Rest in Faith
- May 27, 2021
- Taber Cheo
“Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). There are many great sermons and teachings about faith; what it is and what it’s not. As believers, faith is something we’re growing in understanding every day of our lives. As I contemplated this chapter, I felt strongly to write about the relationship between rest and faith as they play hand in hand with each other. Regarding faith, it should never be ambiguous or confusing. According to the scripture quoted above, we thankfully have a direct definition of what faith truly is. The assurance of things hoped for. The conviction of things not seen. Though contrary to the worlds point of view, it is not complicated or confusing, but simple and to the point. God’s rest plays the same way. Yet it takes faith to enter God’s rest and it is this faith we must rest in. “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). God is a very simple God that even children can understand Him. Much more is it His will for us to understand our faith in Him.
“The assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1a). The word assurance, while other translations may say “substance” or “certainty,” is the word translated as hypostasis (Strong’s G5287). The meaning of this word is profound. From being “a foundation” to “that which has actual existence” to “confidence and firm trust,” this word defines faith as anything but wishful thinking. But it is full and complete confidence. It is knowing that what you hope for is actually real, is here, and is bound to come to pass. This assurance is key for our faith in entering God’s rest. We cannot enter if we are not absolutely sure in our belief in Him and His promises. We cannot rest unless we know with certainty the work He has accomplished for us. Without this assurance, our faith is nothing but a word that has no substance. “For he who comes to God must believe that He is” (Hebrews11:6). Business men would rest assured in a business deal. Children rest assured in the promises of their parents. Much more should we enter God’s rest in faith.
“The conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1b). The word conviction, while other translations may say “evidence,” or something otherwise, is the word translated as Elegchos (Strong’s G1650). This word means “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested.”According to this definition, our faith literally proves who God says He is. Your faith is the evidence of what we know with certainty. If we do not have confidence in our faith, there is no assurance and therefore no conviction. With no confidence, “Faith” then becomes nothing more than a word of sentiment. But our faith as believers is what allows us to enter into God’s rest; not timidly but with confidence. Instead of wishful thinking, we rest assured in the promises of God so much that no matter the circumstance, the peace of God never leaves us. We are secure in Him because He alone is faithful. This is why faith and rest go hand in hand. You cannot have rest without faith. Nor can you have faith without rest. Without either, communion with God is impossible. This is God’s will for every one of His people to rest in our relationship with Him. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The biblical definition of “faith” is so simple as it’s all about God. Rather than faith being a skill to develop or a gifting you can somehow obtain, It’s rather a trusting in the ability of God over your own. If anyone has more faith, it’s only because they trust God more; not because they tried harder to make something happen. When Jesus said to the leprous man in Luke 17:19, “your faith has made you well,” it wasn’t as if Jesus credited the leper for randomly healing himself. It was Jesus who healed him. The leper’s faith was about his assurance and conviction in Jesus Himself. The centurion in Matthew 8:5 didn’t have great faith because He tried hard to obtain it. He had great faith because of his certainty in Jesus’ authority. Therefore, faith is all about God. If it were about us working for it, it would be no different than living by the law in which Jesus already fulfilled. “For if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly” (Galatians 2:21). It was faith in God that made our forefathers righteous, not their own works.
“Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:17). I’ve heard this verse quoted many times in a way to get Christians working harder for God as if to prove their faith in Him by their own doing. But the truth is that faith does not depend on your works. But works is dependent on your faith. Works is simply the natural byproduct of the faith we have in Him. This is easily misconstrued if we were to judge our faith by the amount of work we have in our lives. Although our own work is to be considered, it is faith that is the source of our work. Therefore, the only way to judge our faith is to examine our own hearts rather than measuring our works. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you” (2Corinthians 13:5). To have faith, is to acknowledge that Jesus truly lives in the believer. Therefore, we must believe in Jesus’ own ability in ourselves over our own. The more we believe that He is in us, the more our lives will overflow with the beautiful works of God without us striving for it.
Now acknowledging God’s ability over our own is not to be confused with shame. Shame will keep us far from true faith because shame focuses only on yourself. It will strip us from any assurance or confidence of Christ in us. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). As Christians, we must see to it that we do not condemn ourselves in anyway. For in shaming ourselves we focus solely on our own righteousness. But only in Him do we receive the righteousness of God. This is where examining ourselves becomes critical. For instance, with shame, our prayers become skewed into the form of begging God for His promises. But with true faith, our prayers become joined with God in the form of partnership as we know His promises