THESE ALL DIED IN THE FAITH, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES, BUT HAVING SEEN THEM AFAR OFF, AND WERE PERSUADED OF THEM, AND EMBRACED THEM, AND CONFESSED THAT THEY WERE STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH. HEBREWS 11:13
One can conclude that since these men and women died in the faith it is certain that they lived in it as well. A person cannot be identified with something in death that they were not associated with in life. This fact is ignored at many funerals as men try to paint a rosy picture of the departed and search out even the most obscure words, deeds, or associations of the dead in order to brand them as believers. Yet true faith is that which is not hidden; rather it is the sum and substance of the true believer’s whole existence. (Read the entire 11th chapter of Hebrews).
Much of the teaching, about faith, that goes on today centers on the aspect of believing and receiving. Faith is reduced to little more than a bargaining chip or tool to get what we want. The proud proclaimers of "name it and claim it" are on every corner and they cease not day and night to weigh GOD'S people down with a burden that neither they nor their fathers were able to bear. They tell us that the reason we aren"t healed or wealthy is because we just do not "have faith". The blessing of GOD (in their mind) is a blessing, which is enjoyed in the flesh, and those who enjoy such "blessing" possess the new status symbol of "faith". Those who are afflicted or without abundance of this worlds good are (according to them) in this condition because they are really lacking in the belief department and are more or less second class citizens in the family of GOD.
The scripture is abundantly clear that faith does not exempt GOD'S people from suffering "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise." (Heb. 11: 37-
Faith is not imagined but is very real. It is the "substance of things hoped for" (Heb. 11:1) One does not have to have those things which can be seen and touched in order to possess that which cannot be lost. Fiath itself is that substance which can be know and felt when the object of one’s faith is JESUS CHRIST. We have not seen HIM in the flesh yet we have know HIM just the same. "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see HIM not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (! Pet. 1:8) When CHRIST is not the object of faith: then faith becomes void and of no effect. Faith which is exercised without the glory of CHRIST as its goal is useless to the true believer. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of GOD, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of CHRIST greater riches than the treasures of Egypt" (Heb.11:24, 25) All of our expectations; both in this world and that to come are found in Christ alone. "I am crucified with CHRIST: nevertheless I live; yet not I but CHRIST liveth in me: and the life which I now line in the flesh I live by the faith of the SON OF GOD, who loved me and gave HIMSELF for me." (Gal. 2:20)
Paul said "I know WHOM I have believed, and am persuaded that HE is able to keep that which I have committed unto HIM against that day." (II Tim. 1:12) The object of Paul’s faith was CHRIST. His confidence to face the Day of Judgment was not in himself or anything he had done or said but simply that which the LORD had done and would do for him. Confidence in the face of trial can only come from trusting in HIM whose promise never fails. "And lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Mt. 28:20) Here is "the evidence of things not seen" (Heb.11:1)
How important is faith? "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." (Heb.11:6)
Is faith a natural trait of men? "And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." (II Thes. 3:2)
Where does faith come from? "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of GOD." (Eph. 2:8)
How is it brought to man? "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of GOD" (Rom. 10:17)
How is it demonstrated? "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto JESUS the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:1,2)