Brothers and sisters, by faith Moses, when he was grown up, denied he was a son of Pharaoh’s daughter (see Exodus 2:11-15), choosing to be afflicted with God's people rather than to have the enjoyment of sin for a time, estimating the indignities suffered by Christ to be of greater value than the Egyptians' treasures, for he was considering the reward.
By faith, he left Egypt not fearing the king's wrath (Exodus 10:28), for he persevered as if he were seeing the One Who cannot be seen. By faith, he celebrated the Passover and the sprinkling of blood (Exodus 12:1-21), so that the one who destroyed the first-born might not touch these. By faith, they passed through the Red Sea, as through dry land, whereas the Egyptians attempting it were swallowed up (Exodus 14). By faith, the walls of Jericho fell after people had gone around them for seven days (Joshua 6). By faith, Rahab the prostitute who had received the spies in peace, did not perish with the unbelievers (Joshua 2).
And what more shall I say? For time will be too short to speak of Gideon, of Barac, of Samson, of Jephthe, of David, and of Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained the fulfillment of promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, routed foreign armies.
Women had their dead restored to them through resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to yield for their release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others again suffered mockery and blows, even chains and railings. They were stoned, cut to pieces, put to the question, killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, distressed, afflicted (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves and holes in the ground.
And none of these, despite the positive witnessing of faith, received what was promised, for God had something better in store for us, so that they were not to reach their final perfection without us.
Blessed first week of Great Lent to y'all.
Notice how many times "by faith" is mentioned in the Epistle reading for this Sunday.
Believing requires faith, whatever faith we can give. The reason why it can be hard to have strong faith, or even any faith, is because everything that God has promised regards the eternal life. And let's be frank, sometimes when we talk about "salvation," or "eternity," or "future life," or "heaven and hell," etc., we, sometimes, think of them as fairy tales, and fairy tales are fake.
So yes, it does require faith to believe in God, to believe that this life is not all that there is to it, that we are meant for some other true life after death. God has made His promises - those who persevere to the end will be saved. He did not promise any earthly pleasures (He did not say that we won't have, He never said that they are the goal), if anything, He promised that His followers will be persecuted.
So yes, it does take faith to take these promises seriously and to believe that if we remain faithful to God, He will remain faithful to us, as the Epistle above clearly shows.
Keep your faith. And don't worry if you have questions or doubts. Look for answers to those questions and, as Christ promised, you will find the answers (Matthew 7:7-8).
Have faith because God is faithful.
Yours in Christ,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest
29 Weaver Street
Little Falls, NJ 07424
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