage? It is a bold and confident life. Christ has redeemed me from the curse of sin. I have nothing to fear in eternity. In this life I face various trials, but I am convinced that Christ my savior has faced all the same kinds of temptations. There’s no room for fear. Illness, poverty, persecution, loss of earthly security, none of it finally matters. Christ has redeemed me and there is no fear in this life. There may be discomfort, even pain. But none of it is going to last forever. My hope is not in this world. It is in Christ. I can walk as confidently in him now as I will in my eternal home. What he says is all right. He has proven his authority by his resurrection. He has promised to be with his people. There’s no fear.
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