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faith it is
please Him, for
believe that He
is and that He is a
Amplified: But without faith it is impossible to please and be
satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must
[necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of
those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
Bible - Lockman)
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh
to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that
diligently seek him.
NLT: So, you see, it is impossible to please God without
faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a
God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: And without faith it is impossible to please him. The
man who approaches God must have faith in two things, first that God
exists and secondly that it is worth a man's while to try to find God. (Phillips:
Wuest: Now, without faith it is impossible to please Him
at all. For he who comes to God must of the necessity in the nature of
the case believe that He exists, that He also becomes a rewarder of
those who diligently seek Him out. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and apart from faith it is impossible to
please well, for it behoveth him who is coming to God to believe that
He is, and to those seeking Him He becometh a rewarder.
W A Criswell
W A Criswell
W A Criswell
W A Criswell
J Ligon Duncan
Explore the Bible
F W Farrar
F B Hole
Jamieson, F, B
S Lewis Johnson
S Lewis Johnson
R M M'Cheyne
J Vernon McGee
F B Meyer
A W Pink
A T Robertson
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
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C H Spurgeon
Today in the Word
Today in the Word
Unto Jesus - go to page 298 in Pdf
Hebrews 13 The New Testament for English
Hebrews Study Guide
Hebrews:11:1-7 Sermon Notes
Hebrews 11 Commentary
Hebrews 11:7 How To Shine In The
Hebrews 11:5-6 Pleasing God
Hebrews 11:7 Faith that Escapes
the Coming Judgment
Hebrews 11 Commentary
Hebrews 11:3 The Materialist and
the End of the World
Hebrews 11:3 Through Faith We Understand
Hebrews 11:3 Where Can I Find God?
Hebrews 11:4 They Rule the World
From Their Graves
Hebrews 11:1-6 Is Chapter 11
Right For You?
Hebrews 11:7-12 Faith and Failure
Expositor's Greek Testament
Hebrews 11:1-7 The
Faith of Abel, Enoch and Noah
How can I get to Heaven?
11:1-3,6-8,13-19,24-26 Exhibit Your Faith
Hebrews 11:1 ,
Hebrews 11:1-7 Faith's Guarantee
Hebrews 11:5-6 A Man Who Walked With God
Hebrews 11:7 Noah and the Work of Faith
Hebrews 11:1-7 Commentary
Hebrews 11 The Reality of Supernatural
Hebrews 11:7 Noah and the Obedience of
Hebrews 11:5-6 Enoch and the Walk of Faith
Hebrews 11:6 Seeking God
Hebrews 11:7 - Noah's Faith
Hebrews 11:7 The Ark
Hebrews 11 Sermons -
by Puritan writer - >1000 page Pdf
Thru the Bible Commentary
Hebrews 11:7 The Days of Noah
Hebrews 11:7: Noah -
The Work of Faith - Enter page 433
Abraham-The Obedience of Faith - Enter page 437
Hebrews 11:1-3 What Is Faith?
Hebrews 11:4-7 Faith Before the
Hebrews 11:8-16 By Faith, Step
Hebrews 11:17-22 The Test of
Hebrews 11:23-29 The Maturity of
Hebrews 11:30-31 A Harlot
Hebrews 11:32-40 The Triumph of
Hebrews 11:1-3 The Excellency of
Hebrews 11 Word Pictures
Hebrews 11:5-6 A Walk by Faith
Hebrews 11:7 Results of Noahs Faith
Hebrews 11:3 The Faith Of The Patriarchs
Hebrews 11:4 Abel's Offering Instructive
Hebrews 11:5 Enoch's
Letter to Hebrews -
329 page commentary
Coming to God
Hebrews 11:5, 6
Hebrews 11 Exposition
Hebrews 11:6 Faith
Hebrews 11:6 Faith Essential to Pleasing
God - Pdf
Hebrews 11:6 How to Please God -
Hebrews 11:6 What is Essential in
Coming to God?
Hebrews 11:7 Noah's Faith, Fear, Obedience
Faith Made Visible
Hebrews 11:1-3 The Nature of
Hebrews 11:1-7 What Faith Is
Hebrews 11: Word
Hebrews Inductive Study Part 2
AND WITHOUT FAITH
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: choris de pisteos adunaton euaresthesai (AAN):
(He 3:12,18,19; 4:2,6; Nu 14:11; 20:12; Ps 106:21,22,24;
Isaiah 7:9; Mark 16:17; John 3:18,19; 8:24; Galatians 5:6; Revelation
The writer had earlier warned his
readers regarding the danger of no faith instructing them to...
= command to continually maintain this attitude - implying a continual
need!), brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil,
unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God (cp "believe
that He is" in He 11:6). (He 3:12-note)
Thomas Watson comments that:
Unbelief is the root of apostasy. 'an evil heart of unbelief in
departing from the living God' (Hebrews 3:12). What is the reason
those who seemed once zealous—now despise God, and leave off prayer in
their families? Is it not their unbelief? They believed not that God
is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him
(Hebrews 11:6). Infidelity is the cause of apostasy. In the Greek,
'apistia' (unbelief) leads to 'apostasia' (apostasy). And if unbelief
is the breeder and fomenter of so much sin, then the unbelieving heart
must needs be an impure heart.
And in Hebrews 3, the writer again
tackles the subject of faith/belief, explaining the
relationship between faith and obedience writing
And to whom did He swear that they
would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient (apeitheo
refuse to be persuaded and
cp Jn 3:36 where apeitheo = "does not obey")? So we see that they were
not able to enter because of unbelief (apistia
= literally not believing, cp Nu 14:11). (He 3:18, 19-note)
Israel's unbelief was
reflected in her disobedience, and so one can see that faith is
clearly related to obedience, a relationship which is discussed at
greater length below.
The psalms repeatedly
address Israel's disobedient, unbelieving heart writing that ...
Because (see Ps 78:21 for what he
is explaining) they (Israel) did not
believe in God and
did not trust in His salvation. (Ps 78:22)
Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation.
This is the master sin, the crying sin (Ed: One can see why
without faith one cannot please God!). Like Jeroboam, the son of
Nebat, it sins and makes Israel to sin (cp 1Ki 14:16); it is in itself
evil and the parent of evils. It was this sin which shut Israel out of
Canaan, and it shuts myriads out of heaven. God is ready to save,
combining power with willingness, but rebellious man will not trust
his Saviour, and therefore is condemned already (Jn 3:18KJV). In the
text it appears as if all Israel's other sins were as nothing compared
with this; this is the peculiar spot which the Lord points at, the
special provocation which angered Him.
From this let every unbeliever
learn to tremble more at his unbelief than at anything else. If he be
no fornicator, or thief, or liar, let him reflect that it is quite
enough to condemn him that he trusts not in God's salvation.
(Ed: And because of this "master sin" it led them to inward sin
and outward sin Ps 78:19-note)
In spite of all this (All what?
judgement! Ps 78:31) they (Israel) still sinned and
did not believe in His wonderful works. (Ps 78:32)
Spurgeon comments: For
all this they sinned still. Judgments moved them no more than
mercies. They defied the wrath of God. Though death was in the cup of
their iniquity, yet they would not put it away, but continued to quaff
it as if it were a healthful potion. How truly might these words be
applied to ungodly men who have been often afflicted, laid upon a sick
bed, broken in spirit, and impoverished in estate, and yet have
persevered in their evil ways, unmoved by terrors, unswayed by
Their unbelief was chronic and
incurable. Miracles both of mercy and judgment were unavailing. They
might be made to wonder, but they could not be taught to believe.
Continuance in sin and in unbelief go together. Had they believed they
would not have sinned, had they not have been blinded by sin they
would have believed. There is a reflex action between faith and
character. How can the lover of sin believe? How, on the other hand,
can the unbeliever cease from sin? God's ways with us in providence
are in themselves both convincing and converting, but unrenewed nature
refuses to be either convicted or converted by them.
They forgot God their
Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, wonders in the land of
Ham, and awesome things by the Red Sea. Therefore He said that He
would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach
before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them. Then they
despised the pleasant land. They did not believe in His word
but grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the
LORD. (Ps 106:21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
Spurgeon comments: (On Ps
106:21) They forgot God their Saviour. Remembering the calf (Ex
32:4) involved forgetting God. He had commanded them to make no image
(Ex 20:4)), and in daring to disobey they forgot His commands.
Moreover, it is clear that they must altogether have forgotten the
nature and character of Jehovah, or they could never have likened Him
to a grass eating animal. Some men hope to keep their sins and their
God too -- the fact being that he who sins is already so far departed
from the Lord that he has actually forgotten him.
Which had done great things in Egypt. God in Egypt had overcome
all the idols, and yet they so far forgot Him as to liken Him to them.
Could an ox work miracles? Could a golden calf cast plagues upon
Israel's enemies? They were brutish to set up such a wretched mockery
of deity, after having seen what the true God could really achieve.
"Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red
sea". (Ps 106:22KJV) They saw several ranges of miracles, the Lord did
not stint them as to the evidences of His eternal power and godhead,
and yet they could not rest content with worshipping Him in His own
appointed way, but must needs have a Directory of their own invention,
an elaborate ritual after the old Egyptian fashion, and a manifest
object of worship to assist them in adoring Jehovah. This was enough
to provoke the Lord, and it did so; how much He is angered every day
in our own land no tongue can tell.
(On Ps 106:24) Yea, they
despised the pleasant land. They spoke lightly of it, though it
was the joy of all lands: they did not think it worth the trouble of
seeking and conquering; they even spoke of Egypt, the land of their
iron bondage, as though they preferred it to Canaan, the land which
floweth with milk and honey. It is an ill sign with a Christian when
he begins to think lightly of heaven and heavenly things; it indicates
a perverted mind, and it is, moreover, a high offence to the Lord to
despise that which he esteems so highly that he in infinite love
reserves it for his own chosen.
To prefer earthly things to
heavenly blessings is to prefer Egypt to Canaan, the house of bondage
to the land of promise.
