By John Bruggers
Chapter 11 has a clear starting premise that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1 ESV). This then leads into a buildup where the author goes on to flesh this idea out more by illustrating notable people in Jewish history that lived by answering God’s call to faith. There are so many examples that the writer remarks that “time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets” (11:32 ESV).
All of the historical figures mentioned “died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth” (11:13 ESV). They didn’t have the New Testament, and knowledge of how our salvation would play out, but they had faith in God’s promise. On that alone they accomplished so much.
It is with that thought lingering in the readers mind that this bomb is dropped: “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (11:40 NIV). What can we, armed with the knowledge of Christ accomplish?