Hebrews 11:1-16 tells us about the faith of the saints of the Old Testament, of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. Because of their faith, God “commended” them (gave them a good testimony, c.f. Heb. 11:2) and is not ashamed to be associated with them. In fact, He welcomes them into His own dwelling (11:16).
The author of Hebrews assured his readers that the same faith that saved those Old Testament heroes will save the community of early Christian believers too, and that their desire for a “better country” is not in vain. In our own day, we are reminded never to settle for an earthly home or identity, and to remain spiritually restless, until we too come to live in the city God has prepared for those who seek Him (11:6).
Faith allows us to understand the word of God (who is Jesus Christ) and to know — personally know — the creator of the universe (c.f. Heb. 11:3, John 1). By this faith we are commended by God and can therefore quiet our consciences and redirect our restlessness towards the hope that we will soon live in God’s own city.
Preached on August 7, 2016 at Holy Trinity Church Inwood.