Having given us the definition of faith in verse 1 and referring to the display of faith in verse 2, the writer of Hebrews now explains in verse 3 that faith involves a decision. Biblical faith is not a leap into the dark, nor is it blind optimism. Faith involves looking at the evidence and making a conscious, calculated decision based upon that evidence.
First, the decision of faith LEADS to understanding.
The Bible says, “By faith we understand…” Thus, there can be no understanding of the things of God without a conscious decision of faith. Neither God nor the things of God can be understood or known apart from saving faith. The Bible says that the natural man cannot receive the things of God. They are counted as foolish to him because he has no faith. For many, the gospel is a stumbling block because it asserts that salvation cannot be received apart from faith in Christ. The world abounds with people who dismiss the gospel as superstition or myth all because it demands faith. Such individuals foolishly assert that faith is the enemy of reason. Their effort leads them to seek understanding from philosophy, science, and other ideas. Yet unredeemed man, in his search for meaning, always comes up empty. So he grasps at theories in an attempt to justify his rebellion against God. This is why evolution is so widely popular. Not because of science, but because of the fact that it rules out the existence of God. It gets them “off the hook” and justifies their own rebellion against God. Faith in God is the most reasonable decision that a person can make.
Second, the decision of faith LOOKS to revealed truth.
The Bible says that it is only by faith that “we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.” Faith is not blind, for it looks to the revealed truth of Scripture. We place our faith in what God has said to be truth. The Bible says that God spoke the worlds into existence through His Word. God did and does nothing apart from His Word.
John MacArthur—“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, a truth the world’s most brilliant thinkers have not discovered and cannot discover on their own. It is beyond the realm of scientific investigation, but it is not beyond knowing—if we are willing to be taught by the Word of God.”
Where there is no willingness to believe and submit to God’s Word, there is no faith. Each of the examples that the writer of Hebrews goes on to mention in the chapter were men and women who believed the Word of God. They took Him at His Word and believed His promise. Great faith always involves the calculated decision of simple belief and obedience to God’s Word. If you desire to be a man or woman of faith, make the decision today to trust and obey. This is the double-sided coin of faith. The hymnwriter said, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey!”