The author of Hebrews is confident that his readers will enjoy “better things” than the children of Israel who failed to move forward in their faith and trust in God to enter the Promised Land. He is not referring to eternal life because he’s already established the reality of their faith in Jesus. Their eternal destiny is assumed but the experience they have along the way is in question. Will they spend it wandering around in the wilderness in fear and trembling or will they mature in their confidence in the full sufficiency of Jesus and experience God’s rest in the here and now? The author is confident that his readers will not experience the fate of those who turned back at Kadesh Barnea. He’s confident that only good things await them. He writes, in Hebrews 6:10 “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.”

He commends his readers for their sacrificial service to other believers. But notice that it’s service motivated by love for God. What is not overlooked or what is remembered by God is “love motivated service.” Girdwood points out, “As in so many places in Scripture, work and love are joined together. Paul wrote of a ‘labor prompted by love’ (1 Thess 1:3) and John encouraged Christians to ‘not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth’ (1 John 3:18). Our writer will join these same terms in 10:24 when he exhorts his readers to ‘spur one another on toward love and good deeds.’”[1]

The good deeds that God rewards are those motivated by love. It makes no mention of good deeds motivated by guilt. Too often preachers, me included, will use guilt to move their members to get more involved. Guilt motivated service is noticed but not in a good way. When I’m nice to my wife because I was mean to my wife, she notices it right away. God does too. Good deeds that are motivated by the reward are not appreciated either. That is to pursue the gift rather than the giver! My grandsons know that I’m a good gift giver and I’m well aware of the fact that their kindnesses to me are often motivated by my gifts rather than by their love. I give gifts because I love them. I hope that my expressions of love will be understood as such and as they enjoy the gifts, they will see the love and be moved to return that love.  God demonstrated His love for us by giving the greatest gift imaginable. He “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” Jesus is God’s love gift to you and me!

[1] James Girdwood and Peter Verkruyse, Hebrews, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1997), Heb 6:9–12.