Hebrews 6:10
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) In expressing the ground of his hope he does not directly say, “For I have heard of your fruitfulness;” he implies this, and then, in accordance with the parable of Hebrews 6:7, he declares that God will surely bestow the promised reward. Herein lies his hope. Man’s work cannot in itself merit reward from God, but (1John 1:9) the righteous God cannot neglect His own promise and law that such works shall receive reward.

Your work and labour of love.—The best MSS. omit “labour”; so that the words run thus: to forget your work, and the love which ye showed toward His name. The “fruit” consisted in brotherly love, but it was offered unto God (Hebrews 6:7); the bond of brotherhood was the joint relation to “His name” (Hebrews 2:10). With the last words compare Romans 15:26; Romans 15:31.

6:9,10 There are things that are never separated from salvation; things that show the person to be in a state of salvation, and which will end in eternal salvation. And the things that accompany salvation, are better things than ever any dissembler or apostate enjoyed. The works of love, done for the glory of Christ, or done to his saints for Christ's sake, from time to time, as God gives occasion, are evident marks of a man's salvation; and more sure tokens of saving grace given, than the enlightenings and tastings spoken of before. No love is to be reckoned as love, but working love; and no works are right works, which flow not from love to Christ.For God is not unrighteous - God will do no wrong. He will not forget or fail to reward the endeavors of his people to promote his glory, and to do good. The meaning here is, that by their kindness in ministering to the wants of the saints, they had given full evidence of true piety. If God should forget that, it would be "unrighteous:

(1) because there was a propriety that it should be remembered; and,

(2) because it is expressly promised that it shall not fail of reward; Matthew 10:42.

Your work - Particularly in ministering to the wants of the saints.

Labour of love - Deeds of benevolence when there was no hope of recompense, or when love was the motive in doing it.

Which ye have showed toward his name - Toward him - for the word "name" is often used to denote the person himself. They had showed that they loved God by their kindness to his people; Matthew 25:40, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

In that ye have ministered to the saints - You have supplied their wants. This may refer either to the fact that they contributed to supply the wants of the poor members of the church (compare the note on Galatians 2:10), or it may refer to some special acts of kindness which they had shown to suffering and persecuted Christians. It is not possible now to know to what particular acts the apostle refers. We may learn.

(1) that to show kindness to Christians, because they are Christians, is an important evidence of piety.

(2) it will in no case be unrewarded. God is not "unjust;" and he will remember an act of kindness shown to his people - even though it be nothing but giving a cup of cold water.

10. not unrighteous—not unfaithful to His own gracious promise. Not that we have any inherent right to claim reward; for (1) a servant has no merit, as he only does that which is his bounden duty; (2) our best performances bear no proportion to what we leave undone; (3) all strength comes from God; but God has promised of His own grace to reward the good works of His people (already accepted through faith in Christ); it is His promise, not our merits, which would make it unrighteous were He not to reward His people's works. God will be no man's debtor.

your work—your whole Christian life of active obedience.

labour of love—The oldest manuscripts omit "labor of," which probably crept in from 1Th 1:3. As "love" occurs here, so "hope," Heb 6:11, "faith," Heb 6:12; as in 1Co 13:13: the Pauline triad. By their love he sharpens their hope and faith.

ye have showed—(Compare Heb 10:32-34).

toward his name—Your acts of love to the saints were done for His name's sake. The distressed condition of the Palestinian Christians appears from the collection for them. Though receiving bounty from other churches, and therefore not able to minister much by pecuniary help, yet those somewhat better off could minister to the greatest sufferers in their Church in various other ways (compare 2Ti 1:18). Paul, as elsewhere, gives them the utmost credit for their graces, while delicately hinting the need of perseverance, a lack of which had probably somewhat begun to show itself.

For introduceth the reason of the apostle’s former persuasion concerning them, which was the real graces of faith and love to God wrought in their hearts, and shown in their work, which was better than all enlightenings.

God is not unrighteous; the affirmative is implied, God is just, and faithful, and true, in performing what he promiseth, as well as not unrighteous: the certain truth is asserted in this emphatical negative; compare 2 Thessalonians 1:6,7, with 1Jo 1:9: should he not perform he would be unjust.

To forget your work: God always remembers all things, because his knowledge is perfect; and he will take notice of grace in these Hebrews manifested by their works, so as to recompense and reward them for it, by perfecting his gracious work in them; which having promised, the apostle is confident of the good estate of them through grace, Philippians 1:6. He will never forget the work of your faith in his name, your courageous profession of the gospel, Galatians 5:6 Colossians 1:4 1 Thessalonians 1:3: a grace of God in them which made their souls delight in him, such as was purely Divine, beginning and ending in God, carried out in the labour and exercise of it to his glory, showing it in all the supplies they give his in his name, to Christians as they are his, Mark 9:41.

And labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister: their labour of love was evidenced by what they had done, and were doing, for Christ, in their using all effectual means for supplying, comforting, preserving, and delivering his members, giving their goods to them, and their lives for them, 1Jo 3:10-18. So the apostle asserts these did, Hebrews 10:32-34. So did Aquila and Priscilla love Paul, Romans 16:3,4. And this they did show to such as were God’s children, and bore his name, the present suffering Christians, who endured rifling, plundering, banishing, imprisonment, and death for their faith in Christ’s name: those brethren who, being loved in and for God, do evidence to these Hebrews that they are passed from death to life, 1Jo 3:14. For God is not unrighteous,.... He is just and true, righteous in all his ways and works; there is no unrighteousness nor unfaithfulness in him; and this the apostle makes a reason of his strong persuasion of better things concerning the believing Hebrews; because he was well satisfied of the good work upon them, and he was assured that God was not unrighteous and unfaithful:

to forget your work: which is not to be understood of any good work done by them, for these are generally expressed in the plural number; and besides, these, if at all, are designed in the next clause; moreover, external good works, or such as appear to men to be so, are performed by hypocrites; nor can they be said to be better things, at least, not such as men are saved by: men may fall from these; and supposing them intended, the merit of works cannot be established, as is attempted from hence by the Papists; for the apostle could only consider them as fruits, not as causes of salvation; they are imperfect, and cannot justify, and therefore cannot save; they do not go before to procure salvation, but follow after, and, at most, but accompany; and though God does remember and not forget them, this is owing to his grace, and not to their merit; God's righteousness in remembering them regards not a debt of justice, but a point of faithfulness: but this is to be understood of the work of God upon them, called in Scripture a good work, and the work of faith; and is elsewhere joined, as here, with the labour of love; see 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and this might be called their work, not because wrought by them, but because it was wrought in them; and the grace that came along with it was exercised by them: now from hence the apostle might be persuaded of better things of them, even such as accompany salvation; since this work is a fruit of everlasting and unchangeable love, and is itself immortal, and the beginning of eternal life; and particularly faith is the effect of electing grace; shall never fail; is the means of the saints' preservation; and is connected with everlasting salvation: it follows,

and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name; the word "labour" is omitted in the Alexandrian copy, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions: this may be understood either of love to God, the name of God being put for himself; who is to be loved for his own sake, on account of the perfections of his nature, as well as for the works of his hands; and which is to be showed for the sake of glorifying him: and this love is laborious; it sets a man to work for God; nor are any works to be regarded but what spring from love to God, and to his name; and from hence the apostle might entertain a good hope of these persons, since their love to God was an effect of God's love to them, is a part of the work of grace, and cannot be lost; all things work together for good to such as love God; and these have a crown of life promised unto them: or else it may be understood of love to the saints, as follows,

in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister; in seeking both their temporal and spiritual good; and though all men in general are to be loved, yet especially the saints, who are set apart by God, whose sins are expiated by Christ, and who are sanctified by the Spirit; and love to them being laborious, and appearing in many instances, and this shown for the Lord's sake, for his name's sake, might lead the apostle more strongly to conclude better things of them, even things of a saving nature; since charity or love to the saints is better than gifts, and is the evidence of grace, of passing from death to life, and of being the disciples of Christ; see 1 Corinthians 13:1.

{5} For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

(5) He praises them for their charity, by this encouraging them to go forward, and to hold out to the end.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 6:10. Reason for the good confidence expressed Hebrews 6:9.

οὐ γὰρ ἄδικος ὁ θεός, ἐπιλαθέσθαι] for God is not unjust, that He should forget. God exercises retributive righteousness. Since, then, the readers have performed, and do still perform, actions worthy of Christian recognition, it is to be expected that God will be mindful thereof, and, provided they will only perform their own part fully (comp. Hebrews 6:11-12), will conduct them with His grace and lead them to the possession of salvation. A claim to demand salvation of God, on account of their behaviour, is not conceded by the words of Hebrews 6:10; only as a factor which God, by virtue of His retributive righteousness, will take into account in connection with the final result, is this brought forward for the consolation and encouragement of the readers; while, moreover, reference is at once made anew, Hebrews 6:11 f., to the still unsatisfactory character of their Christian state, and in general to the peril of falling again from their state of grace.

ἐπιλαθέσθαι] The infinitive aorist expresses the mere verbal notion, without respect to the relation of time. See Kühner, II. § 445, 2. It is to be taken neither in the sense of a preterite (Seb. Schmidt: ut oblitus sit) nor of a future (Bisping and others).

