There are two indispensable characteristics necessary for our Christian life.
Before we examine what they are, the writer of Hebrews states, “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:9-11).
Imagine the better things that accompany our salvation. What could be greater than freedom from sin and eternal life? The answer is having the favor and blessings of God upon your life now and for generations to come. God swore by His own name to bless and multiply Abraham, and in the context of this passage, we learn that God extends those promises unto us. It’s essential for every one of us to remain diligent to the very end. The challenge is not to become “sluggish” in our spiritual life (Hebrews 6:12).
Sluggish (nothros) means to become lazy and slothful. It’s the same word used in Hebrews 5:11 that speaks about being “dull of hearing.” Believers can actually forfeit their own blessings and fail to inherit what belongs to them by being spiritually lazy and slothful, and growing insensitive to the Word of God. This is why the writer underscored two characteristics that we’re to imitate; two spiritual qualities that all blessed saints in the past possessed. What are these two qualities? They are faith and patience.
Faith and patience were prevalent in every enduring saint in the Bible. Consider Hebrews chapter 11 because it is filled with people who, through faith and patience, were blessed immeasurably by God in spite of what they walked through. Take your pick: By faith Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab to name a few. Did it take faith and patience for Noah to do what he did? You know the answer to that question. He launched into a project out of obedience to God that brought salvation to his entire household and generations to come. Noah became an heir of righteousness because of faith and patience.
What about Joseph? For over 13 years, he treasured a dream that God had given to him and he persevered because of faith and patience. He journeyed from the pit, to Potiphar, to prison, and eventually to the palace. He never lost his integrity or his hope in what was promised. Faith and patience in Joseph set up an exodus that rescued over two and half million people after his death. Then there’s Moses, who persevered because he was able to see the unseen (Hebrews 11:27). Faith and patience gave him spiritual eyesight to see what others around him were not able to see.
What is faith? “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Assurance means the substance or the foundation upon which someone stands upon. In others words, to say that we have faith actually means that we’re standing on something solid; we’re standing on the foundation of faith. Conviction carries the idea of something that is seen or proven before it’s a reality. It means that one can see something before it’s seen. Faith is the eyes to see what others around you may never see. Faith looks beyond the immediate to see the ultimate. With faith, we look not at what is seen but what is unseen and that is why we don’t lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Faith becomes the platform that we stand upon and declare what is yet to come, and nothing or no one will persuade us otherwise. This is why we are to run our spiritual race with endurance and never take our eyes off Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). He is the ultimate victor who, through faith and patience, endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I know people who are standing on the foundation of faith and they can see their prodigals coming to Christ. They are looking beyond the circumstances that surround their prodigals because they’ve been captured by another image; they see their prodigals walking in the freedom and power of Christ. They won’t give up or give in because they have faith and patience. I know people who are standing on the foundation of faith and they can see their marriage turning around. Despite the fact that circumstances look bleak at the moment, they won’t stop pressing in for transformation because they have faith and patience. I know people who are standing on the foundation of faith and they can see a specific healing taking place in their body. The doctor has reported one thing, but they still believe God’s Word concerning the matter and they won’t stop praying because they have faith and patience.
Faith is the ability to see something while patience is the ability to wait and seize it. Faith is saying “yes” to the greater things and patience is saying “no” to things less than best. Faith is the assurance and patience is the endurance. Faith is entering the race and patience is finishing the race. The truth is that faith and patience are indispensable in our Christian walk if we ever hope to see greater things. There are so many promises in God’s Word that accompany our salvation; untold blessings, answers to prayers, miracles, breakthroughs, salvations, revival, and citywide transformation. Those things come to people who aren’t sluggish in their spiritual life, but through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Do you have faith and patience?
Jesus, I know there is more. So give me faith and patience to endure to the end and to inherit the promises, amen.