“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.” –Hebrews 11:6
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:32-40
“Above all” in the context of Ephesians 6:16, is “not above all in point of importance of value, but ‘over-all,’ as a soldier holds his shield to defend himself. It constitutes a protection over every part of his body, as it can be turned in every direction. The idea is, that as the shield covered or protected the other parts of the armor, so faith had a similar importance in the Christian virtues…the shield was an ingenious device by which blows and arrows might be parried off, and the whole body defended… As long as the soldier had his shield, he felt secure; and as long as a Christian has faith, he is safe. It comes to his aid in every attack that is made on him, no matter from what quarter; it is the defense and guardian of every other Christian grace; and it secures the protection which the Christian needs in the whole of the spiritual war… By the ‘fiery darts of the wicked,’ Paul here refers, probably, to the temptations of the great adversary, which are like fiery darts; or those furious suggestions of evil, and excitements to sin, which he may throw into the mind like fiery darts. They are blasphemous and torment the soul. In regard to them, we may observe, 1) that they come suddenly,… 2) they come from unexpected quarters,…3) they pierce, and penetrate, and torment the soul,… 4) they set the soul on fire, and enkindle the worst passions,… The only way to meet them is by the ‘shield of faith;’ by confidence in God, and by relying on his gracious promises and aid. It is not by our own strength; and, if we have not faith in God, we are wholly defenseless. We should have a shield that we can turn in any direction, on which we may receive the arrow, and by which it may be put out” (Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 1014).
- What is the most common definition of faith? Hebrews 11:1; II Corinthians 4:18; II Corinthians 5:7.
- What two other words are closely associated with faith? Mark 9:23; Proverbs 3:5.
- What faith is necessary to be saved? Hebrews 11:6; John 3:14-18; Acts 16:31; Acts 26:15-18.
- What process takes care of past sins? Romans 3:20-26; Ephesians 2:8.
- With our past taken care of and the results accepted by faith, what is important for us to remember? John 15:3-5.
- What is the next important step? Ephesians 3:17-19; Colossians 1:19-23; James 2:17-20, 24, 26.
- From whom should we be able to learn and what should it do for us? Hebrews 12:1-2. Note: The “cloud of witnesses” are those mentioned in chapter 11, they were a testament to the truth of the Faith.
- What promises concerning faith are available to encourage us? Ephesians 3:20-21; I Peter 1:3-5; I Corinthians 2:9-10.
- How then is our “shield of faith” put to the test? I Peter 1:7-9; I Corinthians 10:11-13. What should this do for us? II Thessalonians 1:3-4; II Peter 3:17-18.
- What is our victory over the world? I John 5:4-6.
By faith Peter stepped from the boat and walked on the sea to Jesus. We can see that his fear of the storm distracted him and made him sink, and we can be thankful for the loving Master who reached down and caught Peter just in time. But, more than anything else, let’s remember that for those few steps that Peter took on top of the water, his faith in God’s ability allowed him to operate supernaturally. By faith, he stepped from the boat—that was the first challenge! The Master had called him but he got himself overboard. It’s much easier to believe in what God can do from the safety of our little comfort zones. But putting faith on the line where there is no safety net and no way out is where real faith begins. Are you walking in faith?