6 - Faith Responds
What made animal sacrifice work? It derived its power from the faith of the believers. The animal had to be killed — one couldn't just believe in animal sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22). Likewise, sacrificing without understanding why, would have been useless. Sacrifice derived no power from superstition, tradition, or ignorant obedience. Hebrews 11:6 defines genuine faith as having two elements — belief and action: “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Obedience from the heart is required.
Look at some of the OT examples of faith given in Hebrews 11:
- “by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice.” (vs.4)
- “by faith Noah...moved with fear, prepared an ark.” (vs. 7)
- “by faith Abraham...obeyed...and went out...” (vs. 8)
- “by faith Abraham...offered up Isaac...” (vs. 17)
We see clearly that the kind of faith required by God is belief-based action. Saving faith has always required belief-based action. James even asks rhetorically, “Can such faith [without action] save a man?” (James 2:14). (See also James 2:14-26; Deuteronomy 8:2, 13:3; and 2 Kings 5:1-14)