They believed not His word.
This is the root sin.
If we do not believe the
Lord's word, we shall think lightly of his promised gifts.
"They could not enter in because of unbelief" (He 3:19) -- this was
the key which turned the lock against them. When pilgrims to the
Celestial City begin to doubt the Lord of the way, they soon come to
think little of the rest at the journey's end, and this is the surest
way to make them bad travelers. Israel's unbelief demanded spies to
see the land; the report of those spies was of a mingled character,
and so a fresh crop of unbelief sprang up, with consequences most
And (de) - Can also be
rendered "but" (as in He 11:6KJV) which suggests a contrast with the
heart attitude of faith (like that of Enoch) which pleases God (He
Ge 5:24) -- without such a faith one cannot walk with God or please
Him. In fact not only can we not walk with God, we can do absolutely
nothing that pleases God when we do it apart from faith. Many people
get caught in the trap of doing rather than being, mistaking religious
activity for right relationship. But without faith their "doing" is
not pleasing to God. Others think that they can please God because
they are born into a Christian family or go to a Bible believing
church or have been baptized in water, but none of these things please
God if they are apart from faith.
(choris) is used both as a preposition and an adverb, this
latter use signifying separately or by itself (John 20:7). More often
choris is used (as in the current verse) as a preposition
meaning apart from (John 1:3), without (without sin
or separate from (separate from Christ
Webster says that without (as a preposition) is used as
a function word to indicate the absence or lack of something or
Choris - 41x in 38v in
the NAS (note concentration in Hebrews) - Matt. 13:34; 14:21; 15:38;
Mk. 4:34; Lk. 6:49; Jn. 1:3; 15:5; 20:7; Ro. 3:21, 28; 4:6; 7:8f;
10:14; 1 Co. 4:8; 11:11; 2 Co. 11:28; 12:3; Eph. 2:12; Phil. 2:14; 1
Tim. 2:8; 5:21; Philemon 1:14; Heb. 4:15; 7:7, 20; 9:7, 18, 22, 28;
10:28; 11:6, 40; 12:8, 14; Jas. 2:18, 20, 26.
The NAS renders choris
as apart from(10), aside from(1), besides(1), by itself(1),
independent(2), separate from(1), without(25).
Without faith - Barnes
comments that this signifies...
Without confidence in God--in His
fidelity, His truth, His wisdom, His promises. And this is as true in
other things as in religion. It is impossible for a child to please
his father unless he has confidence in him. It is impossible for a
wife to please her husband, or a husband a wife, unless they have
confidence in each other. If there is distrust and jealousy on either
part, there is discord and misery. We cannot be pleased with a
professed friend unless he has such confidence in us as to believe our
declarations and promises. The same thing is true of God. He cannot be
pleased with the man who has no confidence in Him; who doubts the
truth of His declarations and promises; who does not believe that His
ways are right, or that He is qualified for universal empire. The
requirement of faith or confidence in God is not arbitrary; it is just
what we require of our children, and partners in life, and friends, as
the indispensable condition of our being pleased with them.
(Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
Another point regarding without
faith is that we cannot perform enough good works to please God.
Stated another way, our works no matter how abundant, can never
"compensate" for a lack of faith.
As faith is a hand to lay hold of
Christ's righteousness, so it is a hand to receive supplies of grace
from Christ to quicken us unto newness of life. Yes, I may say, there
can be no real, inherent righteousness without a saving interest by
faith in Christ's imputed righteousness. There may be a righteousness
of some kind like it—but not of the right kind, not a righteousness
which springs from the true principle of faith, and therefore it
cannot be a righteousness that is pleasing to God; for "without faith
it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).
The godly writer C. H.
Mackintosh commenting on the supremacy of faith wrote that..
It glorifies God exceedingly,
because it proves that we have more confidence in His eyesight that in
Here is Mackintosh's full
quote from his devotional comments on Exodus in which he writes
The Egyptians could not move in
such a path as this. They moved on because they saw the way open
before them: with them it was sight, and not faith—"Which the
Egyptians assaying (Gk = peira = test, trial, experiment, an effort to
accomplish something) to do were drowned." (He 11:29KJV) When people
assay (try) to do what faith alone can accomplish, they only encounter
defeat and confusion. The path along which God calls His people to
walk is one which nature can never tread—"Flesh and blood cannot
inherit the kingdom of God." (1Co 15:50) Neither can it walk in the
ways of God. Faith is the great characteristic principle of God's
kingdom, and faith alone can enable us to walk in God's ways. "Without
faith it is impossible to please God." (He 11:6) It glorifies God
exceedingly when we move on with Him, as it were, blindfolded (cp 2Co
5:7). It proves that we have more confidence in His eyesight than in
our own. If I know that God is looking out for me, I may well close my
eyes, and move on in holy calmness and stability. In human affairs we
know that when there is a sentinel or watchman at his post, others can
sleep quietly (cp Php 4:7-). How much more may we rest in perfect
security, when we know that He who neither slumbers nor sleeps has His
eye upon us (Ps 121:3, 4-notes), and His everlasting arms around
us (cp Dt 33:27, Pr 10:25)!
is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth
of anything, and in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting
man's relationship to God and divine things.
It is notable that only the book of
Romans surpasses the book of Hebrews (He
4:2; 6:1, 12; 10:22, 38, 39; 11:1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 13, 17, 20, 21, 22,
23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 39; 12:2; 13:7)
in the number of uses of
(Romans = 35, Hebrews = 31, out of 243 NT
for links to all 243 uses of pistis (NAS) which is translated: faith, 238; faithfulness, 3; pledge, 1;
As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction
that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the
Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates
to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus
is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into
the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only
through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.
As MacDonald says...
There is nothing about God that
it impossible for men to believe. The difficulty is with the human will.
Thomas Watson ...
A sinner's best works are 'opera mortua'—dead works! And those works which
are dead, cannot please God. A dead flower has no sweetness. Hebrews 11:6.
See related studies on the
specific phrases (1) "the
faith" and (2) the "obedience
See also study on
True faith that saves one's soul includes at
least three main elements
(1) firm persuasion
or firm conviction,
a surrender to that
(3) a conduct
emanating from that surrender. In sum, faith shows itself genuine by a
changed life. (Click
W E Vine's similar definition of faith)
Respected theologian Louis Berkhof
defines genuine faith in essentially the same way noting that it includes an
intellectual element (notitia), which is
a positive recognition of the
truth”; an emotional element (assensus), which includes “a deep
conviction of the truth”; and a volitional element (fiducia), which
involves “a personal trust in Christ as Savior and Lord, including a
surrender … to Christ.” (Louis
Berkhof, Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939)
Faith is relying on what God has done rather than on one’s own efforts.
In the Old Testament, faith is rarely mentioned. The word trust is
used frequently, and verbs like believe and rely are used to
express the right attitude to God. The classic example is Abraham, whose
faith was reckoned as righteousness (Ge 15:6). At the heart of the
Christian message is the story of the cross: Christ’s dying to bring
salvation. Faith is an attitude of trust in which a believer receives
God’s good gift of salvation (Acts 16:30,31) and lives in that awareness
thereafter (Gal 2:20; cf. Heb 11:1).
J. B. Lightfoot discusses the concept of faith in his commentary on
Galatians. He notes that in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the definition of the
word for faith
hovers between two meanings:
trustfulness, the frame of mind which relies on another; and
trustworthiness, the frame of mind which can be relied upon...the senses
will at times be so blended together that they can only be separated by some
arbitrary distinction. The loss in grammatical precision is often more than
compensated by the gain in theological depth...They who have faith in God
are steadfast and immovable in the path of duty.
Faith, like grace, is not static. Saving faith is more than just
understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing. It is inseparable from
repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. None of those
responses can be classified exclusively as a human work, any more than
believing itself is solely a human effort.
Faith is manifest by not believing in spite of evidence but obeying in
spite of consequence. John uses the related verb pisteuo to demonstrate the
relationship between genuine faith and obedience writing...
He who believes (present
tense = continuous) in
the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see
life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)
Charles Swindoll commenting on faith and obedience in John 3:36
In 3:36 the one who “believes in the Son
has eternal life” as a present possession. But the one who “does not obey
the Son shall not see life.” To disbelieve Christ is to disobey
Him. And logically, to believe in Christ is to obey Him. As I
have noted elsewhere, “This verse clearly indicates that belief is
not a matter of passive opinion, but decisive and obedient action.”
(quoting J. Carl Laney)...Tragically many people are convinced that it
doesn’t really matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere. This
reminds me of a Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown is returning from a
disastrous baseball game. The caption read, “174 to nothing! How could we
lose when we were so sincere?” The reality is, Charlie Brown, that it takes
more than sincerity to win the game of life. Many people are sincere about
their beliefs, but they are sincerely wrong!" (Swindoll,
C. R., & Zuck, R. B. Understanding Christian Theology.: Thomas Nelson
Publishers) (This book is
recommended if you are looking for a very readable, non-compromising work on
Subjectively faith is firm
persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or
faithfulness (though rare). Objectively faith is that which is
believed (usually designated as "the faith"), doctrine, the received
articles of faith.
separate study of "the
Spurgeon wrote that...
Faith is the foot of the soul by which it
can march along the road of the commandments.
was translating the
Scripture for the South Sea islanders, he was unable to find a word in their
vocabulary for the concept of believing, trusting, or having faith. He had
no idea how he would convey that to them. One day while he was in his hut
translating, a native came running up the stairs into Paton's study and
flopped in a chair, exhausted. He said to Paton,
“It’s so good to rest my whole weight in
John Paton had his word: Faith is resting your whole weight on God. That
word went into the translation of their New Testament and helped bring that
civilization of natives to Christ. Believing is putting your whole weight on
God. If God said it, then it’s true, and we’re to believe it.
