We can become so familiar with various scriptural texts that they cease to provoke in us the awe that they deserve. Whether long but careless acquaintance rounds the sharp points of a truth that once stabbed our hearts and minds and blunts its force so that now we take it for granted or whether overt sin has dulled our senses, we too often find that a glorious truth no longer shines before us as it once did but as it still ought. May the glory of the following text never dim. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). There is far too much truth here to address in this brief space, so we will focus on the last clause: “He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews declares that this is an essential belief. Let’s consider two aspects of its truth: (1) What it says about God; (2) What it says for man.
About God. The simple but profound truth this clause asserts is that God is a “rewarder” (more literally, “one who pays wages”). In our current religious culture, which promotes a caricature of God as an omnipotent genie, bottled up and out of our way until we command Him to come forth and perform some service for us, a god whose sole purpose, apparently, is to make certain that we have our best lives now, it is critical that we not lose sight of the fact that as wrongheaded as such a view is, God is, nevertheless, an infinitely rich rewarder of His children. His generosity beggars description. It is not just that the blessings He bestows are immeasurable in the value they offer but that they were purchased at infinite cost. As Paul reminds us, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (II Cor. 8:9). The fact that it is not God’s will that most of His saints drive a Ferrari, live in a 10,000 square foot mansion, and take long vacations in the Caribbean every year should never detract from the immense liberality of the Lord’s nature. Those who preach the kind of God just described have little if any concept of true reward. They suffer under a far greater misconception than the child who grabs a dime because it is shiny while refusing a dull check for a million dollars. God is powerful, loving, gracious, kind, and generous beyond our greatest imaginings. Paul again assures us that He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
For man. We must preface these remarks with a reminder that the generosity of God described by the author of Hebrews is neither universal nor automatic: it is bestowed only upon those who seek Him by faith. And what is the nature of these rewards touted in Hebrews? Surely, it is not anything so poverty-stricken as cars and houses and jewelry and wardrobes and playthings? Those can be obtained with money, and anyone—of which there are quite a few—with sufficient cash or credit can acquire them. No, the blessings God confers on those who exercise faith cannot be purchased with all the wealth in the world. They may be summarized in one word, salvation. That word encompasses a gift spanning time and eternity. Right now (to offer only a representative sample), the believer receives forgiveness of sin and peace with God, deliverance from the penalty of sin, a promise that God will hear and answer prayers according to His will, deliverance from guilt, from fear, and from despair. By faith he receives inexpressible joy, peace that is beyond understanding, and the identifiable Presence of the indwelling Spirit of God so that he may enjoy genuine fellowship with the Father and the Son. The eternal life that he enjoys right now will afford future blessings such as a glorified Christlike body, joint heirship with Christ, the privilege of reigning with Christ on His throne, and the opportunity to fellowship with, engage in useful service to, and bask in the Presence and fellowship of the Lord and all His saints forever.
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