Summary: Hebrews 6 tells us much about God’s character: • He is just • He doesn’t change His mind • He cannot lie
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 – JB Phillips)
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!
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones. (Shakespeare in Julius Caesar)
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:
Mt.6:1 "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 "that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
It is easy to be more concerned about what others think about us – the praise of men rather than the praise of God – John 12:43, but is there anything that can compare with the Master’s well done? Well done, good and faithful servant ... Enter into the joy of your lord Mt 25:21. Surely that is well worth working for?
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!)