And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword... Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. – Hebrews 11:32-37 ESV
God gives promises rooted in the resurrection of Christ. These promises call for a response. What response? The response of faith: “I believe.” Do you believe? Do you believe these assertions: Jesus is better than life! His love is better than life! Life with Jesus is better than the best that life can offer without Jesus! His life and His love are stronger than death! There’s a future resurrection that makes every struggle and sorrow here worth it. Do you believe—at the heart level—these statements are true?
Faith receives these promises and lives by them. Faith endures suffering by them. Faith dies by them! But do you notice what is absent from this list? Life in this world with Jesus will be trouble-free. Consider the “hall of faith” men and women listed above. It’s fun to connect names with stories: Daniel in the lions’ den, his friends in the fiery furnace, Gideon putting armies to flight, David conquering kingdoms... These are good outcomes. People cry out to God in faith, and God brings deliverance! Victory! Success! God comes through! But not all faith stories end this way. There is a second group of examples—those who were tortured and even killed for their faith. Are these people failures? Where’s God?
Sometimes through faith God works circumstances for deliverance. Other times by faith God sustains His people through their sufferings, even to death. Some of us need to rethink our understanding of faith. Be sure your faith is in Jesus—not in a desired outcome or agenda, not a life free from suffering and disappointment. Do you believe...?
Cornerstone Community Church
One-Year Bible Reading
1 Corinthians 7:1-24
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