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Hebrews 6:9-12 God Does Not Forget

Author: Dr. George M. Flattery

Hebrews 6:9-12 God Does Not Forget

Thoughts from Hebrews 6:9-12

God will reward faithful living and service. That is the message of our text. We have many friends who have lived for God and served Him faithfully for decades. Our text for this series has comforting words for all who have been faithful.

It is important periodically to take time to review where we stand and to give thought to the future. We can evaluate our lives, check our motivation, and adjust our vision. We can live expecting God’s blessing. These blessings are ours through Christ. As the apostle, Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Our text has to do with both service and salvation. The writer has just issued a stern warning against apostasy (Hebrews 6:1-8). Then, in our text, he commends the faithful people for their goodness. After that, he challenges the people concerning the future. The central message, as he highlights in Hebrews 11:6, is that God is “a rewarder of those that seek Him.”

We will consider each verse and its message. In verse 9 the writer gives his es­timate of the spiritual condition of his read­ers. Then, in verse 10, he exalts the right­eousness of God. God will reward those who serve Him. He encourages diligence in verse 11. Finally, in verse 12, he warns against sluggishness and encourages his readers to imitate those who have faith and patience.

More Thoughts from Hebrews 6:9-11

The writer had spoken of those who had fallen away (Hebrews 6:6). He had issued a stern warning. Then, while leaving the warning visible, he addresses his readers who have not fallen away. Though they are not per­fect, he is convinced of better things concerning them (verse 9). Today, we will concentrate on the better things.

Although the believers had not fallen away, they were concerned about the elementary teaching of Christ (Hebrews 6:1). They needed to press on to maturity and greater depths of understanding. There was much more for them to learn. Perhaps some of them had been wavering in their faith.

To this audience, the writer says, “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way” (verse 9). The “better things” stand in contrast to the “thorns and thistles” yielded by the Godless life (Hebrews 6:8) of those who had fallen away. Instead of falling away, the believers would be fruitful in their spiritual lives.

Charles A. Trentham states that the writer means, “‘You are the kind that bring forth good fruit.’ The great hope for these people is that, despite their obsession with the elementary things of religion and despite their wavering under the pressures of their persecution, they were still doing some work of love for God and man.”

Although we may be spiritually mature, we must heed all warnings. We must not let our spiritual ardor cool. Instead, we should demonstrate our love by our spiritual fruit. This is a life-long commitment on our part. It is a commitment that leads to eternal life with God.

More Thoughts from Hebrews 6:9-12

In verse 9, the writer speaks about the spiritual condition of the people. Then, in verse 10 he says, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and still ministering to the saints.”

The writer is not speaking here of God’s memory. Rather, He means that God will not ignore or reject all that the believers have done for the saints in His name. The saints have acted in God’s name to help other saints. This means they have acted in His will and under His guidance. Even though it is saints who have been helped, God counts it as having been done for Him.

God will not forget what we have done. Far from forgetting, He will reward our efforts. Later, the writer says that God is a “rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

We might forget, because of poor memory, or deliberately ignore what others have done, but God will not. He is righteous, and His reward will be just and complete.

The writer says, “in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” The love that they had sown was “toward His name,” but it was direct assistance to the saints. This ministry takes a variety of forms. The underlying motivation for it all is love. Whatever specific service the readers had rendered, the principle applies to all that we do for the Lord to help others.

Many times, much is done that goes unnoticed. It is comforting to know that “God is not unjust so as to forget.” At the same time, we should do all we can to remember as well. Humanly, we do forget. While we may not deliberately overlook anyone, we do not see all or remember all. So, this week perhaps we could make an extra effort to commend those around us who are doing what God has called them to do.

More Thoughts from Hebrews 6:9-12

The writer has talked about the spiritual condition of the Hebrews (verse 9) and the fact that God does not forget what they do in His name for others (verse 10). However, he is not fully satisfied with his readers, so he expresses his desire that they are diligent. In verse 11 we read “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end.”

There are two lines of thought concerning the relationship between diligence and hope. These lines of thought are based on the Greek preposition pros in verse 11. Under one approach the preposition, as indicated above, is translated as “so as to” (NASB). The NIV has “in order to.” Both of these translations stress being diligent in service as a means to realizing hope. In favor of this, the writer has just spoken about what they do for others.

Under the second line of thought, the writer emphasizes being diligent in another way. The preposition pros are translated as “unto.” Thus, the meaning is that the believers should be diligent toward the goal of realizing their hope. The RSV expresses the writer’s desire for “each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end.”

There is no contradiction between these approaches. Service and hope are like concentric circles. Service expands into hope, and hope includes service. On the one hand, hope points us to the future. When we have hope, we can be diligent. On the other hand, when we are diligent, and see results, we are often fired with a sense of hope. The important point is that we remain diligent and that we continue to have our first love. It is important the fire of God burns brightly in our spirit.

More Thoughts from Hebrews 6:9-12

In verse 9 the writer gives his es­timate of the spiritual condition of his read­ers. Next, in verse 10, he exalts the right­eousness of God. God is not unrighteous to forget their labors for Him. Then, in verse 11, he encourages his hearers to be diligent in service and in realizing hope.

Today, we will concentrate on verse 12. Here, the writer says, “So that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” The Hebrews should be diligent so that they will not be sluggish. Instead, they should imitate those who inherit the promises through faith and patience. Fortunately, we are not alone in our walk with Jesus. Many people are making this same journey. We should imitate those who walk by faith.

The Old Testament saints did inherit the promises to some degree. Yet, the writer says (Hebrews 11:39-40) “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us so that apart from us, they would not be made perfect.” As New Testament believers, we have already inherited to a greater degree than the Old Testament saints, but there is yet more. We must imitate Christ. We do this, in part, by imitating Christ in others. We should imitate their deeds and their character. Specifically, the writer mentions their faith and patience.

More Thoughts from Hebrews 6:9-12

Today, I will summarize my “thoughts” from this text. The writer, in verse 9, gives his es­timate of the spiritual condition of his read­ers. Next, in verse 10, he exalts the right­eousness of God. God will reward those who serve Him. Then, in verse 11, he encourages diligence in service to others and in realizing hope. Finally, in verse 12, he warns against sluggishness and encourages his readers to imitate those who have faith and patience.

Our salvation and service are linked. We must be diligent in serving. We must serve others in love. It will result in our realizing our hope. At the same time, diligence in hope will motivate us to serve. Let us be diligent for God is not “unrighteous to forget” us. He will reward our labors far beyond anything we can now imagine.

Many times, people seek to obtain the approval of others. They yearn for the approval of friends, family, employers, and colleagues. In fact, firms that help people obtain work often have classes on how to make a good impression. When all this takes place in moderation, it is fine. However, it can easily be overdone.

For us, as servants of the Lord, faith in God is the way to His approval. The writer of Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” We cannot impress God with our talents, possessions, personality, or anything else. We simply put our faith and trust in Him and serve Him faithfully. He will reward us.

George M. Flattery, Ph.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.

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