Take time to read Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter has come to be known as a kind of faith hall of fame.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
I'm sure many of you are familiar with this verse about faith. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." We see from this verse that faith leads us to certainty. We can know for certain that our faith in God will not fail us. We have a certain hope, not a "Well, it'd be nice if it happened" hope.
We have hope and certainty through faith because of the One we have faith in not because of our efforts. Amen! Hallelujah!
But what about all the verses that follow Hebrews 11:1? Many of these verses speak of great men and women who had faith and effort commingled. Let's take one example.
"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built a great ark to save his family." Hebrews 11:7
Noah had faith and made an amazing amount of effort. Noah built an ark that was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. How did Noah do this? Hebrews said he did it by faith. I'm stealing this from my friend Harold; but Noah didn't pray a prayer of great faith and have an ark miraculously appear. No! Noah spent years building this big 'ole boat with his bare hands and the help of his sons while being ridiculed no doubt.
Noah had faith according to Hebrews chapter 11 but we can see from Genesis chapter 6 that Noah had to work in response to his faith.
So, is faith achieved through works? No. But faith without works in not faith.
"... faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:17
"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26
Our faith is not found in our works. Our faith is exclusively found in the person of God Three in One. And if we have genuine faith and trust in the sovereign Lord of the universe we will operate more like Him each day. We will do works by faith. Why? Because the One who began to change us to be more like Him will not stop until He is done, and we can have faith in that. And sometimes exercising faith involves effort, ask Noah.
Walk by faith. Be sure of what we hope for yet do not yet see. Do great things for God and His Kingdom today.