Nothing before, nothing behind,
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The rock beneath
Without “confidence” in God - in
his fidelity, his truth, his wisdom, his promises. The essence of
faith consists in believing and receiving what God has revealed, and
may be defined as that trust in the God of the Scriptures and in Jesus
Christ whom He has sent, which receives Him as Lord and Savior and
impels to loving obedience and good works (Jn 1:12; Ja 2:14 - 26).
Clearly faith is a key word in Hebrews. Study the 31 uses of
in context (click the Scripture links to go to the notes on each verse)...
- For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but
the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith
in those who heard.
- Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press
on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works
and of faith toward God,
-so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith
and patience inherit the promises.
- let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having
our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed
with pure water.
- BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL
HAS NO PLEASURE IN
- But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those
who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
- Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things
- By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of
God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
- By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which
he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his
gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
- By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT
FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his
being taken up he was pleasing to God.
- 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.
- By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence
prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned
the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to
- By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which
he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he
- By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign
land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same
- By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the
proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.
- All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen
them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that
they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
- By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had
received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
- By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.
- By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and
worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
- By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons
of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.
- By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his
parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid
of the king's edict.
- By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of
- By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured,
as seeing Him who is unseen.
- By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that
he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.
-By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing
through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
- By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for
- By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were
disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
-who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained
promises, shut the mouths of lions,
- And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive
what was promised,
- fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the
joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down
at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and
considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
from a = without + dunatós = possible, able, or powerful
from dunamai = to be able or have power by virtue of inherent
ability and resources. The stem duna- or dyna- = ability
or capability) means not possible, without the possibility of
happening, incapable of being or of occurring, incapable
of being done.
Adunatos is used twice to convey the idea of
impotence of one who has no strength or who lacks capability in functioning
adequately, once in a literal sense of lacking physical strength (Acts
14:8) and once in a spiritual sense (Ro 15:1-note
= of whose faith is weak).
- 10x in 10v in the NAS - Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27; Lk 18:27; Acts
14:8; Ro 8:3; 15:1; He 6:4, 18; 10:4; 11:6 and is rendered in the
NAS as impossible(6), things impossible(1), what it could
not without strength(2).
One will note the obvious
concentration of "impossibilities" in the book of Hebrews in these 5 uses of
He 6:4ESV-note For it is impossible to restore again to
repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the
heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, (Note: the
NASB places "impossible" in He 6:6-note. Note also that commentators and some translators take adunatos
to mean difficult but clearly from the other NT uses and
specifically the uses in Hebrews this is inappropriate and could lead to an incorrect interpretation of this stern warning passage.)
He 6:18-note in order that by two
unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie,
we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in
laying hold of the hope set before us.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take
He 11:6 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
[word study] related adjective
[word study] from eu = well + aresko =
to please) means to behave in a manner that causes another to be
pleased. It means to to give pleasure or satisfaction. The idea is to
excite agreeable emotions in another. For example in Hebrew 13:16,
praise that pleases God is the fruit of our lips, not just our
thoughts, and is spoken out unto the Lord, either in prose or in song.
Euaresteo - 3x in the NT
Heb. 11:5, 6; 13:16
Thomas Watson wrote
Duties of religion are not accepted
without the new creature, because there is that lacking, which makes
them a sweet savor to God. The holy oil for the tabernacle was to be
made of several spices and ingredients, Exodus 30:23. Now, if any of
these spices had been left out, it would not have been pleasing to
God. The unregenerate man leaves out the chief spice in his duties,
and that is faith. Hebrews 11:6, "Without faith it is impossible to
please God." Faith lays hold on Christ—and so is accepted.
Barnes comments that
And this is as true in other things
as in religion. It is impossible for a child to please his father
unless he has confidence in him. It is impossible for a wife to please
her husband, or a husband a wife, unless they have confidence in each
other. If there is distrust and jealousy on either part, there is
discord and misery. We cannot be pleased with a professed friend
unless he has such confidence in us as to believe our declarations and
promises. The same thing is true of God. He cannot be pleased with the
man who has no confidence in him; who doubts the truth of his
declarations and promises; who does not believe that his ways are
right, or that he is qualified for universal empire. The requirement
of faith or confidence in God is not arbitrary; it is just what we
require of our children, and partners in life, and friends, as the
indispensable condition of our being pleased with them.
Spurgeon writes that...
Some of the Indian tribes use
little strips of cloth instead of money. I would not find fault with
them if I lived there, but when I come to England,
strips of cloth will not suffice. So honesty, sobriety, and such
things may be very good among men, and the more you have of them the
better. But all these things put together, without faith, do not
please God. Virtues without faith are white-washed sins.
The way to please God, then, is to
believe in him, and if there be any possibility of entering heaven
without seeing death, faith alone can point the way. You cannot be
Enochs unless you please God, and you cannot please God unless you
have faith in him.
He cannot come to a God who to his own mind is non-existent; he must
believe that he is.
See this reward then; it pleases God, and that is reward enough far
anyone of us. Next see faith’s safety.
See, here, how faith has learnt the secret art of pleasing God. God is
the thrice-holy One; he is a jealous God, and a very little sin
greatly provokes him; but faith knows how to please him. I do not
wonder that Enoch did not die; it was s less thing to be translated to
heaven than it was to please God. To live for three hundred years, in
constant communion with God, as he did, to be ever pleasing God, was a
mighty triumph for faith. Nay God grant that, during all the years
that we live, whether they are few or many, we may so live as always
to please him! “But without faith it is impossible to please him.”
Mark that this holiest of men, whose walk with God was so close and
unbroken that he was permitted to escape the pangs of death,
nevertheless did not attain to this high position by his own works,
but by faith.
These are the things with which faith always deals; — not with the
things that are seen or are apprehensible by the senses or the
A W Pink writes...
"But without faith it is
impossible to please Him." Most solemnly do these words attest the
total depravity of man. So corrupt is the fallen creature, both in
soul and body, in every power and part thereof, and so polluted is
everything that issues from him, that he cannot of and by himself do
anything that is acceptable to the Holy One. "So then they that are in
the flesh cannot please God" (Ro 8:8-note): "they that are in the flesh"
means, they that are still in their natural or unregenerate state. A
bitter fountain cannot send forth sweet waters. But faith looks out of
self to Christ, applies unto His righteousness, pleads His worth and
worthiness, and does all things God-ward in the name and through the
mediation of the Lord Jesus. Thus, by faith we may please God.
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him." Yet in all
ages there have been many who attempted to please God without faith.
Cain began it, but failed woefully. All in their Divine worship
profess a desire to please God, and hope that they do so; why
otherwise should they make the attempt? But, as the apostle declares
in another place, many seek unto God "but not by faith, but as it were
by the works of the law" (Ro 9:32-note).
But where faith be lacking, let men desire, design, and do what they
will, they can never attain unto Divine acceptance. "But to Him that
worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his
faith is counted for ("unto") righteousness" (Ro 4:5-note). Whatever be the
necessity of other graces, faith is that which alone obtains
acceptance with God.
In order to please God four things must concur, all of which are
accomplished by faith.
First, the person of him that
pleaseth God must be accepted of Him (Ge. 4:4).
Second, the thing done that
pleaseth God must be in accord with His will (He 13:21-note).
Third, the manner of doing it must
be pleasing to God: it must be performed in humility (1Co 15:10), in
sincerity (Is 38:3), in cheerfulness (2Co 8:12; 9:7).
Fourth, the end in view must be
God’s glory (1Co 10:31). Now faith is the only means whereby these
four requirements are met.
By faith in Christ the person is
accepted of God. Faith makes us submit ourselves to God’s will. Faith
causes us to examine the manner of what we do Godward. Faith aims at
God’s glory: of Abraham it is recorded that he "was strong in faith,
giving glory to God" (Ro 4:20-note).
How essential it is then that each of us examine himself diligently
and make sure that he has faith. It is by faith the convicted and
repentant sinner is saved (Acts 16:31). It is by faith that Christ
dwells in the heart (Ep 3:17-note). It is by faith that we live (Ga
It is by faith that we stand (Ro 11:20-note; 2Co 1:24). It is by faith we
walk (2Cor. 5:7). It is by faith the Devil is successfully resisted
(1Pe 5:8, 9-note). It is by faith we are experimentally sanctified (Acts
26:18). It is by faith we have access to God (Ep 3:12-note,
It is by faith that we fight the good fight (1Ti 6:12). It is by faith
that the world is overcome (1Jn 5:4). Reader, are you certain that you
have the "faith of God’s elect" (Titus 1:1-note)? If not, it is high time
you make sure, for "without faith it is impossible to please God."(The
Faith of Enoch. Hebrews 11:5, 6)
FOR HE WHO COMES TO GOD
MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS: pisteusai (AAN) gar dei (3SPAI) ton
proserchomenon (PMPMSA) to theo hoti estin (3SPAI): (He 7:25;
Job 21:14; Psalms 73:28; Isaiah 55:3; Jeremiah 2:31; John 14:6)
For (gar) explains
why it is impossible to please God. (See
term of explanation)
(proserchomai from prós = facing + érchomai = come)
means literally to come facing toward and so to approach or come near. To
come to visit or associate with. It describes the approach to or entry into
a deity’s presence. In the
proserchomai was the verb used to describe the approach of the
priests to Jehovah for worship and to perform of their priestly (Levitical)
functions. But here in Hebrews, under the
New covenant, all seven uses of proserchomai refer to believers
possessing the privilege of access to God the Father
through Christ the Great High Priest.
There is a threefold "coming to God": an
initial, a continuous, and a final. The first takes place at
conversion, the second is repeated throughout the Christian’s life,
the third occurs at death or the second coming of Christ. To come to
God signifies to seek and have fellowship with Him. It denotes a desire to
enter into His favor and become a partaker of His blessings in this life and
of His salvation in the life to come. It is the heart’s approach unto Him in
and through Christ: John 14:6, He 7:25. But before there is a conscious
access to Him, God has to be diligently sought.
