Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.…
I. No faith will carry us through the difficulties of our profession, from oppositions within and without, giving us constancy and perseverance therein unto the end, BUT THAT ONLY WHICH GIVES THE GOOD THINGS HOPED FOR A REAL SUBSISTENCE IN OUR MINDS AND SOULS. But when by mixing itself with the promise which is the foundation of hope, it gives us a taste of their goodness, an experience of their power, the inhabitation of their first-fruits, and a view of their glory, it will infallibly effect this blessed end.
II. The peculiar specificial nature of faith, whereby it is differenced from all other powers, acts, and graces in the mind, lies in this, THAT IT MAKES A LIFE ON THINGS INVISIBLE. It is not only conversant about them, but mixeth itself with them, making them the spiritual nourishment of the soul (2 Corinthians 4:18).
III. THE GLORY OF OUR RELIGION IS, THAT IT DEPENDS ON AND IS RESOLVED INTO VISIBLE THINGS. They are far more excellent and glorious than anything that sense can behold or reason discover (1 Corinthians 2:9).
IV. GREAT OBJECTIONS ARE APT TO LIE AGAINST INVISIBLE THINGS, WHEN THEY ARE EXTERNALLY REVEALED. Man would desirously live the life of sense, or at least believe no more than what he can have a scientifical demonstration of. But by these means we cannot have an evidence of invisible things; at best, not such as may have an influence into our Christian profession. This is done by faith alone.
1. Faith is that gracious power of the mind, whereby it firmly assents unto Divine revelations, upon the sole authority of God the revealer, as the first essential truth, and fountain of all truth.
2. It is by faith that all objections against invisible things, their being and reality, are answered and refuted.
3. Faith brings into the soul an experience of their power and efficacy, whereby it is cast into the mould of them, or made conformable unto them (Romans 6:17; Ephesians 4:21-23).
(John Owen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.