Wednesday, 31 October 2018
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, Hebrews 6:11
The author just spoke of his audience’s “labor of love,” which was that they had “ministered to the saints.” He now says, “And we desire that each of you show the same diligence.” It is obvious that he was speaking in general terms in the previous verse. There was a labor of love that was evidenced in the people he is writing to, but that did not necessarily extend to all of the people in the congregation. He is now imploring each to add in his own labors so that all would be a part of this labor of love. He then adds in, “to the full assurance of hope until the end.”
The Greek word translated as “full assurance” is used by Paul in Colossians 2:2 concerning a full assurance of understanding. It was then used in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 when speaking of the full assurance of the gospel which was presented by Paul and those with him. It is now used in this verse in Hebrews concerning hope, and it will be used one more time in Hebrews 10:22 concerning faith. It signified “entire confidence.” He is admonishing these people to be diligent in their good words so that they won’t lose their confidence, not that confidence will be lost in them by the Lord. If someone becomes a sluggard in his attitude toward the Lord, it will inevitably make them question their own assurance of hope.
He is not in any way implying that good works are necessary to continue in salvation. Rather, he’s stating that if someone fails to show diligence to the end, it is a failing of their walk with the Lord. One who has a failing walk with the Lord is not excluded from His grace, only from rewards for his conduct. Further, and this is usually not the case, it may reflect that the person wasn’t saved in the first place. A large problem among believers is that some people link doing good works with proof of salvation. This leads to high-handedness, and an often arrogant attitude towards people who never do good things for others, or some type of work to promote the goals of the church.
Despite this, it’s simply not possible to tell if a person is or isn’t saved based on some dubious standard of good deeds. The entire book of 1 Corinthians is written to a group of people who were immature believers, caught up in bad living, etc. There’s very little to reflect the notion that these people were saved based on their “works,” and yet Paul never questions their salvation – even a person who was engaged in gross immorality. Rather, he firmly held that if these people made a profession of faith and believed in their hearts the gospel message, they were saved. He remained unwavering in this stand and we should have the same attitude.
Life application: To go around questioning the salvation of others shows rather immature behavior in a person. It is God, not us, who judges the hearts and minds of our fellow humans. Instead of attempting to do this then, we need to show diligence in our own works, and attempt by doing so to induce others to accomplish them as well. In the end, though, the necessary task we must accomplish is trusting in Christ and His great deeds. Everything else pales in comparison to that and it is this trust and faith which is the greatest thing we can ever participate in on a personal level. It is this, and this alone, which leads to salvation. Having a diligence in our works after salvation will add a confidence to our walk that otherwise may be lacking.
Lord, let us never be ashamed of the doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus’ work. Help us to turn from any works-based system which is nothing more than what all false religions have to offer. Instead, the work of Christ alone is what restores us to You. Thank You for this wonderful gift. In Jesus’ name we pray! Amen.