None come to God, none truly seek Him, until they are made conscious of
their lost condition. The Spirit must first work in the soul a realization
that sin has alienated us "from the life of God" (Ep 4:18). We have to be
made to feel that we are away from God, out of His favor, under His
righteous condemnation, before we shall really do as the prodigal did, and
say "I will arise and go to My Father, and will say unto Him, Father, I have
sinned against heaven, and before Thee" (Lk 15:18). The same principle holds
good in connection with the repeated "coming" of the Christian (1Pe 2:4); it
is a sense of need which causes us to seek Him who is the Giver of every
good and every perfect gift. There is also a maintained communion with God
in the performance of holy duties: in all the exercises of godliness we
renew our access to God in Christ: in reading of or hearing His Word, we
come to Him as Teacher, in prayer we come to Him as Benefactor. (The
Faith of Noah. Hebrews 11:6, 7)
Here are the seven
uses of this proserchomai in Hebrews...
Hebrews 4:16 (note)
Let us therefore draw
near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy
and may find grace to help in time of need. (Comment: "Let us..."
emphasizes that this privilege is always available to those under the New
Covenant. Do we really comprehend and avail ourselves of the profundity of
Hebrews 7:25 (note)
Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near (present
tense = emphasizes
continual activity) to God
through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 10:1 (note)
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not
the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year,
which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 10:22 (note)
let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed with pure water.
Hebrews 11:6 (note) And without faith it is
impossible to please Him, for he who comes (drawn near) to God
must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 12:18 (note) For you have not come
(drawn near) to a mountain that may be touched and to a
blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,
Hebrews 12:22 (note) But you have come
(drawn near) to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the
heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels
Proserchomai describes disciples approaching Jesus after He spoke parable
of soils to multitude (Mt 13:10). Heb 12:18,22 4:16 7:25 10:1,22 11:6
In OT the ones chosen to draw near to the Holiness of God were the
PRIESTS. (Dt 21:5 "Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come
near") Believers today are PRIESTS (Rev 1:6;5:10, 1Pe 2:10, etc)
attention to the
aorist tense of the verb which signifies "once for
all". The belief called for is a "moral necessity".
He is -
What does this mean?
In simple terms one must first believe that God exists. He
is the great I Am, the self existent God, Yahweh,
Jehovah (see study).
Obviously we cannot (and will not) come to Him unless first we believe
that He exists, that He is the living and true God. We cannot see Him
except through eyes of faith (2Co 5:7, He 11:1-note,
One must believe that He is
the God of the Bible is the only
true (Jn 17:3, 1Th 1:9, 1Jn 5:20, 21), that He is the living God (Dt 5:26 Jos 3:10
1Sa 17:26, 17:36 2Ki 19:4, 19:16 Ps 42:2, 84:2, Isa 37:4,17 Je 10:10,
23:36 Da 6:20, 26, Ho1:10, Mt 16:16, 26:63, Ac 14:15 Ro 9:26 2Co 3:3,
6:16, 1Ti 3:15, 4:10, Heb 3:12, 9:14, 10:31, 12:22, Rev7:2), that there is
"no other God", (Isa 45:14, 5, 6, 18, 21, 22, 44:6, 7, 8, 43:11) and
that "there is no one like" Him (Isa 46:9).
MacArthur writes that...
In his book, Your God is Too
Small, J. B. Phillips describes some of the common gods that
people manufacture. One is the grand old man god, the grandfatherly,
white-haired, indulgent god who smiles down on men and winks at their
adultery, stealing, cheating, and lying. Then there are the resident
policeman god, whose primary job is to make life difficult and
unenjoyable, and the god in a box, the private and exclusive sectarian
god. The managing director god is the god of the deists, the god who
designed and created the universe, started it spinning, and now stands
by far away watching it run down. God is not pleased with belief in
any of these idolatrous substitutes.
As Robertson says
this is even true "in business also (banks, for instance)". Witness
the "run" on banks when one's "faith" in their integrity becomes
shaken. He goes on to add that "The very existence of God is a matter
of intelligent faith."
Vincent says of this faith that He is is
An essential obligation. In the
nature of the case...Faith in God involves belief in His existence
although he is unseen.
MacArthur comments that
Genuine faith does not simply
believe that a divine being exists (Jas 2:19-note),
but that the God of Scripture is the only real and true God Who
exists. Not believing that God exists is equivalent to calling Him a
liar (1Jn 5:10)
Spurgeon writes that...
You must believe
that God hears prayer. You must believe that he will punish the
guilty, and that he will reward the righteous. Without this sure
faith, you cannot come to him.
No one can come to God if he does
not believe that there is a God, and that he justly dispenses rewards
A W Pink writes that...
to seek God aright, He has to be sought in faith, for "without faith it is
impossible to please Him," therefore, "he that cometh to God must believe
that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
There has to be first a firm persuasion of His being, and second of His
bounty. To believe that "He is" means much more than assenting to the
fact of a "First Cause" or to allow that there is a "Supreme Being"; it
means to believe in the character of God as He has revealed Himself in His
works, in His Word, and in Christ. He must be conceived of aright, or
otherwise we are only pursuing a phantom of our own imagination. Thus, to
believe that "God is" is to exercise faith upon Him as such a Being as His
Word declares Him to be: supreme sovereign, ineffably holy, almighty,
inflexibly just, yet abounding in mercy and grace toward poor sinners
Not only is the heart to go out unto God as His being and character is
revealed in Scripture, but particularly, faith is to lay hold of His
graciousness: that He is "a Rewarder" etc. The acting of faith toward God as
a "Rewarder" is the heart’s apprehension and anticipation of the fact that
He is ready and willing to conduct Himself to needy sinners in a way of
bounty, that He will act in all things toward them in a manner suitable unto
the proposal of which He makes of Himself through the Gospel. It was the
realization of this (in addition to his felt need) which stirred the
prodigal to act (cp Lk 15:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20). Just as it would be
useless to pray unless there were an hope that God hears and that He will
answer prayer, so no sinner will really seek unto God until there is born in
his heart an expectation of mercy from Him, that He will receive him
graciously. This is a laying hold of His promise.
In Scripture, privileges are propounded with their necessary limitations,
and we disjoint the whole system of Truth if we separate the recompense from
the duty. There is something to be done on our part: God is a "Rewarder,"
but of whom? Of those who "diligently seek Him." "The wicked shall be turned
into Hell, all the nations that forget God" (Ps 9:17): not only "deny," but
"forget" Him; as they cast God out of their thoughts and affections, so He
will cast them out of His presence. (The
Faith of Noah. Hebrews 11:6, 7)
AND THAT HE IS
(literally "becomes") A REWARDER
(renderer of reward): kai tois ekzetousin (PAPMPD) auton misthapodotes ginetai (3SPMI):
(He 11:26; Ge 15:1; Ruth 2:12-note;
Psalms 58:11; Proverbs 11:18; Matthew 5:12; 6:1,2,5,16; Matthew
10:41,42; Luke 6:35 )
Literally God "becomes a rewarder."
Faith not only believes God exists
but trusts Him to be a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Rewarder (3406) (misthapodotes from
= reward + apodídomi = render,
is the only NT example of this word which means "recompenser."
Jamieson comments that on "reward" that this is what
"God proved to be
to Enoch. The reward is God Himself diligently "sought" and "walked
with" in partial communion here, and to be fully enjoyed hereafter.
Compare Ge15:1, "I am thy exceeding great reward."
Vincent comments on the difference in the simple verb "Is", noting
that it does not mean
"simply exists, but comes to pass as; proves to
be, habitually, so that he who approaches God has, through faith, the
assurance that his seeking God will result in good to himself."
Wuest adds that
"The one who comes to God, must believe two things,
first that He exists, and second, that He rewards those who diligently
seek Him. The first verb “is” is the translation of estin which speaks
of existence. The second verb “is” is the translation of ginomai. The
idea is not merely that God exists as a rewarder, but that He will
prove Himself to be a rewarder of that person who diligently seeks
OF THOSE WHO
SEEK HIM: kai tois
ekzetousin (PAPMPD): (1Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 105:3,4; 119:10;
Proverbs 8:17; Song 3:1, 2, 3, 4; Jeremiah 29:13,14; Matthew 6:33;
Luke 12:31; 2Peter 1:5,10; 3:14)
Lit. "unto them that seek him out". Those who
seek Him out are continuously (present tense) diligently seeking Him.
from ek = out or to intensify the meaning + zeteo
= to seek) means to seek out, to look for, to search diligently for
anything lost. This verb implies that the seeker exerts considerable
effort and care in learning something.
7x in 7v in the NAS - Lk. 11:50, 51; Acts 15:17; Ro 3:11; Heb.
11:6; 12:17; 1Pe 1:10
renders ekzeteo as charged (2), made careful search*(1),
seek(2), seeks for(1), sought for(1).
Key to the Greek New Testament" (Rienecker) notes that the preposition
"ek" in this compound
to denote that the
seeker finds, or at least exhausts his powers of seeking."
could have used the root verb zeteo but instead he chose
ekzeteo which speaks of making diligent investigation or
determined search for something. The idea is to exert effort to find
Peter uses ekzeteo to describe the efforts of the OT prophets
As to this salvation, the prophets
who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful
search (ekzeteo) and inquiry seeking to know what person or time
the Spirit of Christ
within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ
and the glories to follow." (1Pe 1:10, 11-notes)
In other words,
the OT prophets studied their own writings in order to know more about
the promised salvation. Though they believed and were personally saved
from their sin by that faith (through the sacrifice God would provide
in Christ), they could not fully understand what was involved in the
life and death of Jesus Christ.