τοῦ ἔργου ὑμῶν] your work (as lying completed), i.e. that which you have done. The expression is quite general. A more precise limitation thereof may be found in the following καὶ τῆς ἀγάπης, by taking καί as the epexegetic “and indeed,” “and that.” So Peshito, as also Kurtz and Woerner. But since, in any case, the passage Hebrews 10:32 ff. is to be compared as a real (though not verbal) parallel to the statement Hebrews 6:10, and there, in addition to the love displayed, the stedfastness manifested by the readers under persecutions is lauded, it is most natural, with Schlichting, Grotius, and others, to suppose that just to this the general τοῦ ἔργου ὑμῶν in our passage also more especially alluded.

τῆς ἀγάπης] has not in itself alone the notion of love “to the brethren,” in such wise that εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ would have to be translated: “for His name” (Matthew 10:41-42; Matthew 18:20), i.e. to His honour (Vulgate: in nomine ejus; Böhme and others: ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ, Matthew 18:5). On the contrary, τῆς ἀγάπης acquires its object in the εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, to be construed in relation to ἧς ἐνεδείξασθε (not to διακονήσαντες κ.τ.λ., to which Beza was inclined). Thus: the love which ye have shown to His name (sc. God’s name, not Christ’s, Ernesti and others). This is the more general object, which only then obtains its more special reference and indication of purport by διακονήσαντες κ.τ.λ. A love exercised towards Christian brethren, inasmuch as Christians, as God’s children, bear the name of God.

διακονήσαντες τοῖς ἁγίοις] in that ye have rendered service to the saints (the fellow-Christians), have aided them when they were in distress and affliction (not specially: in poverty). But that this was not merely a virtue exercised once for all, but one still continuously exercised, is clearly brought out by the addition καὶ διακονοῦντες.Hebrews 6:10. οὐ γὰρ ἄδικος.… “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye shewed toward His name in that ye ministered and still do minister to the saints.” He recognises in their Christian activities (ἔργου ὑμῶν) and in their practical charities (τῆς ἀγάπης) things that are associated with salvation, because God’s justice demands that such service shall not be overlooked. God will bless the field which already has yielded good fruit. He will cherish Christian principle in those that have manifested it. To him that hath shall be given. Cf. especially Php 1:6. On the doctrinal bearing of the words, see Tholuck in loc. It is impossible to think of God looking with indifference upon those who serve Him or affording them no help or encouragement. τῆς ἀγάπης ἧς … the love which found expression in personal service (διακονήσαντες) to Christians (ἁγίοις), and of which examples are specified in Hebrews 10:34, was love εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, because it was prompted not by natural relationship or worldly association but by the consideration that they were God’s children and people.

Hebrews 6:11. ἐπιθυμοῦμεν δὲ.… You have manifested earnest love, cultivate as earnestly your hope; that is what I desire. The translation should therefore be “But we desire”. ἕκαστον ὑμῶν, “each one of you,” not merely as Chrysostom interprets πολλὴ ἡ φιλοστοργία· καὶ μεγάλων καὶ μικρῶν ὁμοίως κήδεται, not as Bruce, “The good shepherd goeth after even one straying sheep”; but directly in contrast to the whole body and general reputation of the Church addressed. The writer courteously implies that some already showed the zeal demanded; but he desires that each individual, even those whose condition prompted the foregoing warning, should bestir themselves. Cf. Bengel’s “non modo, ut adhuc fecistis, in communi”. τὴν αὐτὴν ἐνδείκνυσθαι σπουδὴντέλους. The same earnest diligence [σπουδή in exact opposition to νωθροί of Hebrews 5:11, Hebrews 6:12] which had been given to loving ministries, he desires they should now exercise towards a corresponding perfectness of hope—a hope which should only disappear in fruition. πληροφορία “hic non est certitudo, sed impletio sive consummatio, quo sensu πληροφ. habemus, Colossians 2:2, et 1 Thessalonians 1:5, πληροφορεῖν 2 Timothy 4:5; 2 Timothy 4:17” (Grotius). Alford insists that the subjective sense of the word is uniform in N.T. and therefore translates “the full assurance”. But the objective meaning, “completeness,” certainly suits Colossians 2:2 πᾶν τὸ πλοῦτος τ. πληροφορίας τ. συνέσεως and is not unsuitable in Hebrews 10:22 and 1 Thessalonians 1:5, while the verb πληροφορεῖν, at least in some passages, as 2 Timothy 4:5, has an objective sense. Besides, in the case before us, the one meaning involves the other, for, as Weiss himself says, hope is only then what it ought to be when a full certainty of conviction (eine volle Ueberzeugungsgewissheit) accompanies it. See also Davidson, who says “fulness or full assurance of faith and hope is not anything distinct from faith and hope, lying outside of them and to which they may lead; it is a condition of faith and hope themselves, the perfect condition”. ἄχρι τέλους the hope was to be perfect in quality and was also to be continuous “to the end,” i.e., until it had accomplished its work and brought them to the enjoyment of what was hoped for. The words attach themselves to ἐνδείκνυσθαι σπουδήν.10. to forget] The aorist implies “to forget in a moment.” Comp. Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 11:20. God, even amid your errors, will not overlook the signs of grace working in you. Comp. Jeremiah 31:16; Psalm 9:12; Amos 8:7.

