Tonight we looked at the subject of living by faith since it is according to our faith that so much happens in the spiritual life (see Matthew 9:29-30). Faith is what is needed to please God (Heb 11:6); it is a core ingredient to the spiritual life which cannot ever be omitted. To do the works God requires means we have to believe in the One He has sent (John 6:29); we have to be like Abraham who is our model in terms of faith (‘he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Gen 15:5)

Hebrews 11:1 gives us our definition of faith and the rest of the chapter lists many people as examples of how to live by faith. In the New Testament, many miracles involved people whose faith was commended by Jesus: not only the two blind men who were healed by Jesus but  also the paralysed men whose friends brought him through the roof (Luke 5:20), the centurion whose servant was ill (Luke 7:9-10), the woman who reached out to be healed (Luke 8:48) and the blind man who wanted to see (Luke 18:42). Conversely, where there was little faith, Jesus did not do many miracles (Luke 18:8), a sobering reminder of the importance of faith.

Faith is often tested by God, and there is frequently a period of waiting between God’s promises and their fulfilment, as Abraham and Sarah remind us. Joseph too had to wait to see his youthful dreams fulfilled and suffered much in the intervening years. Faith grows in the soil of desperate situations where we learn to wait and to trust in God. We need to belong to those who do not shrink back but who have faith and are saved (Heb 10:39); we need to press forward and stay with God, no matter what.