So as taught in
Hebrews 11:6, God here gives mankind a very clear, logical motive to
seek diligently for Him (reward), men still do not seek Him! Esau in
some ways typifies men's seeking for God, Hebrews recording that
"that even afterwards, when he
desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no
place for repentance,
though he sought (ekzeteo) for it with tears." (He 12:17-note)
In other words
Esau desired God’s blessings, but he did not want God! He regretted
what he had done, but he did not repent.
in contrast to the rare use in the NT, is used 105 times in the
For example, the psalmist writes
"With all my heart I have
sought (ekzeteo) Thee. Do not let me wander from Thy
commandments...And I will walk at liberty, for I seek (ekzeteo)
Thy precepts...I am Thine, save me; for I have sought (ekzeteo)
Thy precepts." (Ps
119:10, 45, 94-)
In a use that
parallels Paul's use in Romans, the psalmist writes that
"Salvation is far from
the wicked, for they do not seek (ekzeteo) Thy
And yet even in
the OT God was pleading with faithless Israel to
"Learn to do good; Seek (ekzeteo)
justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan, Plead for the
In Jeremiah God
spoke to Israel saying
"and you will seek (Lxx
Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
And in Amos God
"to the house of
Israel, "Seek (Lxx
Me that you may live." (Amos 5:4)
prophesies that the day will come (in context a reference to the
Millennium) when Gentiles from one of the world's cities
"will go to another saying, "Let us
go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek (ekzeteo)
the LORD of hosts; I will also go. So many peoples and mighty nations
(the Gentiles) will come to seek (ekzeteo) the LORD of hosts in
Jerusalem and to entreat
the favor of the LORD." (Zech
of ekzeteo parallels James' quotation of Amos 9:11, 12 in arguing his case for
the fact that Gentiles could be saved without becoming Jewish
"In order that the rest of mankind
may seek (ekzeteo) the Lord and all the Gentiles who are
called by My name." (Acts
Vincent comments that
"God's beneficent will and attitude toward the
seeker are not always apparent at the first approach. In such cases
there is occasion for faith, in the face of delay, that diligent
seeking will find its reward."
The amazing thing is now in the New Covenant with the promised Holy
Spirit we are inwardly impelled by the Spirit to seek God (cp
Eze 36:27, Heb 13:21) because under the Law there were none who
continually seek for God Whose fellowship we lost in the Garden of
Eden. None seek diligently or earnestly after God, (even when He gives
a clear & logical motive of why to seek Him: Rewarder of those who
seek Him Heb 11:6) with a sincere and earnest desire to obtain His
favor .To seek out, search diligently for anything lost (Eze 34:10,
11, 12). This verse from Ezek in fact says God Himself "will search
for My sheep and seek them out." First, the Jews, then to the Greeks.
What an awesome God, Who has not left us to our own vain imaginations
of how to come into His Holy presence.
A W Pink asks...
What is meant by "diligently seek Him"? To "seek" God is to
forsake, deny, go out of self, and take Him alone for our Ruler and
satisfying Portion. To seek Him "diligently" is to seek Him early (Pr
8:17), whole-heartedly (Ps 119:10), earnestly (Ps. 27:4), unweariedly
(Luke 11:8). How does a thirsty man seek water? The promise is, "And
ye shall seek Me and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all
your heart" (Je 29:13 and cf. 2Chr 15:15).
And how does God "reward" the diligent seeker?
By offering Himself graciously to be found of them who penitently,
earnestly, trustfully approach Him through the appointed Mediator. By
granting them access into His favor: this He did not unto Cain, who
sought Him in a wrong manner.
By actually bestowing His favor upon them, as He did upon the
prodigal. By forgiving their sins and blotting out their iniquities
By writing His laws in their hearts, so that they now desire and
determine to forsake all idols and serve Him only.
By giving them assurance of their acceptance in the Beloved, and
granting them sweet foretastes of the rest and bliss which awaits them
By ministering to their every need, both spiritual and temporal.
Finally, by taking them to heaven, where they shall spend eternity in
the unclouded enjoyment of the wondrous riches of His grace.
But does this word "Rewarder" have a legalistic ring to it? Not
if it be understood rightly. Does it signify that our "diligent
seeking" is a meritorious performance which is entitled to
recognition? Of course it does not. What, then, is meant?
First, let us quote from the helpful comments of John Owen: "That
which these words of the apostle hath respect to, and which is the
ground of the faith here required, is contained in the revelation that
God made of Himself unto Abraham, ‘Fear not: Abram: I am thy shield,
and they exceeding great reward’ (Gen. 15:1). God is so a rewarder
unto them that seek Him, as that He is Himself their reward, which
eternally excludes all thoughts of merit in them that are so rewarded.
Who can merit God to be his reward? Rewarding in God, especially where
He Himself is the reward, is an act of infinite grace and bounty. And
this gives us full direction unto the object of faith here intended,
namely, God in Christ, as revealed in the promise of Him, giving
Himself unto believers as a reward, (to be their God) in a way of
infinite goodness and bounty. The proposal hereof, is that alone which
gives encouragement to come unto Him, which the apostle designs to
Faith of Noah. Hebrews 11:6, 7)
Hebrews 11:5, 6
Genesis 5:21, 22, 23, 24
by Pastor Steven Cole
Unrelated to the upcoming election,
I was searching my files for an illustration of trying to please
everyone. I came across this story about Senator John Kerry, from
1991, during the first Gulf War. A man named Walter Carter wrote to
Mr. Kerry urging him to support the ejection of Iraq from Kuwait. He
received two separate replies. The first letter agreed, stating the
Senator’s strong support for [then] President Bush’s response to the
crisis. The second letter, mailed by mistake, thanked Mr. Carter for
opposing the war and pointed out that Senator Kerry had voted against
the war resolution! (“Traditional Values Report,” June/July, 1991.)
Newsweek (5/19/94) opened with an article recounting President Bill
Clinton’s legendary ability to lead people “to believe that he agrees
with them entirely… without ever quite committing himself to their
position… a gift given only to the best politicians.” To be fair, many
examples could be found of Republican politicians being
But unfortunately, many pastors try to ride the fence in an attempt to
please everyone. There is a proper sense, of course, in which we
should seek to please people, not being needlessly offensive (1Cor
10:32, 33). We should be gracious, kind, and not quarrelsome, even
when we must correct those in error (2Ti 2:24, 25, 26-note). We should seek
to please others in order to build them up in Christ (Ro 15:2-note). But
having said all of that, there is a much more important aim than
pleasing people, namely, to please God, who examines our hearts (1Th
2:4-note). Sometimes pleasing God inevitably means displeasing people that
are opposed to God.
If we please everyone else, but God is ultimately displeased with our
lives, woe to us! On the other hand, if we offend others, but God is
finally pleased, we will enter into His eternal joy. The author of
Hebrews directs us to the life of Enoch, a man who pleased God. He
lived in the seventh generation from Adam. It was an evil time on
earth, just before the judgment of the flood. Jude 1:14, 15 reports
that Enoch prophesied to his evil generation,
“Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to
execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their
ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the
harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” That
could not have been a popular message! And yet Enoch pleased God so
much that God took him straight to heaven so that he did not see
death. His story teaches a vital lesson, that…
A life of faith pleases God.
We should learn three things from these verses:
1. Our number
one aim in life should be to please God.
If you love someone, you aim to please him or her. The foremost
commandment is that we should love God with all of our heart, soul,
mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). It is impossible to obey that
commandment without seeking to please God. Note two things in this
A. Pleasing God begins on
the heart (or thought) level.
We can fake out people by being nice on the surface, while in our
hearts we don’t care about them. But God knows our every thought, and
so we can’t fake Him out! Even if we fulfill a list of religious
duties or live outwardly moral lives, God judges the thoughts and
intentions of our hearts (Heb 4:12, 13-note).
So if you want to please God, you must judge all sin on the thought
level and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (Mark
7:20, 21, 22, 23; 2Co 10:5). God condemns those who honor Him with
their lips, while their hearts are far from Him (Mark 7:6). This is
essential: Aim to please God with your thought life and your emotional
B. Pleasing God requires
consistently drawing near to Him and seeking Him.
Verse 6 mentions the one “who comes to God.” Comes to translates the
same word that is translated draw near in He 4:16-note,
where we are exhorted to “draw near to the throne of grace.” In He
7:25-note, the author
says that Jesus “is able to save forever those who draw near to God
through Him.” In He 10:1, he states that the Old Testament sacrifices
could never “make perfect those who draw near.” In He 10:22-note, he
exhorts us to “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of
faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.” So
in He 11:6, it should be translated, “he who draws near to God.” It
means drawing near to God in worship and prayer.
Hebrews 11:6 also mentions “those who seek Him.” The KJV translates
it, “diligently seek,” (He 11:6KJV) but scholars are divided about
whether it has this intensive sense. It is parallel here to drawing
near to God. The Hebrew word that is often translated seek originally
meant to beat a path under foot. The idea was that if you sought your
neighbor often, you would beat a path through the grass to his door.
We should seek God so often that we beat a path to Him!
Drawing near to God and seeking Him are deliberate, intentional
activities. You do not accidentally draw near to the Holy One. No one
ever seeks God apart from God’s first choosing and calling that person
(Ro 3:11-note; 1Cor. 1:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31). But once God has called you
to salvation and you have responded in faith to His call, you must
exert deliberate effort and intention to seek the Lord. Make it your
priority and aim in life!
Note also that we are to seek God Himself, not just the rewards that
He can give us. Knowing the living God is our reward. The Lord
fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your very great reward (Ge 15:1,
In the context of explaining that
the priests would not have any inheritance in the land, God promised
I am your
portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel (Nu 18:20).
The psalmist proclaimed (Ps 73:25,
Whom have I
in heaven, but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My
flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and
my portion forever.
F. B. Meyer wrote,
To have God
is to have all, though bereft of everything. To be destitute of God is
to be bereft of everything, though having all (Abraham [Christian
Literature Crusade], p. 63).
Donald Barnhouse observed,
method of supplying our need is to give us fresh knowledge of Himself,
for every need can be met by seeing Him (Genesis [Zondervan], 1:105).
So our number one aim in life
should be to please God from the heart. To do so, we must consistently
draw near to Him and seek Him. But our text mentions an essential for
2. Faith is
essential to please God.
