These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40
The author of Hebrews is not saying that those who did not receive what was promised somehow missed out on God's blessings. Some of them died while being tortured, some lost their kingdoms, and some didn't see fulfillment of prophecies while they were alive doesn't mean they failed or got ripped off by God.
You see, all of these people of faith entered the afterlife with great reward. But it was not until us, the age of the church, that God’s work was completed. It was not until Christ's work on the cross that perfection of God’s plan was attained.
The Bible shows us that before the cross, those people who were counted righteous by faith went to Paradise. But although Paradise was a place of comfort (Luke 16:25), it was not in heaven, it was in the center of the earth, across a large chasm from Hades, the place of fire and torment.
It was not until Christ was crucified that the sins of those faithful were paid for. It was then that he led those Old Testament saints to heaven, giving them the true gift of resurrection into eternal life.
They had finally received the promise of salvation by faith, of eternal life. We, in the church age, live under a better promise than they had. For today, we do not have to look forward, waiting for an event which has not happened. We look back at the finished work of the cross, when the Son of God took the death penalty of all our sins upon Himself, dying in our place.
Tomorrow in this blog we will conclude this Forward Faith series by looking at how we can be the next generation of heroes of the faith.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
A BIG THANK YOU to all who stayed around after services on Sunday to decorate for Christmas. Our building looks TERRIFIC!