We have talked about the Hebrew Epistle being a legal treatise. How the writer is making a legal argument for the defense of something and someone. In chapter 11, the writer gives us a legal text book definition for faith. The next word we come to in the definition is “evidence”.
I am reminded of the time one of the Peterson’s children snuck a piece of cake. When asked, no one would confess. So, in an attempt to discover the guilty party, the parents had the children all line up. They then instructed them to present their hands for inspection. Despite all of the denials, it didn’t take long to uncover the cake culprit. For you see, the cake was chocolate.
Some things become so evident that they are impossible to refute. To do so would cast one as an assailant against all rhyme, reason and reality. In other words, it makes you look like a raving lunatic.
The word that is used for evidence in our text means “proof and reproof”. On the one hand the evidence is proof and on the other hand it is also reproof. Proof meaning to validate as being correct. Reproof meaning to be corrected. The particular word that is used for evidence also carries with it the connotation of shaming. So when it corrects you, it also shames you.
An example of what this would look like is the Maury Povich Show; you are not the Father. They have a segment in which a woman does not know who the father of her child is. She will fervently accuse a certain man of being the father. The man will vehemently deny it. They will then present the results of a DNA test. The DNA is evidence. On the one hand it is proof. Simultaneously it is also reproof. You have one person saying it is; you have one person saying it is not. Someone is about to be validated as being correct. Someone else is about to be corrected, but in a shaming way.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”…Rom. 1:16-17
The Fall introduced shame into the economy (Gen. 3). Shame uncovers us. It leaves us exposed and vulnerable. It leaves us being needy. It also makes us self-conscious as opposed to being God conscious. Shame tells us that:
• We are not enough,
• We are incomplete.
• We are lacking
The purpose of the shame is to make us aware of our greatest need. We have tried any number of things to remove our shame; from fig leaves to building great monuments. None of it worked. Until Christ came (Gal. 4:4-7; 1 John 3:5-8). He removes our shame. Christ is our covering.