Two words underscore this in He 11:6: impossible and must. Faith is
not just something nice, if you care to practice it. It is impossible
to please God without faith. You must believe that God is and the He
is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
We know this on a human level. If someone does not believe you or
questions your integrity, you are not pleased with that person. In
effect, they’re calling you a liar. If you have spoken the truth, to
have someone call you a liar is not pleasing.
How much more does it displease the God of truth, Who cannot lie
(Titus 1:2-note), when
we call Him a liar by doubting His word! What could be more insulting?
What could be more arrogant than to imply that we know more than God
does? When we do not trust Him, we are in effect saying, “God, You’re
wrong and I’m right!” How impudent! So, if we want to please God, we
must learn what faith means, and live by faith on a daily basis. The
author mentions two aspects of God-pleasing faith:
A. Faith must believe
that God is.
Why does the author start with believing in God’s existence with Jews,
who obviously believed that? In fact, even the pagan poet, Cicero,
no nation so barbarous, no people so savage, that they have not a
deep-seated conviction that there is a God” (cited by John Calvin, The
Institutes of the Christian Religion [Westminster Press], 1:44).
So why does the author start with
this basic matter?
For one thing, his readers were under the imminent threat of
persecution. When you have done what is right and get persecuted for
it, the devil comes to you with doubts about God. He whispers in your
ear, “You repented of your sins and trusted in God, but look what has
happened to you now! If there were a God in heaven, would He let you
be treated in this way?”
Although Jesus did not yield to the temptation, Satan threw this at
Him while He hung upon the cross. The chief priests, scribes, and
elders mocked Him, saying,
in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him” (Matt. 27:43).
The enemy was trying to get Jesus
to doubt God’s love, His power, or even His very existence, because a
God who is unloving and weak is not really God at all!
When the author says that we must believe that “God is,” he means, “We
must believe that God is exactly who His Word reveals Him to be.”
Sinful people cannot know the living and true God apart from His
revealing Himself to them. To believe in God “as you conceive Him to
be” is to believe in an idol, a god of your own making and
imagination. We must believe in the God who is not only the God of
love, but also of judgment, because that is how He has revealed
Himself. He is not only a God of mercy and kindness, but also of
holiness and wrath. So when the author says that we must believe that
God is, he is saying, “Believe in the God who reveals Himself in His
Why would he say that? Because when we are under persecution or severe
trials, it is easy to invent a friendlier “god” who treats us more
nicely! It is not so easy to bow before the God of the Bible, who is
sovereign over every trial. When God permits your ten children to be
killed in a common accident and strips you of your wealth and health,
it is not easy to join Job in proclaiming,
gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”
Yet at just such times, we must
believe, God is!
Perhaps you’re wondering, “How do you hang on to faith in God at such
difficult times?” I always ask, “What’s the alternative?” In John 6,
Jesus taught some difficult doctrines that caused many of His
disciples to turn away from following Him. Rather than softening the
teaching, He turned to the twelve and asked, “You do not want to go
away also, do you?” Peter gave a classic answer,
whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and
have come to know that You are the Holy One of God (John 6:67, 68).
You may not like the trials or the
teaching, but where else are you going to go? The world certainly
offers no satisfying answers! If you turn your back on God in times of
trials, you have just robbed yourself of the only source of hope and
comfort! Faith holds on, believing that God is!
B. Faith must believe
that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
This has to do with God’s goodness or justice, as well as His power.
In times of trial, if Satan can’t get you to doubt God’s existence, he
will try to get you to doubt God’s goodness, His fairness, or His
power. “If God loves you and cares about you, why is this terrible
trial happening to you? Maybe God cares, but He can’t do anything
about it.” Faith takes a stand against this temptation, believing,
“God will reward me because I have sought Him. God does love me and
care for me, even though I’m suffering. God is able to deliver me, if
that is His purpose.”
How do we do this? Do we just say it over and over until we convince
ourselves, against all of our circumstances, that it is true?
Rehearsing it in your mind may help. But, there is more to be said:
(1) Make sure that you’re trusting in Christ for salvation.
Saving faith is not just mentally assenting to the promise that if you
believe in Jesus Christ, you have eternal life. You must agree with
God’s promise, but faith is more than agreeing. It is also relying
personally on Christ as your only hope of heaven. You turn from
relying on your own good works as the basis of your standing with God.
You do not trust in any religious rituals, ceremonies, vows, or
disciplines to gain acceptance with God. You do not believe that God
will grade on the curve, and since you’re better than average, you
will pass the course. You trust solely on the shed blood of Christ as
the only satisfaction for your sins. You believe God’s promise that
the one who trusts in Jesus will have eternal life. If you do not have
this foundation, you will not be able to believe God in times of
(2) Understand that faith is not in any way meritorious; rather, it
is God’s ordained means of obtaining His blessings.
In other words, your faith does not earn or merit eternal life or any
other blessing. That would be to turn faith into a work that makes God
your debtor! Rather, Christ Himself merits our salvation and all
spiritual blessings. We deserve nothing from God but judgment, but in
His grace, He offers mercy and full pardon to the one who trusts in
the merits of Christ.
John Owen explains,
is the gracious power which takes us off from all confidence in
ourselves, and directs us to look for all in another; that is, in God
Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews [The National Foundation for
Christian Education], 7:41).
Salvation and everything that we
have is from God as a gift by His grace. The Reformer, Martin Bucer,
explains, “when God rewards our good works he is rewarding his works
and gifts in us, rather than our own works.” Since God works in us,
“both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13-note), Bucer
“all the good that God does to us and the eternal life that he
gives us still remain the results of his grace alone, so that no one
should boast of himself, but only of the Lord” (cited by Philip
Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p.
So, make sure that you’re trusting in Christ alone for salvation.
Understand that you do not in any way merit salvation by your faith,
but that faith is simply the channel through which God’s blessings
(3) Remember that the rewards of faith are in eternity, not
necessarily in this life.
We saw this last week with Abel, who didn’t live a long and happy life
on earth. But his life was blessed and Cain’s life was cursed, even
though Cain lived many years and had many earthly successes. The same
thing is true of Moses. He chose to give up his comfortable situation
as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and to endure ill-treatment with
God’s people, “for he was looking to the reward” (He 11:24, 25, 26-note).
This is also illustrated in the case of Enoch (He 11:5-note).
Even though he lived 365 years, which is very long by today’s
standards, in the context of Genesis 5, he has by far the shortest
life of all of the pre-flood patriarchs. His father, Jared, lived 962
years. His son, Methuselah, set the record at 969 years. Yet Enoch,
who is noted for his godliness, only lived about a third as long as
they did! This shows us that faith’s reward is not necessarily a long
life on earth, but eternal life with God in heaven.
Enoch’s translation into heaven is also an illustration of what God
will do for those who are alive when Jesus returns. We will be caught
up in the clouds “to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always
be with the Lord” (1Th 4:17-note).
Even for believers who die physically, there is a sense in which they
will not see death. As Jesus told Martha at Lazarus’ tomb, “I am the
resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he
dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” Then
He pointedly asked her, “Do you believe this?” (John 11:25, 26). Faith
looks to God for the reward of eternal life in heaven, not for the
good life here and now.
We’ve seen that our number one aim in life should be to please God,
and that faith is essential to please Him. Finally,
3. Faith is a
daily walk that extends over a lifetime.
Enoch’s life also illustrates this point. Genesis 5 does not mention
faith in connection with Enoch, but it does say twice that he walked
with God. The LXX translators, seeking to make the language less
anthropomorphic (F. F. Bruce, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews
[Eerdmans], p. 287), render that phrase,
well-pleasing to God.”
Since it is impossible to please
God without faith, it follows that Enoch walked by faith. His 300-year
walk of faith obtained God’s testimony that he was pleasing to Him. We
must walk by faith with God on earth if we expect to dwell with Him
forever in heaven.
Let’s briefly explore the word picture of a walk with God. First,
consider that a walk is not spectacular or impressive. If we were
writing the biography of a man who was taken up into heaven bodily
without dying, I’m sure that we would not title it, “The Man Who
Walked With God.” We’d call it, “The Man Who Flew With God.” We’re
attracted to the sensational, but God calls our attention to a man who
walked with Him. To fly with God sounds impossible, but to walk with
God is doable. Walking is not the flashiest or quickest way to get
someplace, but it’s a frequent description of the Christian life. John
Bunyan’s Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful expanded description of the
To walk with God means that our lives are in step with God, yielded in
obedience to Him, headed in the direction He chooses. Walking also
implies intimacy and fellowship. Walking with a friend is a time to
talk, to get to know one another, and to share the things that are
happening in your lives. Walking with God is a daily process of
growing more intimate with Him as you share everything in your life
with Him and learn more of His ways.
Of course, you have to do your own walking. Someone else can’t do it
for you. Just as a physical exercise program requires discipline, so
spiritual walking requires discipline (1Ti 4:7-note).
You have to take the initiative, the time, and the effort that is
required to walk with God. If you don’t make frequent appointments to
get alone with Him, it won’t happen. If you don’t make an effort to
read His Word and apply it to your life, you’re not walking with Him.
If you are not memorizing His promises and applying them to the
various situations you face, you’re not walking by faith. If you have
trusted in Christ as Savior, but you have grown lazy and aren’t
walking with Him, then get up and get back on the path. Faith is a
daily dependence on God, step by step, that continues over a lifetime.
There is a familiar story about a little girl who went to Sunday
School and heard the story of Enoch. She went home and told her
mother, “You know, Mother, he used to go for walks with God.” The
mother replied, “That’s wonderful, dear. How did it end?” “Well,
Mother, one day they walked on and on, and got so far that God said to
Enoch, ‘You’re a long ways from home. You had better come in and stay
If you walk with God by faith, your life is pleasing to Him. Even if
you go through horrible trials, you can trust that He is with you. One
day, He will say to you, “You’re a long ways from home. You had better
come in and stay with Me!”
