World English Bible translation
11:7By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 11:8 By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went.
The Epistle to the Hebrews continues the "Role Call of Faith" that has begun with Abel. If this preacher is to call his audience of Hebrew Christians to faith in the promises of God he wants them to be clear in regard to the kind of faith that God desires. The man that comes to God must believe that God exists and that He rewards those that seek Him. Such a man was Abel who offered up the fat of the best of his flocks in a sacrifice to the Lord. This sacrifice, offered in faith, was acceptable to God and through that sacrifice God declared Abel to be righteous.
Now we are told of two other men that offered up sacrifices to God in the manner of Abel. Like Abel, their sacrifices were first and foremost the sacrifices of faithful men that believed in the words of God that were spoken to them. Like Abel, they suffered for their belief. Like Abel, God rewarded them for having endured in suffering and yet retaining their faith.
Noah was a faithful man who heard the word of God. God spoke to Noah and told him that the world would be destroyed in a deluge. Noah prepared the ark to the specifications that God had given him and by his faithfulness Noah "condemned the world and became the heir of the righteousness that is according to faith."
Why did the faithfulness of Noah condemn the world? When Noah believed the warnings of God even though he had not yet seen the things that he was warned about, Noah showed what acting by faith means. He condemned the world because he showed that it was possible for all men to respond by faith in their Creator. The righteousness of one man condemns the sin in all mankind. If one man can be faithful, then the whole world can be faithful as well.
Noah became heir to the righteousness that is by faith. Years later there was another descendent of Noah that became an heir to the righteousness that comes by faith and his name was Abraham. Abraham received the call of God while he was a pagan living in a pagan world. God called him to come out of the land of Ur of the Chaldeans and to enter the land of Canaan that God promised to his descendants as an inheritance.
There were two problems that Abraham faced in believing the call that God had placed on him. The first problem lay in the fact that Abraham did not know where this Promised Land was when he set out. He began his journey only with the promise of God to guide him and his entire family. The second problem that Abraham faced in believing the promise of God was that at the time that he first received the call of God, Abraham had no descendants. Abraham's wife, Sarah, was barren and the promise of God had been that through Sarah God would bless him with as many descendants as there were stars in the sky.
Noah believed God and his family was spared the flood that destroyed the world. Noah inherited a new world and a new land for his faithfulness. In the same way Abraham believed God and was led to a new land for his descendants. Both men traveled great distances to fulfill the will of God. Both men suffered the condemnation of those who did not understand their response to God's call. But, each of them received the inheritance of the righteousness that comes to men and women of faith.
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