Hebrews 11:31 “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
In Washington, D.C., there are many monuments and statues raised glorifying the valiant men of our past: our presidents, generals, and statesmen.
In Hebrews 11, the apostle Paul raised a magnificent monument on which he recites the victories of faith. In Enoch, faith triumphed over death. In Abraham, we see faith triumphant over the infirmity of old age, when Isaac is born. How much greater a monument this chapter raises to faith than all the monuments raised to glorify the exploits of man.
The list in Hebrews includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, and others.
And then we read, “By faith Rahab perished not.” She was saved from the destruction meted out in wrath against Jericho.
We should take note that her faith was a singular faith. She alone, of all the inhabitants of Jericho, believed. She alone repented of her sin and asked for mercy. And consequently, she alone with her family was saved. She stood all alone. She was the solitary champion of a righteous cause. She was a lonely follower of a despised truth, a friend of a hated race. She has a singular faith in that she had one goal–to be a part of the people of God. I have an idea that she recognized the spies and knew the danger they were in, so she called them into her house, not to entice them, but to save them. She was found faithful among the faithless.
In the second place, I like to point out that her faith was a saving faith. It was, of course, a saving faith in the temporal sense. She and her family were saved from the destruction of Jericho. She alone remained alive. But it was far more than that. Her faith brought with it the salvation of her soul from hell. It rescued her from divine wrath. She who would be accounted by many to be chief among sinners was as welcomed into Christ’s bosom as the best of saints. The wonder of divine grace was wondrously worked out in the faith of Rahab.
In the third place, Rahab’s faith was firm and enduring. The Canaanites were afraid, that’s for certain, but not without hope. There was the flooded Jordan River to cross, and the high and strong walls of Jericho to breach, and the innumerable Canaanites to be subdued. Maybe, just maybe, their cause was not lost. No matter, Rahab’s faith subdued those obstacles. Her God, the God of Israel, could and would give the city to Israel and deliver her from her sins. She was sure. Her convictions were firm and enduring. Once that faith took hold of her, nothing could sway her.
Finally, Rahab’s faith was a sanctifying faith. Rahab’s career as a harlot ended. Probably, it had ended already before the spies went to her house. But surely it ended once she became a member of the nation of Israel and married Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah. She became a woman noted for her piety and faith. She walked in the fear of the Lord. Her faith was real and true. It no doubt made her say, “The Lord has forgiven me for all my great sins. I will sin no more.” To believe is to strive to be holy.
Because of her faith, unknown to her, she became an ancestor of Christ. Her own son would die for her sins and take them all away. That son would also come to take away our sins.