This is an interesting verse found two verses into the what is commonly referred to as the “Hero’s of Faith” portion of the Book of Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews has just finished telling us about two great men of “faith” Able and Enoch when he shifts gears and writes this.
So first things first what is this Faith that one must have? Well a look back at verses 1-3 give us a pretty clear picture:
1 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. 2 For by this [kind of] faith the men of old gained [divine] approval. 3 By faith [that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible (AMP)
Therefore Faith is an assurance, confirmation of our trust and confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God.
Where does this Faith come from? I am speaking of the kind of Faith that is pleasing to God. Note verse six says “without faith it is impossible to please Him” Not just difficult but impossible to please God without acceptable faith. That kind of faith only comes about one way:
For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will[be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. Ephesians 2:8-9
Cain is a good example of bad faith if you will. He knew God (if only in his head) but offered up a sacrifice of his own labors (boasting?) that was unacceptable, unpleasing to God.
The Basis or starting point for Faith comes from God and is the requirement for belief in him.
And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), 19 and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength. Ephesians 1:18-19
For this reason [grasping the greatness of this plan by which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ] I bow my knees [in reverence] before the Father [of our Lord Jesus Christ], 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name [God—the first and ultimate Father]. 16 May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, Ephesians 3:14-17
Belief in God, begins with God. He (the Holy Spirit) touches spiritually energizes our hearts so that we may seek God in all His Glory. Faith then is a gift of God and a requirement for our drawing nearer to and walking with God daily.