– Richard Cecil
Faith Is Assurance
The author of Hebrews gives us a great definition of faith, where it’s written that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1a). But maybe that doesn’t sound convincing until you discover the Hebrew word for assurance means “a thing put under, substructure, foundation, substance” or “real being.” That doesn’t sound like a hope-so faith to me. The assurance of the things we hope for (Revelation 22) has substance to it, and it’s real.
Faith Is a Conviction
Next, the author of Hebrews writes that faith is “the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1b). Once again, a Hebrew word gives us insight because the word “conviction” means “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested.” Proof means it’s been proven to be true. Just as if a criminal stood before the judge, and the jury found him or her guilty, he or she has been given a conviction. It’s the same word with the same meaning. A conviction is a legal fact that was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by the evidence.
Faith Has Evidence
Speaking of faith as being a substance and proven to be fact (read Hebrews 11), the author of Hebrews again writes, “By it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 12:2-3). The universe is tangible evidence for our faith in the Creator and in Him creating it. Indeed, all matter is composed of things that are not visible to the naked eye. We take it by faith that a creation demands a Creator, just as a painting must have a painter. Paintings don’t create themselves.
Faith Is Visible
You can see that it’s real by people’s lives being drastically altered or others being rescued from the pit of death and brought to eternal life. This same visible faith is why “Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). The list of biblical heroes and heroines in Hebrews 11 is convincing evidence that faith in God is real. It changes the human heart.
Richard Cecil in saying that unbelief starves the soul while faith finds food in famine is true because our faith is in a God Who can do all things. We have that assurance and conviction of mind, we have that evidence in the creation itself, and we see it in the lives of people throughout time. God can change even a pagan king’s heart (Proverbs 21:1)–if only he will believe.