Why is it essential to recognize
that pleasing God begins on the heart (or, thought) level? What errors
does this avoid?
How would you deal with a person who is struggling to believe in the
existence of God? Are “proofs” of His existence useful or should we
take a different approach?
Why is it crucial to affirm that faith is not meritorious? What are
some errors that the meritorious view of faith leads to?
Should the believer be motivated by rewards in heaven? Why/ why not?
Is God Himself the totality of our reward?
Link to the Messages of Pastor
Steven Cole - Audio and Transcripts - These are highly recommended and
function much like verse by verse commentary - Used by Persmission
warned by God
ark for the
heir of the
Amplified: [Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events
of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently
and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of
his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed
judgment and sentence on the world’s unbelief and became an heir and
possessor of righteousness (that relation of being right into which
God puts the person who has faith).
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved
with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he
condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by
NLT: It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the
flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never
happened before. By his faith he condemned the rest of the world and
was made right in God's sight. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: It was through faith that Noah, on receiving God's warning of
impending disaster, reverently constructed an ark to save his
household. This action of faith condemned the unbelief of the rest of
the world, and won for Noah the righteousness before God which follows
such a faith. (Phillips:
Wuest: By faith Noah, having been divinely warned concerning the things not
seen, with reverential care prepared an ark for the preservation of
his household; by means of which he condemned the world, and became an
heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: By faith Noah, having been divinely warned concerning the things not
yet seen, having feared, did prepare an ark to the salvation of his
house, through which he did condemn the world, and of the
righteousness according to faith he became heir.
BY FAITH NOAH BEING WARNED BY GOD ABOUT THINGS NOT YET SEEN: Pistei
chrematistheis (AAPMSN) Noe peri ton medepo blepomenon (PPPNPG):
(Genesis 6:13,22; 7:1,5; Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:26) (2Peter 2:5)
(Genesis 6:13; 19:14; Exodus 9:18, 19, 20, 21; Proverbs 22:3; 27:12;
Ezekiel 3:17, 18, 19; Matthew 3:7; Matthew 24:15,25; 2Peter 3:6)
- Noah dramatically illustrates that faith that saves is
faith that acts (). Faith alone saves! But the faith that saves is
not "alone"! A man is justified by faith alone, not by works, but a
faith that "works" is not alone!
studies on faith and obedience:
Relationship of faith and obedience
Obedience of faith
- Ro 1:5, 16:25
James 2:14-26 Comments on Faith and Works
- see notes in preceding verse)
illustrates that faith hears and receives God's Word...
Then God said to Noah, “The end of
all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence
because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the
(a command) for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark
with rooms, and shall cover (Heb verb = kaphar = literally as in this
passage means to cover and in other contexts means to make an
atonement [And thus = "Yom Kippur" =
Day of Atonement]!
E.g., Da 9:24-note
speaking of the Messiah) it inside and out
with pitch (Hebrew = kopher = means pitch. Most OT uses it means a
ransom, price demanded to redeem a person). (Ge 6:13, 14)
And then Noah
demonstrates that true saving faith "works"...
Thus Noah did; according to all
that God had commanded him, so he did. (Ge 6:22)
Comment: For a more in depth
discussion of this vitally (eternally) important relationship between
saving faith and works, see notes on James 2:14, 15, 16,
from chrema = an affair,
business, sum of money, Ac 4:37, 8:18, 24:26, property Mt 19:22) in the
NT means to impart a divine message (an injunction or warning) which is
the primary meaning in the present passage. Chrematizo in this sense speaks of a divine oracle or declaration (Lk
2:26), as well as a divine warning (He 12:25, 8:5, Mt 2:12, 22). In the Greek
papyri chrematizo was also used of official
pronouncements by magistrates and of a royal reply to a petition as well
as an answer of an oracle or as describing a revelation from a deity.
Josephus uses chrematizo in the sense of to receive a response from God.
Jesus Christ also warned His disciples (Lk 17:22) (and by way of
application all mankind regarding these last days [cp 2Ti 3:1-note])...
And just as it happened in the days
of Noah, so it will be also
in the days of the Son of Man
(in the days preceding the return of Christ - see
27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were
being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and
the flood came and destroyed them all. (Lk 17:26, 27)
(blepo) can denote simple voluntary observation and so mean to
look at, behold. Many NT uses convey the sense of becoming aware of or
taking notice of something, of perceiving or discerning or
means to discern mentally,
observe, consider, contemplate, look to in the sense of taking care,
take heed. It means
perceive with your eyes. Have your eye on so as to beware of.
IN REVERENCE PREPARED AN ARK FOR THE SALVATION OF HIS
HOUSEHOLD BY WHICH HE CONDEMNED THE WORLD: eulabetheis (AAPMSN) kateskeuasen
(3SAAI) kiboton eis soterian tou oikou autou di es katekrinen (3SAAI) ton kosmo:
(Ge 6:18; 7:1,23; 8:16; Ezek 14:14,20; 1Pe 3:20) (Matthew
12:41,42; Lk 11:31,3)
(cp "fear" in He 11:7KJV)
(eulabeomai from eu =
well + lambano = take hold - literally "taking hold well" and thus
to be concerned, to give careful heed or to be moved with reverent
regard/respect for something or someone, in this case Noah's sense of
reverence regarding God and His warning. In Noah's case we observe
that a reverential attitude led to a reasonable action (built an ark!)
This is the only
NT use of eulabeomai but there are 21 uses in the
- Ex 3:6; Deut. 2:4;
1Sa 18:15, 29; Job 13:25; 19:29; Pr. 2:8; 30:5; Isa. 51:12; 57:11; Je
4:1; 5:22; 15:17; 22:25; Dan. 4:5; Nah. 1:7; Hab. 2:20; Zeph. 1:7;
3:12; Zec 2:13; Mal. 3:16
Habakkuk 2:20 "But the LORD is in
His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent (Heb = has = hush!
= eulabeomai) before Him."
(1681) wrote that...
When the soul looks either to God's
holiness, or its own sinfulness—it fears. But it is a fear mixed with
faith in Christ's merits; the soul trembles—yet trusts. Like a ship
which lies at anchor, though it shakes with the wind, yet it is fixed
at anchor. God in great wisdom couples these two graces of faith and
fear. Fear preserves seriousness, faith preserves cheerfulness. Fear
is as lead to the net—to keep a Christian from floating in
presumption; and faith is as cork to the net—to keep him from sinking
(kataskeuazo from katá = intensifies the meaning of +
skeuazo = prepare <> from skeuos = implement, vessel) is a
verb which means to to equip, make ready, construct, or to cause to be
thoroughly prepared. It includes the supply of all necessary furniture
and equipment. It's the idea of adorning and equipping with all things
necessary. Kataskeuazo was the word used to describe the preparing of
a way before oriental monarch (Mt 11:10; Mk 1:2; Lk 7:27 from Malachi
(kibotos) describes a wooden
box or chest and here refers to the sea faring vessel God had Noah
build to save himself and his family from the world-wide flood. In
other contexts kibotos refers to the Ark of the Covenant (He
9:4, Heb 11:19).
comments (some duplication as these are compiled from a number of
separate expository comments by Spurgeon)...
There is an unholy fear which
is cast out by perfect love (1Jn 4:18), but there is a holy fear, a filial fear
(filial = of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter),
which dwells most happily with faith, so was it with Noah, who, “by
faith,... moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his
You see, faith and fear can live in
the same heart; and they can work together to build the same ark.
Faith and fear are very sweet companions, when the fear is filial
fear, a holy dread of disobeying, God. When we are moved with that
fear, our faith becomes practical.
Fear and faith may sometimes dwell
together. There is a holy, humble fear that perfect love never casts
out (Ed: In other words, this is a "fear" God's children should
possess and should seek to cultivate, cp 1Pe 1:17-note,
for this filial fear motivates obedient, holy conduct), but entertains and cherishes; and this is the kind of fear that
Noah possessed: “Being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved
with fear, he prepared an ark.” Noah was a practical life-saver,— an
ark-builder; and so he became the second father of the human race,— a
sort of new Adam,— and that simply by his faith. Oh! what is there
that is impossible to the man who believes in God? “All things are
possible to him that believeth.” (Mk 9:23)
See how faith within a man masters
all his emotions. Noah, in preparing the ark, was “moved with fear;”
but that fear, instead of hampering him, was yoked with his faith, and
so was turned to practical account. Oh, for an overcoming faith,
(cp 1Jn 5:4, 5) which
shall hold our entire nature in check, or which shall employ every
part of our being for its own high and noble purposes! (Ed:
Noah was the second great father of
men as Adam was the first. In the flood, all died except Noah and his
family. Faith made him build the great ship on dry land, into which he
went, with his wife and family and all manner of living creatures; and
when the rest of mankind were destroyed, they outlived the flood.
Faith can outlive a deluge which
drowns the whole world. She (faith) hath an Ark even when God’s wrath sweeps
all the rest away. Next we learn the obedience
of faith (referring to He 11:8-note).
(Exposition of Hebrews)
As an aside godly reverential
fear goes hand in hand with love -- love is the positive
side, fear the negative; (filial, like love of a child for their
parents) love prompts (motivates) one to do what pleases God,
while fear prompts one to refrain from what displeases God.
[word study] from
soter = Savior in turn from
sozo = save, rescue, deliver)
describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and
the background of an otherwise interpretatively difficult section of
his letter) alludes to this salvation event because of the intractable
evil of mankind (Ge 6:5, 13)...
when the patience of God kept
waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in
which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the
water. (1Pe 3:20-note)
Mankind has continually looked
for salvation of one kind or another (Eccl 3:11 is true but so
is Ro 3:11-note).
