"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)
Most quote the first part and leave the rest of the scripture alone, but I had to take a second look at the verse. Why is it that the lack of faith makes it impossible to please God? What is it about faith that strikes a cord with God to the point that He says you can't please Him without it?
I never actually thought of the question before now. Even as I dealt with my own faith crisis, I didn't look into the "why". I just knew I wanted to please God so I tried to deal with my lack of faith. Today, I want to deal with the why.
Why is our faith so important to God?
The book of Hebrews is very rich with doctrinal truths. The writer is writing to the Hebrews (Israelites) about Jesus, His sacrifice, specifically working through who Jesus is and what He did for us. So, when you come to Hebrews 11 which is toward the end of the book you have to look at this faith passage through the same lens. The context in which the writer begins speaking about faith has to do with Jesus and our salvation.
If we go to the book of Romans and read chapter 10 we learn that we need to believe - have faith - in Jesus' death and resurrection in order to be justified and counted as righteous by God. In other words, it is through faith in Jesus that we receive our salvation.
If we go back to Hebrews and look at the hall of faith through that context we will see what verse 6 states and we often skip around:
"... because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists ..."
We cannot possibly please God if we don't believe that He exists to begin with.
If you don't believe there is a God, then how can you believe He can do anything for you?
So, the writer in Hebrews is simply saying, "I have told you all about Jesus and how His sacrifice applies to you, but if you don't believe then it is impossible to please God."
That's it. Believe Jesus. Please God.
The very crux, the very foundation of our belief system rests on faith. Faith that God exists - we must belive in the totality of God's existence, which comes in the persons of God the Father, God the Son, who is Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit. You cannot believe in God the Father without God the Son, Jesus. And conversely you cannot believe in God the Son, Jesus and not believe in God, the Holy Spirit. They are one, a whole one. And your whole faith must reside in that whole existence.
When I was going through my faith crisis I was sooo concerned that my wavering faith was not pleasing God it almost literally made me sick. I was so caught up in what I thought I needed to do to please God I missed this simple truth. I have already and I continue to please God because I believe in Him - in His existence - His whole existence.
This is why having the faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. You already believe in His existence? Well then, you can move mountains with that kind of faith because you believe in the One who can move them for you!
I learned in my faith crisis that God will still use me even when I sometimes doubt in my circumstances. I now fully understand that the reason He can use me, even when I doubt, is because I haven't lost my faith in Him. I still believe in who He is, I just need to have more faith that He will move mountains for me, which is the last part of verse 6, "... and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."
If I continue to seek Him, understand Him, love Him, spend time with Him - especially when circumstances are difficult, He will reward me. If you continue to seek Him, read His word, pray, encourage others, carry out His will - even when times are rough, He will reward you - He will move mountains for you.
Because through your faith in His existence you have pleased Him and He wants to reward you for continuing to seek, believe in Him.
So, join me in never fretting again in not pleasing God. If you already have faith in Him, in His (whole) existence, you have already pleased Him. No momentary doubting in how your circumstance will turn out, will change that God is already pleased with you.
And that my friends is good news indeed!
Just Around the Corner,