This is what the ancients were commended for.
I almost added this verse in with the previous one. Mostly because it was so short, and it didn't seem that important of a verse to merit its own post.
Then I read it by itself and the importance of this verse sank in. You see, faith is what the ancients were commended for. Each of these people have been participants with God in some pretty amazing deeds, but these deeds are simply a result of true faith.
As James puts it, in James 2:22-24,
You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
Truly, faith without works is a dead, unsaving faith.