Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The New Hall of Faith

Hebrews chapter 11 lists a group of people known for their faith. People who sacrificed all – reputations, homelands, friends, prosperity – even their very lives. All of these people lived in the time of the Old Testament – from the time of creation until the birth of Jesus Christ.

These heroes of faith lived looking forward to something. By faith, they believed the promise of something better than their life on earth. So even though “the world was not worthy of them,” they “were all commended for their faith” because “none of them received what had been promised” (Hebrews 11:38-39). 

Why did God withhold the promise? Because “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). The Old Testament heroes of faith had to wait for the New Testament heroes to do their part.

Whereas the OT heroes are all listed in one convenient place, the NT scatters its heroes throughout its pages. The New Testament describes every one of these men and women as faithful; each one faithful within his or her specific gifting and calling.
  • The mother of Timothy who raised her son to love and serve God. Acts 16:1
  • Lydia who opened her home to Paul and his companions. Acts 16:15
  • Timothy who is an example of how the Christian should live. 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Tychicus who encouraged others in their kingdom work. Ephesians 6:21-22, Colossians 4:7-8
  • Epaphras who wrestled earnestly in prayer. Colossians 1:7, 4:12
  • Onesimus, a former slave, who repented of his wrongs. Colossians 4:9, Philemon 1:10-21
  • Paul whom God chose to serve Him. 1 Timothy 1:12
  • Silas who helped Paul in his ministry. 1 Peter 5:12

The OT hall of faith in Hebrews 11 ends by saying those OT saints will receive the promised blessing together with the NT saints. Well, these NT heroes have done their part – why hasn’t the promise been completed or perfected? 

The promise still waits because we are part of that NT list. The New Testament started with the birth of Christ and ends with eternity in heaven; we are living in New Testament times. You and I have jobs to do – callings to which we need to be faithful.

The question then becomes, Is your name on that list? What area are you faithfully serving in as you wait for the fulfillment of the promise of eternity with Christ?

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