1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
of things hoped for,
Genuine faith sees the reality of the objects believed as already present (He 11:6). There is a difference between faith and hope. Faith makes us sure of eternal things, whereas hope shows confidence in what we believe. All hope presupposes faith (Ro 8:25). Faith in God’s Word gives substance to our hope.
Biblical hope is not a subjective but objective hope. Faith in God’s Word gives the believer objective hope because it rests on the objective promises. Faith in God’s Word is the objective ground for subjective confidence.
The phrase “things hoped for” includes everything in God’s promises (He 10:36–39). This also comprises promises we have not yet received (Ro 8:24). Our bodies are not yet redeemed, although our souls are. We have a title-deed that our bodies will be redeemed. Faith reaches out and grabs this promise as true.
the evidence [proof, persuasion]
The word “evidence” means to prove or convince. Faith in God’s promises proves things that are outside of the material, physical universe. It is proof whereby we test something. This faith enables the Christian to claim the promises of the future supported by God’s Word.
“Evidence” is proof. Proof put to the test is a conviction. Noah tested his faith by building the ark. Our hope is made genuine by faith. The manifestation of assurance is a person with conviction. This believer lives out what he or she believes. A person with conviction puts God’s promises into his or her experience. It puts them to the proof.
of things not seen.
“Things not seen” are both the future of the believer and truth that God gives presently. This person shows by his decisions, commitments, and choices that he believes what God says is true.
Faith can anticipate the future; it does not restrict its view of reality to present experience or empirical evidence. There is far more to reality than what we personally experience. There is a greater and apex future ahead for the Christian.
Faith gives reality to the things for which Christians hope.
Faith has a demonstrating function. It makes invisible things visible, intangible things extant. It accepts what God says as true then acts on that word. Faith is active conviction that moves a Christian to put what he believes into action.
Faith is not blind belief but intelligent persuasion that God’s Word is true. Faith is no mere sentiment or speculation; it always shows itself to be something, to do something. Neither is biblical faith positive thinking but trusting God and His Word as the object. We believe God by trusting His Word and promises. Faith is not a leap into the dark with the hope of finding truth. Faith is “substance” or evidence of what is true.
True faith does not tell God what we want and expect Him to fulfill it. That would make God our puppet. That kind of faith is presumption and is found nowhere in Scripture. Many Christians become disillusioned with the idea that God did not give them a promise of their own making, whereas He never made such a promise. Biblical faith takes God at His word and does not think that He must meet our demands.
Faith looks both backward and forward. It looks back to what God has said in His Word, and it trusts the future He has promised. Biblical faith is only as good as its object. The object of our faith is what God has said. Faith is no illogical leap into the dark or a feeling that something is right or wrong. Biblical faith has structure or content. The foundation of a building gives it stability. We find Christian stability in the promises of God. Faith, then, is not a leap in the dark about something obscure; it rests its case on God, who keeps His word. Active faith is assurance in the present about the future. It is not a wish; it is trust in God’s promises. It acts on realms that go beyond the finite or the human capacity to operate.
Faith is an act of commitment by the believer, whereas hope is his state of mind. Faith is the platform for hope; otherwise, we would have no hope. Faith is being sure of our hope by having confidence in God’s Word. Faith carries primacy in Christian living. Taking God at His word gives the believer assurance in time and for eternity.
The non-Christian does not have faith as a means of perception, because he is spiritually dead. All men have faith, but it is the nature of faith that makes the difference.
Christians have both assurance and certainty or inner conviction that something is real. Conviction equates to faith when certainty is involved. Genuine faith is the assurance that our sins have been forgiven by the death of Christ, that I have an eternal standing before God that can never change. Faith allows the believer to treat the future as present.
Hope is no wish or fantasy. It is settled assurance that comes from confidence in what God has said or promised.