and labour of love] The words “labour of” should be omitted. They are probably a gloss from 1 Thessalonians 1:3. The passage bears a vague general resemblance to 2 Corinthians 8:24; Colossians 1:4.

toward his name] which name is borne by all His children.

in that ye have ministered to the saints] In your past and present ministration to the saints, i.e. to your Christian brethren. It used to be supposed that the title “the saints” applied especially to the Christians at Jerusalem (Romans 15:25; Galatians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 16:1). This is a mistake; and the saints at Jerusalem, merged in a common poverty, perhaps a result in part of their original Communism, were hardly in a condition to minister to one another. They were (as is the case with most of the Jews now living at Jerusalem) dependent in large measure on the Chaluka or distribution of alms sent them from without.

and do minister] The continuance of their well doing proved its sincerity; but perhaps the writer hints, though with infinite delicacy, that their beneficent zeal was less active than it once had been.Hebrews 6:10. Οὐ γὰρ ἄδικος, for God is not unrighteous) i.e. He is entirely just and good.—ἀγάπης, of love) He is treating of hope, Hebrews 6:11 : of faith, Hebrews 6:12 : of love in this verse. So Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:13, and elsewhere often; likewise below, ch. Hebrews 10:22-24. He lays hold of their love, as an occasion for sharpening their faith and hope.—ἐνεδείξασθε, you have shown) Even where hope is somewhat small, from whatever cause, in present circumstances, the past is often calculated to be of great advantage: Revelation 3:10. Paul uses the same word, 2 Corinthians 8:24.—εἰς τὸ ὀνόμα αὐτοῦ, toward His name) In like manner the Hebrews use שׁם. Comp. 3 John 1:7; Matthew 10:41. The name of GOD excites true love.—διακονήσαντες τοῖς ἁγίοις, in that ye have ministered to the saints) This is the phraseology of Paul, Romans 15:25; 1 Corinthians 16:15. It was to the poor saints at Jerusalem that the ministry of beneficence was afforded: it was the brethren in Greece and Asia who afforded it. See the passages quoted. It thus frequently happens with Paul, that although he be speaking to Jews and Gentiles indiscriminately, he nevertheless employs those motives which affected either party in particular.Verse 10. - For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love (τοῦ κόπου in the Textus Receptus is ill supported, having, perhaps, been interpolated kern 1 Thessalonians 1:3) which ye showed towards his Name, in that ye ministered to the saints, and do minister. It appears that the Hebrew Christians had formerly (some especial occasion being probably referred to) been active in their charity towards fellow-Christians in distress, and that such charity had not ceased. On this is grounded the persuasion that they will be kept steadfast in the faith. Those who had so shown their faith by their works would surely not be allowed to lose it. The very idea of the Divine justice implies that the use of grace, thus evidenced, will be rewarded by continuance of grace. Cf. Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perfect it (ἐπιτελέσει) until the day of Jesus Christ; "where also there is reference to deeds of charity, shown in the case of the Philippians by their sympathy with the apostle in his bonds, which charity he prays may "abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all discernment." No difficulty need be felt in this reference to God's justice, as though it involved the doctrine of human merit, de congruo or de condigno, claiming reward as of debt. The simple and obvious view, that God, in virtue of his justice, will be most gracious to those who have used his grace, by no means contravenes the doctrine of all grace being the free gift of his bounty (cf. 1 John 1:9; Romans 2:6, etc.). Observe, too, as bearing on the idea of this passage, how the will to do the will of God is said by our Lord to be followed by knowledge of the doctrine (John 7:17), and how works of charity are the very tests of the final judgment (Matthew 25:31, etc.). He is encouraged in this confidence by the fact that they are still as formerly engaged in Christian ministries.

Your work and labor of love (τοῦ ἔργου ὑμῶν καὶ τῆς ἀγάπης)

Omit labor. The A.V. follows T.R. τοῦ κόπου. Rend. your work and the love which ye shewed, etc.

Which ye have shewed toward his name (ἧς ἐνεδείξασθε εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ)

The verb means, strictly, to show something in one's self; or to show one's self in something. similar praise is bestowed in Hebrews 10:32. They have shown both love and work toward God's name. That does not look like crucifying Christ. God is not unjust, as he would show himself to be if he were forgetful of this.

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