Understanding God’s love for us as it was demonstrated on Calvary is the central tenant of Biblical Christianity. The author of Hebrews wishes for his readers to mature in their understanding of God’s love and to, as Paul said in Ephesians 3:17, “sink their roots deep into God’s love” which will result in true love motivated service. The fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control draw nutrients from God’s love. That’s what produces mature fruit. The adult food, or meat, of Christianity is the Bible as it unfolds to us God’s love in deeper and more profound ways as we grow to understand more and more about Jesus. The author is about to cut up a thick steak for us when he re-introduces Melchizedek into his discussion in chapter 7. He sees Jesus in Melchizedek and God’s love for sinners described and presented in a new and dynamic way.

The writer of Hebrews is not saying “get to work” for Jesus! He is saying “accept the work that Jesus did for you.” Grow in appreciating God’s love for you, through the revealed truths of the Bible in all its multi-faceted revelation. The Bible often encourages us to be zealous and earnest with God. But too many take this to mean “try harder” or “do more.” It means to focus on our efforts to become more righteous. But that’s a mistake. That’s what the religious leaders did in Jesus’ day and many continue to do in our own days. Larry Richards has it right. He says, “The people of Israel were truly zealous for God. But their zeal had been misdirected. They thought that God would be pleased if they rigorously kept the details of His Law. In their focus on the details, they missed the real meaning and purpose of God’s ancient commands.”[1] The purpose of the law was to convict man of his sinfulness and point him to the Messiah who would fulfill the law for us. Paul writes in Romans 10:2-4, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

The writer of Hebrews tells his readers what he wants for them. In Hebrews 6:11 he  says, “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness…” He does not wish for them to seek their own righteousness through good works. He wants them to find true righteousness through a maturing faith in Jesus. When I focus on my own righteousness I become frustrated, stressed out and discouraged because I’m a natural born sinner and will always fail. I’ll live my life in fear because I know I have no righteousness of my own. But when we put our faith in Jesus’ righteousness, we find true rest. This is how the author of Hebrews finishes 6:11. He explains why he wants us to be earnest about God’s love for us expressed in Jesus. If we trust in Jesus we can “…have the full assurance of hope until the end…”

[1] Larry Richards and Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1987), 609.