Counsel of Chalcedon
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The Hebrews' Hall of Faith Part 1

The author of Hebrews now arrives at the famous portion of his letter in which he vividly illustrates the active, persevering faith he has been encouraging his readers to retain. The point of the entire chapter is self-evident: true faith does not turn back from following Christ in the hour of testing; it perseveres unto the saving of the soul. The history of the Church is filled with men and women who have endured afflictions and trials for the cause of Christ, and the true character of their faith has been vindicated by their steadfastness. Our author joins examples from the previous 4,000 years in order to prove his point. From the very beginning of the world, God's Word has called for and produced faith in the lives of those whom he has graciously drawn unto himself through the gospel. Through this chapter, our author encourages these Hebrew Christians to bear up under their current trials,and to realize that their present sufferings for Christ's sake do not give them reason to leave the battlefield. Like those who have gone before, they are now called upon to endure courageously the afflictions of evil men. It is important to note that chapter 11 is not an extended discourse on the nature of justifying faith. It is an inspired account of how faith works (what faith produces) in those who are justified from their sins through Christ's righteousness and blood. As the Lutheran commentator Lenski wrote, "It is more exact to say that we have the essence of true religious faith, the heart of what the Scriptures call saving faith."