I pray God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:21
Today, we continue our study of the practical portion of this book that is so full of theology. Theology is the study of God. We all have a theology. It is either bad or good. That which has influenced our view of God determines how good our theology is, therefore, the most important thing in all of our lives is our theology which is our understanding of God. If our theology is biblical, then we have good theology, if it is not, then, we will have bad theology. This is why our study of the Bible is so important for the Bible is the autobiography of God.
Our theology is most crucial because our view of God shapes everything we are and everything we do in this life, and in the life to come. Most believe freedom is the ability to do what we want, when we want, and, how we want. This is not so, because when we rebelled against God, allowing Satan to defines things for us, we lost our ability to see all things from God's perspective which is holy and true. Due to the devastating impact of sin we lost the ability to recognize that freedom is the ability to be and to do what God has created us to be and to do.
It is God's creation of this world, His formation of man as male and female in His image, their fall into sin, His plan of salvation and restoration for a fallen world involving His call of Abraham through whom the Messiah would come, His providential workings to bring about salvation through the incarnation, the sinless life, the substitutionary death, and the victorious resurrection of his Son, and His plans to bring all creation to its divinely decreed end. All of this shapes our theology. It is only as we understand these aspects of life and theology from God’s perspective can we rightly understand who God is, who we are, and how best we should live.
In today's verse, the writer of Hebrews himself turns to God and prays for his readers. He writes, "I pray God will make you ready to obey him."
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:13, "It is God who is working in you to make you willing and able to obey Him."
We can not work something out of us which God has not first worked in us. So this idea of work out what God has worked in is a very important concept. We might say, "Work hard and obey and serve God, because He is energizing our ability to do so. Be willing to realize His energy, and God will energize our energy to know Him and to do good."
The word translated "working" in Phillipians 2:13 is a very instructive word. The Apostle uses the Greek word from which we get our English word energy. God energizes us to be willing of heart toward Him. He doesn't do this automatically. We must be willing of heart, we must respond positively to His desire to enable us. It is His divine energy at work in us, that gives us the desire and the ability to do His will.
God's power begins in the will, and then it ends in the action. But, it always begins in our will first. God gives the desire to do His will. Our desire to have a deeper walk with the Lord comes from God. He puts those desires within us, but we can not blame Him for our lack of desire in the first place because we must first give a positive response to these desires that causes Him to give us more and more of the desire and the ability to do it.
In Psalm 37 we read, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
That means when we seek first the Kingdom of God, He will actually plant in our hearts the right desires. God addresses our will before He works on our actions. The reason He gives us the will first is so that we will enjoy it when we do His will. He does it this way so that we are not left saying, "I must serve God," or, "I have to serve God." That is like showing up at home with roses for your wife and after she says, "For me," you say, "I had to." And then you walk right past her into the house. Where is the love and the joy in that?
The next part of today's verse is, "May Jesus help you do what pleases God."
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we are engaged in a calling that is already accomplished. Our calling in this world from God is a guaranteed success because the Lord Jesus accomplished all that is needed while He walked this earth and while He died on the cross. But if we try to perform in self-effort, we will fail. And, the only thing that any human can do to please God is to trust in the Lord Jesus' person and performance on our behalf. Learning to live out of the success the Lord Jesus garnered for us is what the Bible calls, "Walking in the Spirit."
As a result, the last sentence of today's verse is accomplished. "To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen."
The words of this verse state the actual appeal to the “God of peace” mentioned in the previous verses. The appeal is to “make us complete in every good work.” The word translated as “make us complete” carries the idea of bringing something to its proper and intended function. It is to bring to a state of fully functioning or full maturity. The obvious meaning, then, is that we are on a path which will take us from one level to the next, always maturing in order “to do His will.”
The implication is that we cannot do His will perfectly if we are not maturing in Christ. It does mean that if we are walking with Him, we will do His will. And, this can only happen if we are willing to strive for it. In this, He "works in us to do His will." God will work through those who are willing to be worked through. And, when God works in us, it is only because of the Person of Christ and the gospel which He brought forth in the New Covenant. And, as we read in 1 Timothy 2:4, "God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth."
And thus the book of Hebrews closes in the same manner as it began with the focus on the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God was once unknowable to us, He sent His Son in fulfillment of His Word to allow us to know Him more fully and to make Him known to others. And, because of this, the Lord Jesus receives the glory which was reserved for Him alone from eternity past.