Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hebrew 6:9-12 Keep at it!

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.  God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.  We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:9-12)

In the previous passages, the author of Hebrews has been speaking some harder words about the need to mature and the sad state of those who reject Christ. But he turns in this next passage to assure them that he knows that these believers will indeed persevere in their faith. He will continue to remind them of the superiority of Christ and His sacrificial death for us.

However, in these few verses it could be assumed that these believers were being justified to God by their works. From the whole of scriptures we know this is not what the writer is saying. He IS saying that their works for God do not go unnoticed. God WILL remember our works done for Him, and, in fact, will reward us for them. But the only work that saves us and reconciles sinful man to our holy God is the work of Christ on the cross. But our works do justify us before men. They prove our faith to others - not to God, who already knows our hearts - but to men who can only judge our faith by what they see in our actions.

The other day I heard that wonderful radio preacher, J. Vernon McGee, though now deceased, still preaching it out in old recordings, quoting John Calvin on the tension between faith and works:

Faith alone saves - but faith that saves is never alone - John Calvin

This just sums it all up for me. We have been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Period. However, real saving faith will ALWAYS result in works, because it comes from the heart of God. Our hearts should be moved by His to reach out to a lost world. Our faith in a compassionate, loving God should compel us to demonstrate that love to others in tangible ways. They should be able to look at us and see Jesus.

Notice that the author of Hebrews says that the Christian life will require diligence to the end. This is not a faith for the lazy, but will require patience in order to inherit what has been promised. The closer I get to the end, the more I see the need to not rest but to keep on moving and doing. It’s not a time for the “younger folk” to take over while I sit on the front porch. My work for Christ won’t be over “til it’s over.

My job is now to pass on what I’ve learned, to pour myself and my energy into getting out the gospel, and, indeed, living out the gospel - to my grandchildren, to my coworkers, to my neighbors, to anyone God puts in my path! Am I doing it? Not nearly enough or boldly enough! In teeny-tiny ways, maybe. But I’m getting restless to do MORE! Pray with me that we will all want to be more, grow more, and demonstrate more of Christ. 

We are told here to imitate those who have modeled this diligence for us.  Later in this letter the author will list off for us the heroes of the faith who did persevere, but next he will turn to the certainty of the promise of God. Good stuff ahead! Stay with me here!  

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