Summary: God’s word is trustworthy
October 28, 2012
The reprobates who came out of Egypt were plainly seen for what they were when they refused to enter into God’s rest (Heb. 4:2-3), and in the same way, the reprobates today are made plain when they reject Christ and hold Him in a place of scorn.
9But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
We don’t think you’re like those briars set to be burned; we’re persuaded of your faith and obedience, and that’s why we’re giving you this warning:
10For God is not unrighteous
“Unrighteous” is ἄδικος (adikos), and it means unjust. Tie it back to 4:13.
to forget your work and labour of love,
“Labor” can also mean “beatings.” The emphasis is on effort and fatigue.
which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Consider this in light of Matthew 10:42: “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
Matthew 25:40: “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
I Thessalonians 1:3: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”
11And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Tie this back in with 3:6, 14 and 6:7-8.
12That ye be not slothful,
This is the same word translated as “dull” in 5:11.
but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Those who believe to then end,
13For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
When God made the promise to Abraham He swore “by Himself.” Think about how many times you’ve read in the Old Testament when someone says “as surely as the Lord lives I will do such and such.” They swore a promise by someone greater than themselves. We put our hand on the Bible and say “so help me God.” But there is no higher power than God, and so when God says “I will do this” He says “by Myself have I sworn.” The example of Abraham isn’t just that Abraham waited patiently in faith, but that Abraham could wait patiently in faith knowing that God had made a promise that could be counted on.
14Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
The writer calls to mind the time in Abraham’s life when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham took his son to the top of Mount Moriah, prepared the fire, bound his son and was just ready to take his life when God stopped him. “And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:15-18).
15And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
The “and so” is tied to the promise. God promised with an oath “and so” Abraham received it! It wasn’t immediate, but it did happen.
16For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
When we want to give someone assurance we say “I promise,” and if our word is any good then that’s considered enough.
17Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
God wanted to make it exceedingly plain to the heirs of the promise that His plan would not and cannot change, so He swore an oath by His own name. To get a better understanding of the word “counsel” look at these verses:
“I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).