We must embody that trust in God that leads us to develop and apply the meaning of His Kingdom, salvation, and justice to all of life.
In Scripture, faith is referred to as a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9), but we can deprive ourselves of learning so much more about this gracious gift when we are mired in the longstanding debate of grace, faith, and works.
Because faith is given to us by God, it serves as a complete reorientation of our lives within history. This is why the writer of Hebrews devotes an extended break down of godly faith exemplified by the Old Testament saints who lived in terms of it. The writer says of these saints,
Of whom the world was not worthy. (Heb. 11:38)
In other words, these saints were distinct from fallen humanity because they had been reoriented towards God which meant the direction of their lives was turned towards the heavens much like a satellite dish is pointed to the source for reception. And is this not what God is looking for?
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (2 Chron. 16:9)
And when one’s heart and faith are reoriented towards the Lord, it transforms their fundamental belief about where strength and power come from. If they believe power comes from the Lord—and not from man—then they live and pray in a way that demonstrates it.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. (Eph. 3:14-16)
Although poetic, the apostle is revealing his worldview since being reoriented towards God after his encounter on the road to Damascus. The apostle Paul is bowing his knee, and by faith, almost pulling down the “riches of His glory” to strengthen the inner man of the New Testament church.
The prophet Enoch is our first example of a man whose radical reorientation towards God resulted in him being lifted out of history and into glory:
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11:5-6)
As we read above, “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chron. 16:9), and He is looking for “Enochs” and “Pauls” whose hearts are reoriented towards Him in faith which means they “please Him.”
But faith is given to us by God, and it is that deposit in us which reorients our life towards Him. The end result is that we both seek and serve Him, as Rushdoony notes:
Faith replaces man as his own center and focus to make God the center. It is a draft notice to man that he has been summoned into the service of his Maker and Redeemer, and he has no option but to serve.
This is not simply a spiritual experience such as the “burning heart” pushed by the Mormons, nor is it an isolated charismatic event. Faith is now a central part of who we are, but we must still cooperate with it. It does not control us.
Thus faith is not an alien power controlling us, but the essential part of our new nature in the Lord.
Entering the World of Reality
Not only is our heart and mind reoriented towards God but so also is our action. As Rushdoony noted, we are “drafted” into God’s service and that faith will demand of us action in history. Our whole concept of the future, and our responsibility in terms of it, now shapes our everydays just as it did the lives of the Old Testament saints.
Faith is the gift of God’s grace, and it gives to all who receive it a forward look; time and eternity are now seen as a dimension of our lives and our duty.
As the writer of Hebrews says, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:40), we can conclude that we are included, and the Old Testament saints are not excluded from this reoriented life. We all exist within history carrying this gift of faith and working in terms of it.
The examples of faith given to us in Scripture are so that we can imitate them—follow the footsteps (c.f., Rom. 4:12)—but the emphasis is still not upon ourselves or even the saints of old. We are all conscripted into God’s service, and our duty is to be faithful in our generation. The examples of faith show how God has worked out His eternal decree through reoriented saints functioning by the gift of faith.
As Hebrews 11 continues, we are told how this gift of faith empowered men and women to do remarkable things. The purpose is not to tell us how much men can do but how much God has accomplished in a hostile world through persons moved by faith.
Although the Kingdom of God has grown considerably since the first century, we must still advance it even more in the face of the hostile world of our own times. Faith gives us comfort because we know in whom we have believed (2 Tim. 1:12), and we know that even the greatest resistance to God’s purposes can be thwarted easily by our mountain-moving faith (Mark 11:23).
With this supernatural faith, we enter into the world of reality. The words substance (upostasis) and evidence (elegmos) make this clear. Faith has enabled us to go beyond the blindness and foolishness of unbelief and to begin to see reality. Man’s faith can accomplish little, but God’s supernatural gift of faith can enable man to remove mountains of difficulties (Mark 11:23).
 R. J. Rushdoony, Hebrews, James & Jude (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2001), p. 120.
 ibid., p. 121.
 Ibid., p. 107.
 ibid., p. 103.
 ibid., p. 105.
 ibid., p. 103.
- Chalcedon Editorial