From Gospel Translations
“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11).
- Hebrews 11:11–12
God has promised us that all of His elect will be glorified (Rom. 8:29–30). There is nothing that can thwart this promise. All of those who have true faith in Jesus Christ will never finally fall away. They will be preserved and inherit all of the promises of God.
The author of Hebrews tells us that it is by faith that our souls are preserved (Heb. 10:39). But what kind of faith preserves our souls? Is it the faith that is only professed and then discarded later? Or is it the faith that is both professed and possessed and thus perseveres until the end of life? The answer to these questions is obvious. It is persevering faith that causes us to inherit the promises of God.
Hebrews 11 tells us that such faith was characteristic of the old covenant saints. It was characteristic of Abel who brought the first fruits of his labor to God (v. 4). It was characteristic of Noah who built an ark before the flood arrived (v. 7). It was characteristic of Abraham who lived as a stranger in the Promised Land (vv. 8–10).
Today’s passage also tells us that such faith was also exhibited in the life of Sarah. For by faith, Sarah “received power to conceive, even when she was past the age” (v. 11).
At first, it seems incredible that Sarah is a model of faith for us. For she, and Abraham for that matter, are hardly perfect examples of faith. Early on they doubted God’s promise to give them a son. Sarah laughed when God promised to make her conceive (Gen. 18:12) because of her age. Furthermore, even before Sarah laughed, she and Abraham conspired to produce an heir without the help of God (chap. 16). Such actions hardly demonstrate perfect faith in God.
What Abraham and Sarah show us is that persevering faith is not necessarily a faith that is always perfectly expressed. Indeed, it cannot be, because the only person who is perfectly faithful to the Father at all times and in all places is the Lord Jesus Christ.
At times, the presence of sin leads us to doubt God. But as Sarah shows us, the presence of doubt does not necessarily mean that persevering faith is absent. Though our faith may seem to be weak at times, persevering faith will endure through these doubts. It will become stronger over the course of our Christian journey, just as with Abraham and Sarah, and yield a harvest in the kingdom.
The realities of this life make it inevitable that doubts regarding the promises of God will arise. Spend time in prayer and study now so that you will be able to stand firm when these doubts come. If you are currently going through a time of doubt, remember that Christ will strengthen your trust in Him if you would but ask Him.
Passages for Further Study