“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
I’ve always been a dreamer. Growing up, I was very rarely told to “Think big” – if anything, I was often redirected with a “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” In school, I was notoriously too ambitious, tackling enormous projects that, by 1am, brought my mother to exhausted proclamations that next time we were just going to make a traditional papier-mâché volcano. But the conclusion of Hebrews 11 is for the dreamers.
After listing the heroes of faith, we are abruptly told that none inherited the promise. They absolutely bit off more than they could chew! By faith, God opened their eyes to more than they would ever see in their lifetime: Christ Jesus, God made human. They couldn’t see Jesus in flesh because each entered into history to lay the groundwork for the coming Messiah. And here we are, the recipients of their faithfulness.
In John 4:37, Jesus tells the disciples, "One sows and another reaps,” and this is where we stand: atop the shoulders of giants, reaping what we did not sow, receiving what others believed for. Their spiritual vision far outweighed the limitations of their physical eyes. They believed what they could not perceive. That is encouraging, heartening and terrifying—because even though we now live in the promise of Christ and have the fullness of His presence in our lives, the building of the Kingdom is not done. The vision, on your life and mine, is not yet fully seen.
The Kingdom, formed in and through His church, is a work in progress. We see and speak and experience the Kingdom by faith, but each generation, and each of us, is a living stone in its construction. The writer of Hebrews is saying that together, through the gift of their faith and our own, we are perfect. In verse 40, the word perfect, teleioó in the Greek, does not mean ‘without flaw,’ but rather ‘wholly complete.’ Our faith is not flawless, but it is complete. Together, our faith unfolding, Christ the perfecter and finisher of faith brings the fullness of belief to our lives.
The promise of Christ is that “the person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things” (John 14:12). In Christ, we couldn’t possibly dream any bigger or greater. In fact, if the size of the vision doesn’t scare us then we have made God too small. This means we can’t do it alone. By design, faith means that I am to believe not just for myself but rather beyond myself. The vision is locked up in other people—and the only way to unlock it is to transform from the incomplete ‘my faith’ to the completion of ‘our faith.’ What promise are we believing for the future of New York City? Let us be a church who believes for the next generation. Let us sow the land in faith that they may harvest in His abundance. Let us take this gift of faith and pass it onwards and upwards to the future builders of His kingdom.
Hold fast, C3 Brooklyn, and dream big with this mustard seed faith. On the other side is freedom, breakthrough and glory.