The great chapter on faith in the Bible is Hebrews 11.
I have always found the first verse difficult to understand. So I resorted to the most highly rated commentary on “Hebrews”, that by William L. Lane.
Now there are those who despise scholarship, saying “I’m not a theologian.”
But truth be told, we are ALL theologians. We all have our own deeply held opinions and beliefs about God, subconscious or otherwise.
There is only one question we should ask ourselves. Are we BIBLICAL theologians?
Now I would be the first to admit that 90% of what I know has come through revelation from the Holy Spirit. And after all, Jesus did tell us that the Holy Spirit would be our teacher and guide us into all the truth.
But I also know that the best commentaries can shed light on difficult passages.
The key insight here from Lane is that ὑπόστασις (hypostasis), so often translated “assurance”, should actually be translated as “objective reality”.
So he translates the entire verse as: “Now faith celebrates the objective reality (of the blessings) for which we hope, the demonstration/proof of events as yet unseen.”
The contrast between the seen and the unseen in Hebrews 11 is constant.
So what would enable us to celebrate what is unseen as if it were already seen?
For me I should be able to do that if I know that God has made me a personal promise and has then confirmed it.
That is illustrated by Romans 10:17; “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the (living) word of Christ.”
Then there are general promises such as Romans 8:28. Every Christian in the power of the Spirit can choose to believe that God will work for good whatever they are experiencing and thus celebrate that good as if it were already happening.
And 1 John 5:14-15….
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 John 5:14-15 NASB)
If I have prayed anything that is in the will of God, in faith I can thank Him for the answer in advance!