Pleasing God … By Way of Faith

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) … “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”


God gave his approval to these Old Testament people because of their faith (11:2). In fact, without faith it is impossible to please God. This would have functioned as a warning to those Hebrew Christians whose faith was wavering. No one (not Abel, Enoch, or anyone else) can please God without faith. It is an absolute requirement. All the rituals mean nothing without faith. Those who believe can come to God and discover that he is approachable (see 4:16; 7:25; 10:1, 22).


“Pleasing God” has two presuppositions here: (1) People must believe that he exists and then (2) endeavor to have a personal relationship with him. Drawing from the example of Enoch, in 11:5, we see that Enoch pleased God because he had a personal relationship with him. Before this relationship could happen, Enoch obviously had to believe that God exists. However, believing that God exists is only the beginning; even the demons believe in God’s existence (James 2:19–20). God will not settle for mere acknowledgment of his existence. He wants a personal, dynamic relationship with you that will transform your life.


This is the message that Enoch’s example should give to the Jewish Christians. Undoubtedly, they wanted to please God, but they couldn’t do so without faith, particularly faith in his existence and in his promises to reward those who seek him. This reward is the rest and inheritance spoken of in chapters 3–4 and the reward of unlimited access to God as discussed in 4:14–10:18. Those who might wonder whether their faith in God is worthwhile are reminded that those who seek God will find that they are rewarded with his intimate presence. We may wonder about the fate of those who haven’t heard of Christ and have not even had a Bible to read. God assures us that all who earnestly seek him will be rewarded.


To “earnestly seek” means to act in faith on the knowledge of God that one possesses, and then to determine to devote oneself to him. When you tell others the gospel, encourage them to be honest and diligent in their search for truth. Those who hear the gospel are responsible for what they have heard (see 2 Corinthians 6:1–2).


“Faith begins where man’s power ends.” - George Muller


Do you believe because faith makes sense, or because faith doesn’t need to make sense? Some Christians think people cannot understand God and should not try. Others believe that nothing true is irrational, including true faith.

The great church leader Augustine was among the first to ponder the relationship of faith to reason. He concluded, “I believe in order to understand,” meaning that true understanding follows commitment to God, and that we cannot hope to understand God by human reason alone.


Almost nine hundred years later, the great theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote that reason, while marred by sin, can know God through arguments and proofs.

God gave us minds, which should be developed and used. To ignore intellectual growth is to live a stunted and naive life.


God wants our trust and faith, even while we ponder and wonder about so many matters mysterious to us.


God has spoken to us—to the mind, heart, and will—in Jesus Christ. We do not believe in a void, nor leap into the dark. Faith is reasonable, though reason alone cannot explain the whole of it.


So use your mind to think things through. But leave room for the unexplainable works of God. [1]





[1] Barton, B. B., Veerman, D., Taylor, L. C., & Comfort, P. W. (1997). Hebrews(pp. 180–181). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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