These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. – Hebrews 11:13 

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. – 1 John 5:13

faith assuranceAnother common theme running throughout these people’s lives in Hebrews 11:4-16 is that they did not just have faith, but they had assurance. True faith does not leave us doubting or fearing or worrying. True faith, truly taking God at His Word, leads to assurance and confidence.

So as we believe, we obey. We trust God for the impossible. And we are assured that He will do what He has promised. Think about it. How often do we claim to be walking by faith, but we are reluctant, and fearful, and full of worry or doubt? As Jesus responded often to His disciples, we are people of “little faith.” Our faith is weak and insufficient.

Why is that? Because we are prone to trust what we see. We walk by sight instead of by faith. Peter is the perfect example. He trusted the reality of the howling winds and crashing waves around him instead of trusting the reality that Jesus had called him to walk on the water.

When we take our eyes off Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2) we lose heart, we lose faith, we lose hope, and we sink into the sea of doubt and fear. If, on the other hand, we walk by faith, we know that faith in God is never a blind leap in the dark. We have His Word to assure us – and His Word in fact is the very tool He uses to give us more faith (Romans 10:17).

We learned from Hebrews 11:1 that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In other words, faith, this deep abiding trust in Christ, gives substance to a reality for which we hope. We believe that the Word of God is true and that God meant what He said, and we take Him at His Word, having His Word give actual substance to our hopes. Faith makes our hope a tangible reality.

We also have learned that faith affects behavior, or as we put it, faith works, it comes out in the way we think, speak, and live. Faith opens the door to understanding and to wisdom. Faith has as its object the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Faith is the instrument in our justification, and faith is necessary for successful Christian living on a daily basis.

Beyond that now, the end result of having faith in Jesus Christ is that we have assurance of our salvation. Because we take Christ at His Word, because true active saving faith works its way out in the way we live, because faith opens our understanding and is a condition of our justification and the forgiveness of our sins, because of all this faith ultimately ushers in assurance.

Have you ever doubted that you were saved? Have you ever wondered why you sin so much? Have you ever thought about why it seems God is close at times and far off at others? Have you wavered in your trust? The answer for all of this is assurance. So let’s define assurance and then see how it is that faith gives us assurance.

(tomorrow: Faith and Assurance: Assurance Defined)