Our Realities . . .

I just picked up a new used book! Over the years, I have collected several Bibles comprising at least 60 different translations and paraphrases. That is one of my particular bents. lol. Well, my new Bible is the New English Bible, originally initiated by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Well, I was reading the letter to the Hebrew church and was intrigued when I read the first verse of chapter eleven. Now, I have read several versions of this. For instance:

Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1 NOG)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1 NET)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses] (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)

But the New English Bible renders that as:

Faith . . . makes us certain of realities we don’t see (Hebrews 11:1 NEB).

I like that! But tell me, what realities can we be certain of? Well, we can be certain of taxes, there’s not much we can do about those. We can be certain of death, at least until the rapture takes place (but even with that, we can’t be certain when that will happen). We can be certain that without eating the proper foods and exercise, we will gain weight. We can be certain that if we drop a water balloon from our bedroom window, we can hit our brother as he walks by below.

But what about our prayers. We often presume that the thing we ask for should be the object of faith — “Lord, give me ‘this‘ or ‘that‘,” where “this” and “that” becomes the realities. But this is not what the Scriptures say. They teach that the absolutes we can be certain of are the character of God: His absolute love for us, His desire that we become conformed to his Son’s likeness, His sovereign control of the universe. When our faith latches on to those realities which we do not see with our eyes, it can never be confused, surprised or disappointed. If our faith makes the thing asked for its object, our faith itself will dissolve if the Lord’s answer is no, or not yet, or wait. Think about that.

In you, Lord, I have put my trust;
    let me never be put to confusion” (Psalm 71:1)

Nickolas
Doulos Studies

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