Monday, June 21, 2021

Good Work in God's Fields (Hebrews 6:7-8)

"Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God" (Hebrews 6:7).

The author provides an analogy of growth and judgment for his readers. Man is made of earth, and so the crops that grow from the land symbolize the outflow of a person’s life. God sends the rain of the Spirit upon the church, and true believers gradually produce crops that He, as the Divine Harvester, finds useful. Some people, however, drink the rain of God’s bountiful energy but only produce thorns and thistles. Such fields will be burned over and a new crop will be planted.

The author, as he considers his audience, is persuaded that they are a good crop. Yes, they have failed to grow in a steady and strong manner. Yes, they have been cultivating immaturity rather than pressing on. In spite of this, they have been doing some good works, and God is gracious. He will not overlook their good works.

Verse 10 tells us that the good work that God approves consists of helping other believers. We might expect him to say that they do the good works of going to Bible studies or worship, but God wants to see us show affection toward the other members of His bride. At the Last Judgment, Jesus will judge people based on how they treated His bride (Matthew 25:31–46). This is because good deeds done toward the brethren are good deeds done to Him.

Whether we take the threats of Hebrews 6 as hypothetical or real, it is important to note that these threats are issued in a context of encouragement and comfort. God comforts His people, speaking tenderly to Jerusalem (Isaiah 40). God sends warnings to shake us up, not to discourage us.

The author of Hebrews adds a pastoral note in verse 11, saying that he wants them to get back to work so that they do not lose their assurance of salvation. When we stop growing, we lose touch with God. Our assurance is only as strong as our faith. When bad things happen to us, we lose our assurance if we have not been spending time with Him. If we want to make our hope in Him more certain, we must endeavor to grow, and this means we must be active in doing good works to the brethren.

Grow, grow, grow, grow, grow. That is what God is hammering us with in Hebrews. Ask God to show you ways you can take the exhortation to growth more seriously.