Greek philosophers (who did not understand spiritual truth, cp 1Co
turned inward and begun to focus on changing man’s inner life through
moral reform and self-discipline. The Greek Stoic philosopher
Epictetus called his lecture room “the hospital for sick souls.” Epicurus
(in a state of self deception/delusion) called his teaching “the medicine of salvation.”
taught that all men were looking ad salutem (“toward
salvation”) and that men are overwhelmingly conscious of their
weakness and insufficiency in necessary things and that we therefore
need “a hand let down to lift us up”. Seneca was not far from the
truth as Scripture testifies...
(Jehovah speaking) Is My hand so
short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver?...Behold,
the LORD'S hand is not so short that it cannot save...(Jeremiah
speaking) 'Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the
earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too
difficult for Thee" (Isa 50:2...Is 59:1... Je 32:17)
(oikos) refers to a dwelling and by implication a family (more
or less related), a home, a household.
from kata = down,
against + krino = to assess, then to separate or distinguish,
then to give an opinion upon, judge, then to decide or determine and
finally to judge (to judge one down [kata = down]), pronounce
judgment or to condemn) means to give judgment against, pass sentence
upon, pass judgment against and hence to condemn, this latter action
implying there has been a crime. It means to pronounce sentence
against or to adjudge guilty and always denotes an adverse sentence
(to sentence to punishment).
So you see that faith has a
condemning power towards an ungodly world. You do not need to be
constantly telling worldlings that they are doing wrong; let them see
clearly the evidence of your faith (cp Mt 5:16-note,
Php 2:14, 15-note,
1Pe 3:16-note), for that will bear the strongest
conceivable witness against their unbelief and sin, even as Noah, by
his faith, “condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness
which is by faith.” (Exposition of Hebrews)
Old French condemner, from Latin condemnāre
from con- (expressing intensive force) + damnare =
to condemn, to inflict loss upon from damnum = loss,
in secular Greek was a legal technical term for pronouncing a
sentence after reaching a verdict or decision against someone. To
declare an evildoer guilty.
In our modern
parlance, the word condemn is often used with a "lighter"
meaning such as to censure, to express strong disapproval, to
denounce, etc. Most Biblical uses of katakrino are not "light" as
evidenced by repeated use of this verb to describe Jesus being
condemned to death. Similarly all who disbelieve will be
condemned, which is not simply censured, etc, but sentenced to
eternal separation from God (but see Ro 14:23-note
condemnation by one's own conscience, not eternal condemnation or
condemnation to death).
Bible Encyclopedia writes that katakrino...
is to be distinguished from...
(krino) in that it refers either to the sentence or to the punishment
following the sentence rather than to the simple act of deciding in
judgment. Only the context can determine the precise nature of the
C, H. F. Vos & J. Rea, Ed The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia. 1975.
Illustrated Bible Dictionary writes that...
Condemn and condemnation
are judicial terms, the opposite of Justify and
Justification (Mt 12:37; Ro 5:16, 18). God alone is the Judge of
people; in His demand for righteousness, sin leads invariably to
condemnation and death. (Youngblood,
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology adds that...
From the standpoint of semantics,
condemnation is part of legal terminology. When it is discovered that
a crime has been committed, that the law has been broken, the process
of investigation may lead to formal charges being levied against a
defendant. The process of litigation leads to the outcome, a verdict
of acquittal or guilt. The verdict indicates that the defendant is
either free from or accountable to the law’s penalty for that crime.
Thus the result is either vindication or condemnation. Condemnation
can refer either to the legal status of liability to punishment or to
the actual infliction of that punishment. At times the word is also
used in a broader context to refer to negative evaluations of a person
by peers or by one’s own conscience. This legal process is to some
extent the background for biblical language about judgment and
here for full article
that goes into much greater detail) (Elwell,
W. A., & Elwell, W. A. The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
. Baker Book House)
(kosmos) can mean the
world with its primary meaning being order, regular disposition and
arrangement (God's creation of the heavens and earth) but in this case
is used figuratively (and morally/ethically) to refer to the
whole of mankind who is alienated from God, unredeemed and hostile to
Him. For example, John speaking of the incarnation of Jesus said that
"He was in the world (kosmos - here refers to the earth with all its
inhabitants) and the world (kosmos - primarily refers to the creation)
was made through Him and the world (kosmos - primarily has a
moral/ethical meaning describing those hostile to Him) did not know
Him." (Jn 1:10).
In the context of the flood
"the world" included all of mankind other than those safe in
AND BECAME AN HEIR OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS ACCORDING TO FAITH:
kai tes kata pistin dikaiosunes
egeneto (3SAMI) kleronomos: (Romans 1:17; 3:22; 4:11,13; 9:30;
10:6; Galatians 5:5; Philippians 3:9; 2Peter 1:1)
(ginomai) means to come into existence. Ginomai in some
contexts means to be born and in a sense Noah and his family who were
born dead in their trespasses and sins (Ep 2:1-note,
came into existence into a new life characterized by God's
imputation (crediting to Noah's
account) of perfect righteousness (cp
Abram, Ge 15:6 who heard "the
gospel" = Gal 3:8 and
believed, the Hebrew verb
aman). In other words they
were saved by
grace (Ge 6:8KJV) through
(Ep 2:8, 9-note)
heir of righteousness -- Noah came into being as an heir. In a
sense this is the OT equivalent of the NT doctrine of being born
Moses records Jehovah's
testimony to Noah's
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter
(a command) the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have
seen to be righteous before Me in this time... Noah did according to
all that the Lord had commanded him. (Ge 7:1, 5)
Comment: Again observe the
association between faith and obedience (Command
= enter; Obedience = Noah did). However, be careful not to
distort this truth. Noah's obedience did not save him, but it did
demonstrate that his faith was genuine. Don't tell me you believe in
Jesus, because I cannot see your heart (only God can). Show me
you believe in Jesus by your obedience, then I have a "window" as it
were into your heart.
righteousness - Noah was both an heir and a proclaimer
of God's righteousness, Peter recording that God...
did not spare the ancient world,
but preserved (Greek =
phulasso [word study] - guard a person that he might remain
safe) Noah, a preacher (Greek = kerux = a herald
or messenger vested with public authority, who conveyed the official
messages of kings, magistrates, princes, military commanders) of
righteousness, with seven
others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly
Comment: Ponder the picture
in this passage! Imagine the roaring seas, spreading out over the land
as the rains came falling down. Picture men and women and children
crying out for help as the waters rose. And then ponder the essence of
the meaning of this verb phulasso. O, how great is this salvation to
which we have been called and by which Jesus rescues us from the
horrible (albeit righteous and just) wrath to come (1Th 1:10-note)
Ezekiel mentions Noah's
Even though these three men, Noah,
Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness
they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel
Comment: God is speaking to
faithless Judah who is soon to be taken in the third and final stage
of Jerusalem's sacking by Babylon. These righteous men, including one
who must have been living at the time [this would really be pouring
the proverbial "salt in the wound"!], could convey no righteous credit
to the sinful, unrepentant, faithless nation [except for a small
By way of application, righteous parents, membership in a righteous,
godly church, performance of acts such as water baptism, etc, cannot
confer righteousness which is only by grace through faith ( Ro 3:24-note,
from kleros = a lot - lots
were cast or drawn to divide property or select a winner or an heir +
nemomai = to possess, to distribute among themselves)
literally refers to one who obtains a lot or portion. It is one who
receives something as a possession or a beneficiary
(the person named as in an insurance policy to receive proceeds or
benefits). It signifies more than one who inherits and it includes the
idea of taking into possession. The New Testament usage of
kleronomos applies primarily to the realm of spiritual
Detzler records a different
origin stating that kleronomos
is a combination of two words:
kleros (a lot or inheritance) and nomos (law). Thus the
word kleronomos indicates the legal distribution of possessions
or lots to heirs...In the original Greek culture, possessions were
passed on to any person named in one's will. In fact, Greeks often
built their fortunes for the purpose of passing them on to favored
relatives. The Romans widened the concept to enable the distribution
of possessions or wealth among close friends or loyal servants.
To the Jews, however, an inheritance was usually reserved for one's
children. In fact this was preserved in the Law as the principle to be
followed. The Greek Old Testament also used kleros to refer to
casting of the lot, as was seen in the use of the Urim and Thummim
(Ex. 28:30; Lev 8:8). (Detzler,
Wayne E: New Testament Words in Today's Language. Victor. 1986)
In the Greco-Roman world the
word kleronomos was a legal term and was found on ancient
inscriptions of Asia Minor to refer to a son after he was succeeded to
the inheritance as representative of his father, undertaking all the
duties and obligations of his father.
A heir is one who receives
or is entitled to receive some endowment or quality from a parent or
Richards writes that
one who takes possession of or
inherits. The emphasis is on the heir's right to possess. (Richards,
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Vine commenting on the use
of kleronomos in
“heir,” signifies more than
one who inherits, or obtains a portion, it means (like the
corresponding Hebrew word, yaresh =
= take something from someone else and possess it for yourself) to
take into possession. The word, while being virtually a title, also
conveys the significance of dominion and authority...that property in
real estate which in ordinary course passes from father to son on the
death of the former
[word study] from
= theologically describes what is right in the sense of being
in accordance with what God requires) comes from a root word that
means “straightness” and conveys the idea of conforming to a standard
or norm. In Biblical terms righteousness is that which is
acceptable to God and in keeping with what God is in His holy
character. God is totally righteous because He is totally as He should
be. The righteousness of God is that which is all that God is, all
that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that
He provides (through Christ). In practical terms God's righteousness
conferred (imputed) to Noah works its way out in right behavior before
God and right behavior before men.
Where is God's righteousness by faith revealed?
(see Ro 1:16,17-note,
Ga 5:5 Php 3:9-note)
So what was "preached" to Noah? It had to be a form of the "gospel".
Noah's actions --"in reverence prepared" -- demonstrated that he had
taken God at His word (i.e., Noah had believed -- so "by faith" Noah
obtained salvation.) And how was Noah described by Peter? (2Pe 2:5-note)
- see preceding notes)
is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth
of anything, and in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting
man's relationship to God and divine things.
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