Photo by Brad Pearson

Ancient Faith: Abel, Enoch, Noah – Hebrews 11:4-7

Apr 05, 2022 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: Hebrews: Greater Than Scripture: Heb. 11: 4-7

For by [faith] the people of old received their commendation (Hebrews 11:2).

In the highly celebrated chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews, our author furnishes his readers with examples of men and women from antiquity who lived by faith and were commended for doing so. We learned in the chapter’s opening verse that faith is the conviction of the reality of that which is unseen, so that those who live by faith might build their lives upon these unseen realities. Many men and women have made this journey of faith before us; we are not alone but are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who go all the way back to the creation of the world, whom we may emulate.

When we examine both the nature and object of faith in the Old Testament, we find that neither have changed very much. Of course, for contemporary believers who live after the death and resurrection of Christ, we look back at the real historical events of the Gospel. Two thousand years ago a real man by the name of Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah, the Christ, was crucified and buried; and on the third day He rose from the dead. These are verifiable historical events that we can look back to, events that our Old Testament predecessors had no specific knowledge of. Yet their faith was not different from ours. That which we look back to, they looked ahead to.

If we go all the way back to the very first believers who walked by faith – Abel, Enoch, and Noah – we can see quite clearly that they believed the very same things that we do today. Abel, who was the very first of God’s elect born on earth, was commended because by faith he offered an acceptable sacrifice (v.4). We know little of the life of Enoch other than that he too was commended for walking by faith, resulting in his resurrection (v 5). Noah believed God concerning the wrath to come, and by faith, in obedience to God’s command, he constructed an ark to save his household (v. 7). Our faith today is not very different from the prototypical ancient faith exemplified in these three men. They believed in a sacrificial atonement, a future resurrection, and the reality of the wrath to come – key elements of our contemporary walk of faith. Whether they are events that happened, like the crucifixion, or events that are yet future, as the pouring out of God’s wrath, we know these things to be true, by faith. And it is this same kind of faith, first displayed in these individuals, that both pleased God and justified them and us.