“Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” The key word here is “substance”, which represents the Greek word hupostasis. This word is used twice elsewhere in Hebrews. According to Hebrews 1:3, the Son is the exact representation of God’s hupostasis, and according to Hebrews 3:14, believers share in Christ only if they hold fast the beginning of their hupostasis to the end. In the Greek language, this word originally meant that which supports something, a deposit or sediment in the ground, or even an item of immovable property. It came to refer in a more figurative sense to the underlying reality behind a thing. Christ is pictured in 1:3 as the exact representation of the reality, substance or being of God. The eternal reality of who and what God is in the eternal, unseen realm is made physical, earthly reality in Christ. In the same way, the things that exist in the eternal realm – the “things hoped for”, the things we do not yet possess, are made into flesh and blood reality in the lives of individual believers in Christ through the exercise of faith. As Christ brings the invisible substance of God into this physical world, so faith brings the things we do not yet possess into our possession. Our faith in Christ reaches out for and secures what is real in the invisible world and brings it into the physical reality of this present world, whereas the outward realities of that world are in fact only passing shadows. What is real in the eternal world but has no substance in the material world gains substance through the exercise of our faith. It is this substance which enabled the heroes of faith, whose lives are recorded as chapter 11 unfolds, to conquer everything the world threw against them, and still emerge victorious, whether in life or in death.
And of course, the substance of our faith is Christ - He is God’s guarantee standing behind everything we believe — so how can we fail? Maybe it’s time we took some more steps of faith by testing the substance of what we have but often fail to exercise. We may be amazed at the results!