The Author and Perfecter of our Faith
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval. Hebrews 11:1-2
Faith is the cornerstone of our spiritual life and the basis of all our actions and motivations. The author of the letter to the Hebrews devotes the entirety of Chapter 11 to the forefathers of the Hebrews, starting with Abel to Noah, then Abraham and all the way down to Samuel and David, illustrating how they built their lives on an unshakeable faith in God, and were able to do their part in changing history and carrying forward and bringing to fruition God’s plan of salvation to humanity.
The apostle emphatically stresses the link between faith and martyrdom. Abel was the first in this lineup of men of faith, and he was also the first martyr for his strong faith in God, and for the love and gratitude that he felt for God. In the latter part of Hebrews Chapter 11 the apostle describes in detail all the horrors that people of faith experienced. This passage is frequently read when we Armenians commemorate the Genocide that befell our nation in the early part of the twentieth century, because it is so prophetic of what was to happen in Anatolia almost twenty centuries after the writing of the book of Hebrews. Our compatriots were martyred for their faith just like the apostle and the Christians of his time.
The apostle also talks about a “promise” that our Old Testament heroes did not receive and that came through only with the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the “author and perfecter of our faith,” and who by His death on the cross and glorious resurrection brought salvation to all those who have faith in God.
Today we can join the apostle in saying that it was by faith that our forefathers met in Worcester, Massachusetts, 100 years ago and founded the Armenian Missionary Association of America whose mission has been to keep the faith alive and to disseminate the Good News of the Gospel. It was by faith that the organization spread its activities in 24 countries including Armenia and Artsakh to help the victims of earthquake and war, to help educate the young and care for the infants and elderly.
It is with faith and hope that the AMAA continues its efforts to plan for the next century, to create a better future for our new generation anchored in faith and surrounded by love and peace.
In this season of gift giving and receiving let us accept God’s promise as we celebrate the birth of our savior who came to teach us faith and how to perfect it. Let us also remember that our faith puts on us a responsibility to reach out to all those who need help and who have not yet received God’s promise.
Nazareth E. Darakjian, M.D.
President, AMAA Board of Directors