The “faith chapter” forms a chiastic structure with a portion of chapters 10 and 12:
1a) Heb 10:35-37, Do not cast away your confidence/ you have need of endurance;
1b) Heb 10:38a, Now the just shall live by faith;
1c) Heb 10:38b, If anyone draws back;
1d) Heb 10:38c-39, My soul has no pleasure in him;
central axis) Heb 11:1-5, Two- part theme repeated twice for emphasis:
–> 1.1) Heb 11:1, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;
–> 1.2) Heb 11:2, By it the elders obtained a good testimony;
–> 2.1) Heb 11:3, By faith the seen worlds (substance, evidence) were made from that which is unseen;
–> 2.2) Heb 11:4-5, The good testimony of Abel and Enoch;
2d) Heb 11:6a, Without faith it is impossible to please Him;
2c) Heb 11:6b, He who comes to God;
2b) Heb 11:7-40, The example of the just who lived by faith;
2a) Heb 12:1-4, Let us run with endurance the race set before us.
Relying on the blood of Jesus and the grace of the Lord God for intimate access into His presence, rather than relying on the strength of our works of righteousness, pleases God (Luk 18:9-14). Let us not draw back from His presence because our works are not perfect. The next time the enemy lies to us to keep us from the presence of God because of our imperfect works, may we strengthen our hearts with the assurance that our High Priest, whose works were perfect, opened the veil for us to enter.
Exercising this faith in the worthiness of the Son of God, is pleasing to God. Isn’t it amazing that He takes pleasure in His people who live by their faith in Him (Psa 149:4)? But He takes pleasure in us as we do so, just as we take pleasure in Him.
But I noticed this morning, how artificial a distinction it was, that faith is the opposite of works. For in Heb 11:7-40, the “hall of faith,” each hero of the faith exercised their faith in God and in promises which they did not receive in this life, however it was that very faith which caused them to accomplish great works:
And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Heb 11:32-35
It would be more accurate to say, that faith causes works, rather than faith opposes works. Faith is like the root of the plant underground. It cannot be seen, but it is that root that enables the plant above ground to stand upright and bear fruit. Without the water and minerals the root gathers from the soil, and transfers to the plant, the plant above ground would be nothing and bear nothing.
Beloved, if the pattern of our works in our lives is convicting us and troubling us, let us resolve it by strengthening our faith in God, for working harder from the flesh and not from faith will not produce the fruit of faith, which is righteousness – and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17)!