Who is your hero? It may be a parent, a grandparent, a schoolteacher or early influence in your life, maybe a gospel preacher or some public figure. Who has lived their life in such a way that you find yourself wanting to be more and more like them?
In Hebrews 11, the inspired writer sets forth in gallery fashion a listing of some of the Old Testament individuals who have demonstrated amazing faith. From Abel to Rahab the harlot, these individuals saw something remarkable in the God of heaven – something in which they chose to believe. And in response to that godly trust, all of them, without exception, did something which showed great faith. Here in this “Hall of Faith” chapter they are preserved and displayed for our edification and our imitation.
Over the next several weeks we will be looking at these heroes of faith. We will see through their actions what faith really is, and how to put it into practice in our own lives. By their actions, these heroes show us the way, and we will let their lives speak to us from the pages of God’s word.
Nearly all religious people admit the importance of faith. Even if it at times is merely lipservice, they readily grant that faith is necessary in order to be saved. In fact, most of the major denominations claim that salvation is by “faith only, “a phrase which appears only once in the Bible: Ye see that by work a man is justified, and not by faith only, (Jas. 2:24). James makes it clear that faith apart from works is dead, (James 2:26). Saving faith includes works, yea it produces and goes together with works. A person who is faithful is a person who is working for the Lord.
If you have never done it, I recommend that you take your Bible and underline the name of each of these heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Then, underline what each of them did to demonstrate their faith. It is interesting how their actions of faith are specifically listed together with their names. This shows how God views faith and works as coupled together, jointly cooperating to bring about salvation.
Our nation is in sore need of heroes. Many of our founding fathers are under attack, and the character of those we admire is often called into question. Some of the greatest leaders, preachers, teachers, and cultural icons of our age have fallen into scandal or disrepute. We need again to go back and be reminded of some of the true heroes of history. What makes a person great in the side of God? How can we imitate their faithfulness and make our lives truly sublime? How can we make an impact on this old world — an impact which will be helpful to those who follow? Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. Footprints that perhaps another, sailing o’er life’s solemn main, a forlorn and shipwrecked brother, seeing shall take heart again.
As we work through this series together, think about the Bible heroes who mean the most to you. Think about what they did which really impresses you, and which makes them heroic. And consider how in your life you can imitate their faith, and become a hero to someone else.
Who is your hero? What is it about their life which fascinates and inspires you, so that you find yourself wanting to be more like them? In the “gallery of the faithful” we are going to find many marvelous heroes. Though they are dead, their lives are still speaking, still influencing countless others, and setting a worthy example for each of us to follow.
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.