Tuesday, 21 May 2019
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13:16
The word “But” is given as an additive to what was just stated. The author had told the people to offer the sacrifice of praise to God, giving thanks to His name. Along with that (But), he now adds the thought that the believer should “not forget to do good and to share.”
What this means is that we have a vertical responsibility towards God, and yet at the same time we have a horizontal responsibility to those around us. We are not simply to offer lip service to God, praising Him and giving thanks to His name while, at the same time, ignoring what He expects of us towards those around us.
The words, “to do good,” are so general that they must be taken in relation to how we would expect to be treated by others. As Jesus said –
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
If you would want someone else to let you into the traffic line, you should allow the person trying to get into the traffic line in. If you see someone who is struggling with his load, help him to carry it. Doing good is something that makes the one who does good fell good as well, and so there is a two-way benefit. However, the thought of immediate benefit for self will often push out any thought of a later possible benefit. This needs to be actively overcome by remembering “to do good.”
Further, the author says, “and to share.” This is actually, more often than not, tied to doing good. If we allow someone into the traffic line in front of us, we are sharing our good position in that line. If we help someone with a heavy load, we are sharing our strength. If you have food to share with someone who obviously could use a bite, share your food. It is such an easy thing to simply look around and see other humans as you would like them to see and relate to you.
And with such a simple thing being practiced, we can then feel good not only about ourselves, and towards the other person we have tended to, but there is a third – and great – reason for this type of conduct. It is because “with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” God was under no obligation to send Jesus to bear our sin-debt. But He did. He took our heavy burden upon Himself.
When we were stuck on the path to hell, he allowed us access to the way of heaven. When we had no food to sustain us, He gave us the Bread of Life. God did good and shared all things with us because it pleased Him to do so (Isaiah 53:10). With this infinitely glorious example, we can then remember to follow suit, and to do likewise in our temporary stay here in this life. In such conduct, there will be eternal reward.
Life application: The problem (well, one of many problems) with liberal social theology is that it puts the “deeds cart” before the “salvation horse.” People all over the world are doing good deeds for others. If Christians think they have an exclusive claim on them, they are mistaken.
People like Bill Gates and other philanthropists give away as much as entire nations. Unfortunately, these deeds mean absolutely nothing to God in determining their righteousness. One simply cannot buy his way into heaven.
Likewise, liberal social theology follows a similar path. Such adherents tend to place people’s needs at the front of the list of things to be accomplished. In fact, this is often all that is on the list. They never get to the part about Jesus. The entire effort is wasted effort because the root of the people’s problem is a separation from God because of sin.
Feeding these people without tending to their spiritual needs is no different than petting a cow as it is going to slaughter…kind of pointless. Another problem with social theology is these people tend to get their fingers into the government entities around them and force themselves and their viewpoints on others who may have better-aligned priorities.
Such is the case in America where these ideologies have formed religious/political machines who never introduce Jesus. The Bible, on the other hand, never fails to proclaim our need for God’s pardon through Jesus and only then sharing with others. This is quite evident from the fact that we have spent 13 chapters on Christology and only in the middle of the 13th chapter do we introduce charity. Once our station with Christ is resolved, we can then please God with our charity.
Don’t be captivated by ministries which spend so much time doing good that they never get to the reason for the good. Without Jesus, the effort is in vain, but with Him it makes all the difference in the world.
Lord God, help us to have our priorities right as we seek to help others. Let us never shirk from first explaining the Gospel of Christ as we also tend to their other needs – physical, emotional, mental, financial, etc. May You be proclaimed at all times and in every way! Amen.