Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
The awesome and merciful once-for-all sacrifice of Christ demands that we look only to Him and cling to Him by faith for our salvation (Heb. 12:1–2). The fact that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (13:8) guarantees that those whom He loves and has elected unto salvation will most certainly hold onto Jesus and never finally fall away. Nevertheless, this election is worked out in our lives through our obedience to the means God has given to us to enable our faith to stand firm (12:12–17). We demonstrate that we are elect and that we truly partake of the benefits of Christ only as we live lives reflecting His sacrifice and by offering Him the obedience that He demands (13:1–15).
Yesterday, we examined the importance of worshiping God and the strength that such worship gives us to persevere in the race (v. 15). When we offer up a sacrifice of praise through Christ, by faith we enter into the very throne room of heaven itself and receive grace and power from God almighty Himself. However, praising God is not the only way to offer sacrifices. As today’s passage declares, a life of true worship also entails doing good to others and sharing what we have, “for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (v. 16).
True biblical piety always involves service — first to other believers in need and then to the needy in the unbelieving world. Under the old covenant, landowners were not to harvest every single speck of grain; rather, they were to leave some behind so that the poor could glean the fields and not go hungry (Lev. 19:9–10). Under the new covenant, we are reminded that true, living faith manifests itself in a willingness to share with the poor (James 2:14–17).
There are many ways we can fulfill this command to do good and to share with those in need. We can volunteer our time to service in the church. We can help to satisfy the needs of others in our congregation by donating money or possessions. We can support missionaries who preach the Gospel and perform works of mercy.
If we neglect such works of mercy, we do not truly bring glory to God because we have neglected His law. On this point, John Calvin reminds us that when “love does not prevail among us, we not only rob men of their right, but God himself.”
It is a sad state of affairs when many evangelicals do not donate their time or money as they could in service to the church and to mankind. Take some time to look at your priorities, and see if there is something more you can do with your time, money, or possessions to fulfill this command. Then, ask God to convict you to that end.