Faith, for the Hebrew, is not memorizing a set of facts to pass a theological assessment administered by a pastor before baptism. Faith always manifests itself with action, which is why James emphasized the point in his Epistle: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have
The first occurrence of the word faith in the Old Testament is found in Exodus 17:11–13: “While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other so that his hands remained steady (
Further evidence is seen in Hebrews 11 where belief is accompanied with action. This chapter is called the “Hall of Faith” which signifies “faithfulness.” Each man is remembered for what he did, not what he knew intellectually. Faith, in a Hellenistic, Western culture, is normally thought of as agreeing to creeds and catechisms. I do not mean to imply that orthodoxy is not important. It is. But let’s not favor orthodoxy, what we believe, to the extent that we neglect orthopraxy, how we act. When the religious leaders inquired about who their neighbor was, Jesus didn’t distribute a how-to manual for categorizing good and bad neighbors. He shared a story about what a neighbor “does.” He stops for an injured man, tends to his wounds, and he cares for his needs.
The reason God brought Israel out of Egypt was so that they would worship Him and Him alone. In establishing this relationship with them, He not only wanted them to worship Him; He wanted to dwell with them. We see this from the fact that thirteen entire chapters are spent on how to construct the tabernacle (compared to the two on how he created the world).
God is a God who desires to break into civilization. He came down to be with Adam, He came down on Sinai. He came down in His Son Jesus. And He will come down at the end of days. We’re trying to leave the world; God’s entering in. It’s why Exodus begins with a departure and ends with a tabernacle.
What if you could experience heaven on earth today? Not flying angels singing on clouds, but the fulfilled, abundant life Jesus promised in the Bible—a life that, regardless of your circumstances or your present context, experiences joy, happiness, and peace that is difficult to encapsulate in human terms. What if heaven was available to us today? Pastor and author Robby Gallaty thinks it is.
We have been taught that salvation is getting