Hebrews 11:1 - What Is Faith?

Heb.11:1: What Is Faith?

Heb 11:1 (NIV)  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and 
certain of what we do not see. 

FAITH: Trusting commitment of one person to another, 
particularly of a person to God. [The Holman Bible Dictionary] 

Two words describe faith: 'sure' and 'certain.' These two 
qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of 
faith is believing in God's character--he 'is' who he says. The end 
point is believing in God's promises--he will 'do' what he says. When 
we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don't 
see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith (see 
John 20:24-31). [Life Application SB] 

True biblical faith is not an emotional kind of wishful 
thinking; it is an inner conviction based on the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). 
In v. 1 the word substance means "assurance" and evidence means 
"proof." So, when the Holy Spirit gives us faith through the Word, the 
very presence of that faith in our hearts is all the assurance and 
evidence we need! Dr. J. Oswald Sanders says, "Faith enables the 
believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen." 
Through faith, we can see what others cannot see (note vv. 1, 3, 7, 13, 
and 27). When there is true faith in the heart, God bears witness to 
that heart by His Spirit (note vv. 2, 4-5, and 39). By faith, Noah 
saw coming judgment, Abraham saw a future city, Joseph saw the 
Exodus from Egypt, and Moses saw God. 
Faith accomplishes things because there is power in the Word of 
God, as illustrated by the Creation in v. 3. God spoke, and it was 
done! God still speaks to us. When we believe what He says, the power 
of the Word accomplishes things in our lives. The same Word that 
acted in the old creation acts in the new creation. [Wiersbe 
Expository Outlines] 

To abide in faith is to put aside feeling and selfish desires, 
to walk humbly with the Lord, to appropriate His promises, and 
apply them to all occasions, believing that God will work out His own 
plans and purposes in your heart and life by the sanctification of 
your character; it is to rely entirely, to trust implicitly, upon the 
faithfulness of God.  FE342,3 

True faith and true prayer -- how strong they are! They are as 
two arms by which the human suppliant lays hold upon the power of 
Infinite Love. Faith is trusting in God,--believing that He loves us, and 
knows what is for our best good. Thus, instead of our own way, it 
leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His 
wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our 
sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith 
acknowledges His ownership, and accepts its blessings. . . .  
It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in 
Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him 
as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. 
Many hold faith as an opinion. But saving faith is a transaction, by 
which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation 
with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of 
vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power. 

Do you remember how you felt when you were very young and your 
birthday approached? You were excited and anxious. You knew you would 
certainly receive gifts and other special treats. But some things would be 
a surprise. Birthdays combine assurance and anticipation, and so 
does faith! Faith is the conviction based on past experience that 
God's new and fresh surprises will surely be ours. [Life Application