Faith Of Our Fathers

When we sing this hymn, what do we mean by “faith”? It isn’t just any faith we sing about, it is the faith of our fathers in the faith, those faithful men of old who were faith-filled servants of God.

Webster’s dictionary defines faith as “belief and trust in and loyalty to God; belief in the doctrines of a religion; firm belief even in the absence of proof; complete confidence.”

This definition may be good in the secular world, but is it Bible faith? Having the right definition is critical.

Many people think of faith as trusting in the dark, blind confidence, surety without foundation; as Webster says, “firm belief even in the absence of proof.” Was this the kind of faith that supported God’s heroes, as recorded in Hebrews 11? Were these high achievers for God living by a blind trust in God? Great names like Abel, Enoch, Noah, especially Abraham, who was called the father of all who believe (Rom. 4:11)—were these people believing “in the absence of proof”? Not at all! Each one of them could “see” the reward they were working for “by faith” because their faith was in the God who had proven Him-self over and over again, and they knew they could depend on Him.

Faith in the future is founded on evidence from the past. Did you ever notice how often the Israelites retold how God had delivered them from Egypt, and brought them through the Red Sea and into the Promised Land? Over and over they recounted their history. Why? It was to give them confidence that the same God was still protecting, still leading, still guiding them, just as He had in the past. We get our faith in the same way, by reading the Word of God and learning how God worked with those before us.

The Bible tells us that faith comes by “hearing … the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). When we hear the Word of God, we learn how God fulfilled His promise in the past, and can know that He will do the

same for us. Again and again He came through with what He had said He would do, either good or bad. The heroes of faith could obey God and live “by faith” knowing He had been true in the past and would be just as surely true in the future.

God never asks us to believe in the dark. Even though we cannot see the outcome of a situation, we can trust “by faith” that if we are doing on our part He is working in our behalf and will keep His promise.

Faith is never trust without proof. It is belief founded on evidence so that we can “be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1 NIV).

What builds our faith in God and the Bible as His word?

  • (1) Bible prophecies fulfilled and confirmed by history
  • (2) Bible prophecies for our time, that we see fulfilled today
  • (3) The harmony of Bible teaching
    • Consider that 40 authors wrote over a period of 1500 years, and all teach the same God, and same faith
    • There are no contradictions, no false statements
      when fully understood
  • (4) The findings of archeologists
  • (5) Bible teaching is directly opposed to man’s thinking
    • Shows Divine – not human – authorship

In Luke 18:8, Jesus asked the question: “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” He was implying that faith will be scarce at the time of His return, and don’t we see that fulfilled today? Most people today are not interested in what God has said. This situation was foretold by the Apostle Paul, that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

We might think of faith as being like Wi-Fi, the name of a popular wireless networking technology. It is invisible but it has the power to connect you to what you need. The Bible is our Wi-Fi connection giving us the signals we need to connect with knowledge from God that, by reading, we can learn and understand (Eph. 3:4). We “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) because we have not seen God or the reality of what He has promised. But we have solid evidence that His word is Divinely inspired. His promises are true, verified both internally and externally, so that we can know what we believe.

We can be so thankful that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Once again, we can turn to the Bible, which we know to be true, and read, “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:37-38).

In closing, I would like to quote words of the Apostle Paul which are short, but powerful: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

“Faith which the ancient prophets taught,/ What joy to know thou’rt living still! /Thy glorious light again springs out /From ‘neath dark superstition’s vail. /Faith of our Fathers, holy faith! /May we be true to Thee till death.”

Maranatha!—ER

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