Hebrews 11:32–34, “32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
The Bible is clear that God’s elect are secure in their salvation. Those whom God has predestined and called will also be glorified (Rom. 8:29–30). Not one of the Father’s children can be snatched from His hand (John 10:28–29). If God has begun the good work of salvation in us, He will always bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6).
God does not only work outside of us in order to ensure our salvation, He also uses our faith. We demonstrate our election and make our calling sure through the exercise of our faith (2 Peter 1:10). When we exercise faith, we show that God is working in us to preserve our souls through the exercise of this very faith (Heb. 10:39).
Perhaps the most important aspect of true faith is that it always perseveres. It continues to trust God even in the midst of the most difficult and impossible circumstances. The author of Hebrews has shown us this by referring to the examples of old covenant saints including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab (Heb. 11:1–31).
In today’s passage, our author begins to conclude his section on the old covenant models of faith. He begins to speak more generally because his point has been made and it is no longer necessary to give his audience individual examples of true persevering faith.
Most remarkable about verses 32–34 is not the list of mighty deeds performed by Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and others. Rather, we note that no one on this list evidenced perfect faith at every time and every point in his life. Samson jeopardized the people of God for the sake of a beautiful woman (Judg. 16:1–21). David committed adultery and indirectly, murder (2 Sam. 11–12). Most of these men had serious deficiencies.
True persevering faith does not mean that we never sin or that our faith is perfect. It does mean that when we sin we repent and then resolve to press forward, ever clinging to the promises of God. As Calvin says, “In all the saints, something reprehensible is ever to be found; yet faith, though halting and imperfect, is still approved by God. There is, therefore, no reason why the faults we labour under should break us down or dishearten us, provided we by faith go on in the race of our calling.”
Are you disheartened because your faith seems so weak and imperfect at times? If so, then take heart because no man of God besides Jesus Christ has ever had perfect faith. Go to the Lord in prayer confessing your need for Him to increase your faith. Then, resolve to press on in faith, no matter what, and ask Him to help you do so.