Twice in Chapter 11 of Hebrews it is said that by their faith they received a good report. The elders received a good report (v. 2). Then, toward the end, it says they all received a good report (v. 39). What is a good report? You know in the next chapter, Chapter 12, we are children at school, children of a family. Father is dealing with us as with sons, and it is all part of this whole argument: My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord and so on. It is all for this good report. I do not believe that it is true in the case of those referred to in Chapter 11 that the good report related to what they achieved, what clever people they were, what they were able to do in their lifetime. That was not the good report. What is the report for? No, it was not because they achieved so many wonderful things. The good report was this: they trusted in the Lord and did their utmost through faith.
They did not say, ‘Oh, well, this will never be realized in our lifetime; we shall never be able to see this done; it is no use! It needs better people than we are!’ No, they faced the whole thing, and saw that, in the main, the thing was humanly impossible. Only God could do it. But that did not make them sit back and say, ‘Oh, I can never be in this, and never have a part in this: I can never be of any use in this!’ No, they believed God, they trusted the Lord, and then they put themselves right into it with all their hearts and lived in a positive trust in God. They did all that faith could lead them and make them to do. Faith is always an active thing. The good report was that they trusted the Lord and got down to it, gave themselves to it, however difficult things were.
Faith is going to determine which of two things is going to characterize us. This is the real point. It is either going to be that we are living under a terrible paralysis, as altogether petrified through confusion, perplexity, inability to understand, being unable to disentangle, to sort things out, to see straight and see clearly, to know what is meant by happenings. That means utter paralysis, simply standing with our hands on our hips, helpless and hopeless. That is the effect of the absence of a positive faith. The only way of life and deliverance from such a paralysis is a deliberate faith in God which causes us to take the attitude that we are going on with God, understanding or not understanding, explaining or not explaining, having light or having no light; we are going right on with God on the basis of what God has done in us, made real in us, of what God Himself is to us by what He has effected in us. We are going on!
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