Read & Study the Bible Online - Bible Portal

Hebrews 11:6 - Homilies By W. Jones

The impossibility of pleasing God without faith.

"But without faith it is impossible to please him," etc. The fact that Enoch walked by faith, and that his life was well pleasing to God, suggested to the writer this general axiom on the indispensableness of faith in order to secure the Divine complacency. Two principal observations will bring before us the chief teaching of our text.

I. THE APPROACH OF THE SOUL TO GOD IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR PLEASING HIM . "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God," etc. Having asserted that apart from faith man cannot please God, the writer proceeds to show this by affirming that he who comes to God must believe certain truths concerning him, thus clearly implying that we cannot please God without coming to him.

1. Coming to God implies distance from him. The unrenewed soul is far from God by sin. Sin against him generates suspicions concerning him, dread of him, and so banishes the soul far away from him. Like the prodigal son, the sinner wanders away from the gracious Father "into a far country." The expression, "them that seek him," also suggests that the seekers have not the consciousness of his presence and favor; they do not always realize his nearness unto them, or they would not need to seek after him.

2. Coming to God is the approach of the soul unto him. As the implied distance from him is not local but moral, so the coming to him is not physical but spiritual. It is the soul drawing near to him in thought and desire, in affection and devotion. The penitent thus comes to him with confession and prayer for pardon. The poor and needy, with petitions for succor and supply. The thankful, with warm tributes of gratitude and praise. The pious, with lowly loving adoration.

3. This approach of the soul to God is gratifying unto him. That his creatures, created in his image and for fellowship with himself, should stand aloof from him in distrust, or suspicion, or indifference, or by reason of absorption in other things, is painful to him. His fatherly heart yearns for the confidence and love of his children. He welcomes the first approach of the penitent sinner to him, even as the father of the returning prodigal saw him "while he was yet afar off, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." He is pleased when his children regard him with assured confidence and warm affection, and come to hint in their necessities and satisfactions, their sorrows and joys, etc.

II. THE EXERCISE OF FAITH IN GOD IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR APPROACH TO HIM . "For he that cometh to God must believe that he is," etc. Ebrard says wisely concerning this faith, "Precisely the faith that there is a God, and One who will reward those who seek after him, found place in Enoch, and could find place in him. Far front intending to ascribe to Enoch the New Testament faith, the author defines the faith here in its general form as it applied to the time of Enoch." The faith which is essential to the approach of the soul to him is:

1. Faith is, his Being. "Must believe that he is." And we have the amplest anti firmest ground upon which to base this article of our faith. The Bible says "that he is;" the universe witnesses to the same great truth; and human consciousness confirms the testimony.

2. Faith in his entreatableness. "That he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him." This implies faith in his accessibility; the belief that we may approach unto him; that our prayers will reach his ear. He hears the sigh of sorrow, the moan of misery, and the whispered aspiration of the pious heart. He is perfectly acquainted with the godly "soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed." He not only hears prayer, but he also answers it. The teaching of the sacred Scriptures on this point is both full and explicit ( Psalms 37:4 ; Psalms 1:1-6 . 15; Matthew 7:7-11 ; Matthew 18:19 ; Matthew 21:22 ; John 15:7 ; John 16:23 , John 16:24 ; James 1:5 , James 1:6 ; James 5:16-18 ; 1 John 5:14 , 1 John 5:15 ). The testimony of the godly is no less clear and decisive. "He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him." This means more than that the exercise of prayer to God in itself exalts and enriches, calms and cleanses the praying soul. The reflex benefits of prayer are undoubtedly very great and precious, but their existence depends upon the belief that God hears and answers prayer. Prayer would lose its reality and become a mere pretence, offensive to all honest souls, if we had not faith in God as "a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him." But the seeker must be diligent; he must be earnest. "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." The prayer must be fervent and persevering, or it may fail of its reward. "When prayer mounts upon the wing of fervor to God, then answers come down like lightning from God."

Thus we see that "without faith it is impossible to please God." Our subject shows:

1. The necessity of cultivating and exercising faith in God.

2. The advantages of believing prayer to God.—W.J.

Be the first to react on this!

Scroll to Top

Group of Brands