These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
It strikes me how the simple, crucial and consistent message of "living by faith" weaves its way through the Bible. Faith is to believe in what is unseen. Adam and Eve needed faith to obey the simple commands of God. Noah needed faith to build a boat on dry land and save his family from the flood. Abraham needed faith to become the father of a nation at an old age. Moses needed faith to lead the Israelites out of slavery. David needed faith to defeat Goliath, and then Saul. Peter needed faith to leave his job as a fisherman. Paul needed faith to make a 180 degree turn and lead the people he had been persecuting.
And all of these people, through their faith, received their true reward when Jesus completed his mission of reconciliation. It wasn't through their ethnicity, actions, intelligence, condition or luck. It was God's grace through their faith (Ephesians 2:8). And so it is with us today. Our access to the greatest gift of all time depends not on how we live, who we are, where we're from or what we own - just what we believe about Jesus. The question he asked Peter (Matthew 16) must be answered personally by each of us today; "Who do you say I am?"
Brett Lilly - Campus Pastor at Compass Church (95th campus), husband, father