By John Piper
If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. (Hebrews 11:15–16)
Faith sees the promised future that God offers and “desires” it. “As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” Dwell on this for a moment.
There are many people who water down what saving faith is by making it a mere decision with no change of what one desires and seeks. But the point of this text in the great faith chapter in the Bible — Hebrews 11 — is that living and dying by faithmeans having new desires and seeking new satisfactions.
Verse 14 says that the saints of old (who are being commended for their faith here in Hebrews 11) were seeking a different kind of country than this world offered. And verse 16 says they were desiring something better than what a present earthly existence could offer. “They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”
They had been so gripped by God that nothing short of being with God would satisfy.
So, this is true saving faith: seeing the promises of God from afar, and experiencing a change of values so that you desire and seek after and trust in the promises of God above what the world has to offer.