“These all died in faith.” Hebrews 11:13
Behold the epitaph of all those blessed saints who fell asleep before the coming of our Lord! It does not matter how else they died, whether of old age or by violent means, but this one point, in which they all agree, is the most worthy of record: “these all died in faith.”
In faith they lived—faith was their comfort, their guide, their motive and their support. And in the same spiritual grace they died, ending their life-song in the sweet strain in which they had so long continued. They did not die resting in the flesh or upon their own attainments; they made no advance from their first way of acceptance with God, but held to the way of faith to the end. Faith is as precious to die by as to live by.
Dying in faith has distinct reference to the past. They believed the promises which had gone before, and were assured that their sins were blotted out through the mercy of God.
Dying in faith has to do with the present. These saints were confident of their acceptance with God, they enjoyed the beams of his love, and rested in his faithfulness.
Dying in faith looks into the future. They fell asleep, affirming that the Messiah would surely come, and that when he would in the last days appear upon the earth, they would rise from their graves to behold him. To them the pains of death were but the birth-pangs of a better state.
Take courage, my soul, as you read this epitaph. Your course, through grace, is one of faith, and sight seldom cheers you—this has also been the pathway of the brightest and the best. Faith was the orbit in which these stars of the first magnitude moved all the time of their shining here, and happy are you that it is yours. Look anew tonight to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, and thank him for giving you that precious faith with souls now in glory.
Adapted from Morning and Evening.