Faith in Deliverance or Death


Since my son’s accident back in late March, I have been burdened to challenge believers about the real nature of faith and its relationship to the hard realities of life in a sin-cursed world. I say burdened because my chief concern centers on the place where the pastoral and theological intersect. I fear that much of contemporary Christianity embraces a soft prosperity theology that treats Jesus like the key to the American dream.

I think Hebrews 11:32-40 is a biblical antidote to this false teaching. I’ve been preaching a message on that text all over the place since Derek’s accident, but finally did so this past Sunday in our morning worship here at IC. I won’t re-preach it now, but here are four truths that lay a firm foundation upon which to stand when trouble comes:

1. Faith enables spiritual victories both great and small, vv. 32-35a.
2. Faith, though, does not always guarantee miraculous and divine deliverance, vv. 35b-38.
3. The different outcomes are not due to a lack of faith or some kind of failure to please God, vv. 33, 39.
4. Differing temporal outcomes in spite of faith is because the core of faith is not focused on temporal deliverance, but on God and His promise of redemption, vv. 39-40.

These are just the main points, so if you’d like a more full explanation of them, you can listen to the whole thing on SermonAudio. The Bible is clear that the path of following Jesus Christ is anything but bump-free. Genuine faith isn’t looking for streets of gold right now. It trusts God enough to follow Him whether the path in this life passes through deliverance or death. The kind of faith that only follows Christ as long as life is good isn’t biblical faith. Real faith is a persevering attachment to Jesus Christ that doesn’t turn from Him, but clings more tightly to Him in trouble.

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