Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 28, 1961
NUMBER 21, PAGE 1,13a

Some Things Affirmed About God In Hebrews

Robert H. Farish, Lufkin, Texas

God Hath Spoken

The opening statement of the book of Hebrews affirms that God has spoken to man. "God having of old times spoken unto the fathers .... hath at the end of these days spoken unto us." (Heb. 1:1, 2) Neither to the "fathers" nor to "us" has God communicated his wishes or imposed his will by a direct operation upon .the heart. The fact that God speaks to man proves that man is capable of understanding. To deny that man can understand is to imply folly with God for taking an action which is without point. Furthermore, the power of choice or the fact of man's free moral agency must be accepted by all who believe that God speaks to man. For what is the need of God speaking his wishes to man if man cannot choose to accept or reject the message? The gospel is the power of God unto salvation; it is through the gospel that God brings his power to bear upon the heart of man. This power is persuasive and through the instrumentality of words; it is not irresistible and direct. If God brought his power to bear directly upon the heart, as a direct operation of the Holy Spirit, there would be no such thing as man exercising choice, for the power :al God exercised directly is irresistable. Man's right to choose is implied in the fact that God speaks to man. Additional evidence of this is in the language of the second chapter of Hebrews. "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away ....". (Heb. 2:1) Man's ability to act with reference to the things spoken is certainly required in the conclusion here expressed. Man can give earnest heed to the words spoken by God, through his Son and thereby avoid drifting.

"God hath .... spoken to us" — what a gracious condescension!

We can hear and give earnest heed to his words or we can turn away from the truth. The former course gains for us the continued favor of God; the latter course yields unhappiness here and eternal ruin hereafter.

God Rewards The Faithful

The fact that God rewards the faithful is affirmed in the requirement that men believe not only in the existence of God but also that God rewards them that diligently seek him. "Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him." (Heb. 11:6)

The one who has the faith that is unto the saving of the soul believes not only in the existence of God, but also in the fact of his care and provision for the faithful. If a person's faith is the kind that includes believing that God is a rewarder of them that seek him, that person will seek God. Without that kind of faith, "it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him." There will be no foolish talk about faith alone, that is, faith without the human actions required in seeking God. The question is, do you believe that "he is and that he is the rewarder of them that seek him?"

God Is A Consuming Fire

The conviction that "our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29) is the basis and powerful incentive to reverence and awe toward God. The awful destructive power of God is affirmed by the writer as the reason why we should "offer service well-pleasing to God." The characteristics which adorn service which is well-pleasing to God are reverence and awe. "God is love" and "God is a consuming fire."

Some ignore the attribute of God which is here represented under the figure of a consuming fire and consequently presume on the love of God. Presumptuousness or ignorance are the only two things to which we can charge the widespread disrespect for the work and worship of the Lord. If the behaviour of some in the assembly is not evidence that they "despise the church of God," I don't know how such an attitude could be manifested.

God has spoken unto us. This fact makes it possible for us to have faith. (Rom. 10:17) The one who has "faith that is unto the saving of the soul" believes that God is and that he rewards the faithful. This faith also includes believing our God is a consuming fire. The practical result of believing these affirmations about God will be greater respect for the words of the New Testament, for they contain the will of God; greater poise or peace of heart in the knowledge that God cares for and faithfully rewards those who properly seek him; and worship which is sincere, orderly and quiet, the worshippers comporting themselves with the dignity required by the august character of him with whom we have to do.