Why Faith Pleases God
In yesterday’s article we looked briefly at the famous description of faith in Hebrews 11:1. Just a few verses farther down in this chapter, in Hebrews 11:6, we read of yet another remarkable truth concerning faith. Continue reading . . .
In yesterday’s article we looked briefly at the famous description of faith in Hebrews 11:1. Just a few verses farther down in this chapter, in Hebrews 11:6, we read of yet another remarkable truth concerning faith. There the author says that “without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
But why does faith please God? Part of the answer has to be because faith looks away from self and to the Savior. Faith is an act of self-renunciation and a declaration that our hope and confidence are in God. Faith puts no trust in man but in God only. It declares that he is enough; he is sufficient; he is able. And it pleases God when he sees his children making known by the way they live that he is altogether glorious and abundant and worthy of their trust.
So don’t ever think that merely obeying the commands of Scripture pleases God. External conformity to the revealed will of God, without faith, does not please him. Only obedience that is fueled and energized and sustained by loving confidence and joyful trust in God brings pleasure to our heavenly Father.
And there are two things in particular that please God when we have faith in him: our belief that he is and our belief that he rewards those who seek him. Or, to put it in other words, God is pleased when we believe that he is real and that he is a rewarder.
God is real. God exists. He exists absolutely and independently of anything or anyone else. The source of his life is within himself, and he exists eternally. He loves it, he likes it, that is to say, he is pleased when you and I reflect in how we live a robust confidence that he is.
But he also loves it when we live in such a way that it draws attention to the fact that God rewards those who seek him. To please God you must believe that no one seeks him in vain! He is merciful and gracious and giving to all who come to him. Thus, God not only exists, he exists as the only being who is self-sufficient and abundant and overflowing with good things. He doesn’t need us, as if he would be deficient or in some way lacking if we withdrew our obedience and praise. God exists to bless us and to give to us all we need. God is pleased when our seeking of him and our serving him reflect the truth that he is the Giver and we are the Getters.
Do you see how this affects your attitude toward worship on a Sunday morning, as well as the way you listen when God’s Word is preached and applied? You must come to God hungry for him, seeking the reward that he offers to those who trust him, and that reward is himself! God is the all-satisfying treasure we seek. “Therefore, worship that pleases God is the hedonistic pursuit of God. He is our exceeding great reward!” (Piper, Desiring God, 102).