Summary: Characteristics of God. As we have seen this chapter teaches us about the characteristics that Christians should display: • Love to the Brethren – your work and labour of love, • Diligence and perseverance, Hope – an anchor of the soul, both sure and ste

A faithful God


Characteristics of God ch 6 con’t

As we have seen this chapter teaches us about the characteristics that Christians should display:

• Love to the Brethren – your work and labour of love v10

• Diligence and perseverance vv 11-12

• Hope – an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast v19

but it also tells us much about God’s character:

• God is not unjust v10

• His counsel is immutable v17

• It is impossible for God to lie v18

A fair God

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

God is not unfair: he will not lose sight of all that you have done (v 10 – )

How many times have you done something kind for someone else, but they never thanked you? I suspect that most families rarely even notice much of what mothers do for them, much less thank them! At work managers are encouraged to praise and thank their staff when they have done well. Taking people for granted or not noticing their accomplishments doesn’t encourage them to give of their best. On the other hand trite compliments that lack sincerity don’t motivate people either! If we are honest we tend to remember the bad and forget the good!

In wonderful contrast God forgives and forgets the Christian’s sin (Isa 43:25 I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins) but remembers our good works! He shows His appreciation when we serve Him faithfully and never overlooks or forgets to reward us when we seek to honour and serve Him (which you have shown toward His name v10) or to do good to our fellow Christians (in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister v10). (We’ve also seen how this chapter also emphasises the importance of real, practical love.)

Lk 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

Lk.18:28 Peter said, "See, we have left all and followed You." 29 So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 "who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."

Truly God is no man’s debtor. But, of course, God also knows when our good deeds are done to win praise from those around us. If it is not a labour of love which you have shown toward His name v10, done without hope of recompense then we cannot expect any reward. As Jesus said:

We receive many blessings for faithful service in this world, though normally not the riches, fame, power, etc. that the World prizes, but we shall receive so much more from God Himself, in heaven.

An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning home to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken.

On the same ship was President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from a hunting expedition. As the passengers disembarked there was a crowd of admirers waiting to greet the President. A band was playing, and the cheers of the crowd were deafening.

But when it was time for the missionary couple to step ashore, there was not a single soul to meet them. So eventually they found a cheap flat, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living. (The welcoming committee had become confused about the date on which they were to return!)

Discouraged, he buried his head in his hands and moaned, “God, I didn’t expect a band or a parade, but You could have seen to it that somebody came to welcome us home.”

"Dear, we’re not home yet!" said his wife.

A trustworthy and reliable God

Marriage used to be ‘til death do us part’, but now it is only until I get bored or something better comes along – if people bother to get married at all! Amid this rapid change is there anything secure that we can hang on to? Is there anyone that we can trust? YES! We can rely on God, He is always faithful; He never lies or misleads us; He always does what He promises and doesn’t change.

v17 tells us that God was determined to show the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel. What does that mean? It means that God wants us to understand that He is not erratic or capricious in His behaviour – apart from madness:

Isa 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Thankfully our God is not like that! He doesn’t lie or change His mind to get us to do something. vv17-18 tell us that God’s plans and purposes are immutable and it is impossible for God to lie – v18.

Nu 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

We rely on the unchanging laws that God has established. We plant an apple-tree expecting it to produce apples. But where would we be if we didn’t know what fruit a plant would produce? Who would plant anything?

Our lives, our world and our modern commerce rely on the unchanging nature of the laws that God has established. The reliability of His laws in the physical realm should give us confidence in His spiritual laws. The purposes of God never change; and all the hope which we have of heaven is rests on this fact.

God wants us to know that we can trust Him. To give us this confidence He comes down to our level. He made a promise to Abraham and confirmed it by an oath which He swore by Himself vv13-18. He could have given Abraham, and us too, no greater assurance for it rests in the nature and character of God. “God said it; I believe it; that settles it!”

God’s promises

"Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." v14

God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath v17

Ge 22:16 "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.

God promised that He would bless Abraham. The first part of that promise, the birth of Isaac took about 24 years. The second part is still being fulfilled thousands of years later in both his earthly descendents and his spiritual heirs. The reason that this reference is here is to encourage us for God’s dealing with the father of the faithful (Rom 4:16) are typical of His dealings with the children of faith. God will fulfil His promises, without exception, but it may take a bit longer than we would like!

Jer 33:20 "Thus says the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, 21 ‘then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant

Possessed of a good income, guaranteeing the supply of every need, it is of little moment that God has pledged himself to provide all needful things for those who seek his kingdom first. Environed by troops of faithful friends, like so many successive lines of defence entrenched in the strong fortress of position and rank, there is less interest in the assurance that God will be the shield and buckler, the refuge from the storm for his saints. But when riches dwindle, and friends fail, and health declines, and difficulty, persecution, and trial threaten, then the soul betakes itself to the promises of God, and [mulls] them over, studying them by the hour together, until it wakes up to find mines of treasure under pages which were blank – as moorlands beneath which coal-beds lie.

It would be well for some of us if God would strip us of all those things in which we place such confidence; so that we might be compelled, perhaps for the first time in our lives, to seek in Himself all that we are now wont to seek in his gifts.


• We have a just, loving God who shows His appreciation for faithful service. Let us show our appreciation for all that He and others give or do for us.

• We have a trustworthy and reliable God

So let us learn to take Him at His word, relying on His many promises and let us endeavour, by His grace, to be reliable too in our promises to serve, pray and to help our neighbours, particularly other Christians.