God’s Equipping (Hebrews 13:21)
Hebrews 13:21, “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Equipping with Everything Good
As the author brings his book to a close, he pronounces one of the most beautiful benedictions in all the Bible on his hearers. In the previous verse, he reminded them that God is the God of the peace who resurrected Jesus from the dead. Jesus is our great shepherd, the great shepherd of the sheep. The Father raised Jesus from the dead because He was satisfied with the work He accomplished (Rom. 4:25). Jesus was raised by the blood of the eternal covenant.
This is the God the author asking to bless these people. What is he asking God to do for them? The first part of his request is that God would equip them with everything good. What a beautiful request. Notice the scope of his request. He is not asking God to equip them with just a little good or a medium amount of good. He is asking the good would equip them with everything good.
The scope is big because our God is big. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then He can equip us with everything good. There is a confidence in God here that He can and will answer this prayer because of Christ.
The Reason for the Equipping
What does everything good mean? The next line helps us understand. God is being asked to equip the readers with everything good that they may do His will. This phrase defines what everything good is and gives us the reason for God equipping us with everything good.
If we are going to live in God’s will, we will need God’s help. We will need His grace. The will of God for our lives is always sustained by the grace of God. This is how God can work within us that which is pleasing in His sight. He is working His will within us for His glory
This language is reminiscent of Paul’s language in Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
God’s will is good because He is good. This is what He is equipping us with. This is what the author means by everything good the will of God.
God’s work is an enabling work so that we may do His will. God does not equip us to be inactive. He equips us to be active and to do the good works that He created beforehand for us to do (Eph. 2:10). There is no excuse for being a lazy Christian. God equips us by His grace in Christ, and we move forward in obedience to His will.
The author’s beautiful benediction asks God to equip us with His goodwill so that we may do it.
God’s Working in Us
Lest we think in our activity that it is something we conjure up, the next phrase of the verse reminds us that when we do God’s will, it is because He is working in us. He is working in us that which is pleasing in His sight. Philippians 2:12-13 may come to mind when you read this verse and, in particular, this phrase.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Praise God that He is the one who is working in us that which is pleasing in His sight. He enables us to do His will. He supplies the power for obedience. Do we need to obey? Yes! But why do we obey? Because God is working in us that which is pleasing in His sight.
This is not the first time in chapter 13 the author has discussed actions that are pleasing in God’s sight. In Hebrews 3:16, he wrote, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” God works for His pleasure, and we should want to do His will to please Him. We can and should work to please God because we are in Christ, not because we are trying to earn our way into Christ. If this is to happen, God must do it. He must work within us that which is pleasing to Him.
Connected to Christ
This request is not disconnected from Jesus. He is the reason we can ask. The request is sandwiched in between references to Christ. The preceding verse spoke of His resurrection and His blood of the eternal covenant. Now the author is asking God to do this work through Jesus Christ. This is a great reminder to us that we come to God in prayer through Jesus and because of Jesus. This is not the first time we see this in Hebrews. In Hebrews 4, the author declares that Jesus is our Great High Priest and then exhorts us to come boldly to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-16). It is all because of Jesus.
Glory to God
As this benediction ends, we are reminded that it is being asked for God’s glory. The author is asking God to do this so He might receive glory forever and ever. May our prayers be motivated by God’s glory. To see His glory spread over the face of the earth.
May God do this great work of equipping us with His goodwill so that He may be pleased with us and glorified by us. Amen. Let it be so.