Guests: Zdravko Stefanovic and Bozana Stefanovic
Relevant Passages: Hebrews 11
According to the Apostle Paul, faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit. If it is a gift, then no human effort can make it happen. Such an understanding should temper our attitudes towards the “giants of faith” listed in Hebrews 11. While we may admire them and their faith, we must recognize that the objects of our admiration are simply gifts of God. With that in mind, consider the list of “faithful” in Hebrews 11; then address the questions thereafter:
Abraham (and Sarah)
Israel at the Red Sea
Israel at Jericho
Samuel and the prophets
- Overlooking the bad. In many of the “faithful” cases, Hebrews 11 chooses to overlook serious character flaws and lapses in behavior. How does such “idealizing” of the history of God’s people help or hinder our life of faith?
- Quality of the faithful. How does the character rating of the various stalwarts in Hebrews 11 match up with what we would consider “members in good and regular standing” today? Should we therefore be more open and charitable today or more restrictive and less charitable?
- Results of faith. When listing a final cluster of heros, many of them unnamed, Hebrews 11 reveals a remarkable paradox in the results of faith. In 11:33-35a notable miracles of deliverance are described, but in 11:35b-38 notable persecutions and deaths are described, and both lists are attributed to faith. So what can we expect from faith?