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What Profits?

 

Hebrews4-2Hebrews 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Notice in the lead-in verse that there are two groups of people. Both groups have heard the gospel of Christ, but only one group profited from having heard it. To “profit” would be to benefit from or to favorably advance one’s circumstances – to receive good (gain) from something done. The verse clearly reveals that “faith” was the distinguishing difference between those who profited and those who did not. Understanding what “faith” is shall be the necessary clue to understanding what profits.

The Word of God states: Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith begins with hearing God’s Word or the gospel. Faith comes about as a result of hearing, but hearing is not faith. Both groups of people above “heard,” but only one group was profited. Faith goes beyond hearing.

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith is belief that is developed carefully (thoroughly) with great effort and perseverance by seeking out the will of God (assiduous) – the desire to “know” God (search out). In other words, seek the Lord fully, completely and constantly – draw nigh to God (James 4:8, Ps 73:28). To draw nigh is to be close in fellowship and intimate in relationship – to walk together (Amos 3:3).

We diligently seek a God whom we have never seen through faith. 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Such faith must reach beyond the human senses or flesh.

psalm58-11Consider Enoch: Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” AND Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” One realizes that there is a great profit or benefit (reward) to know and serve God. Psalms 58:11, “So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.” Enoch walked with God and pleased God and thus did not see death. In God’s favor is life (Ps 30:5).

Faith is a way of life in which your “belief” translates into “actions” and affects everything you do. The just shall live by faith (Hab 2:4, Rm 1:17, Gal 2:20, 3:11, Heb 10:38). Who are the just? God defined who the “just” are when describing Job: Job 1:8, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” To “fear God” is to love Him and desire to walk in His ways. Psalms 128:1, “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.” “Fear” and “faith” are essentially the same thing. Psalms 25:14, “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” – These are the righteous (Prov 3:32).

To “eschew evil” is to avoid, shun or abstain from anything that is contrary to God (that which opposes the Lord, Ps 37:27). By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil (Prov 16:6). In other words, in desiring to please God, we abstain from that which displeases God. Evil is found in the lusts and desires of the flesh which are contrary to the will of God (Romans chap 8). Psalms 119:101, “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.” Therefore: Galatians 6:8, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

psalm34-9-10God’s eye is on those who fear Him and the Lord delivers them from death (Ps 33:18-19, Ps 85:9). Those who fear and trust in God shall not want for any good thing (Ps 34:9-10). There is great profit in serving the Lord! Our service or duty to God must translate into our heart’s desire (Eccl 12:13, Mt 22:37, Lk 10:27). Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” How is this achieved? You do as Enoch and walk with God; you draw nigh in fellowship and become intimate in relationship.

The essence of faith is your love, surrender, obedience, trust, belief and devotion toward God. Faith is seeking out God’s will and walking in it. Faith is loyalty to God and thus avoiding that which opposes Him. We are to be grounded, settled, rooted, built up, steadfast, and stablished in faith (Col 1:23, 2:5, 7, 1 Thess 3:13). Our faith is to be held in pure conscience (1 Tim 3:9). We fight the good fight of faith, stand fast, and lay hold on eternal life (1 Cor 16:13, 1 Tim 6:12). In other words, we live by faith and thus obtain the profit or benefit of eternal life. 1 John 2:25, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life (also Rm 2:7, Ti 1:2, James 1:12).” John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (also 1 Jn 5:20).” To “know” God is to walk with God.

Faith produces God’s purposes in/through you. James 2:17-18, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Obedience to God’s will brings forth the Lord’s purposes.

So, when one hears the truth of God’s Word and then mixes that with the desire to live God’s Word (application) through belief, love, surrender, obedience, trust and devotion, there is great profit. To mix is to become joined, united or blended. What we “hear” and what we “do” must become blended or united. Therefore: James 1:22-25, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” A “doer” of God’s Word is profited by the Lord’s truth.

We are justified (pardoned from guilt and punishment from having violated God’s will) before God by faith (Rm 3:28, 5:1, Gal 2:16, 3:24). Faith is our righteousness (Rm 1:17, 3:22, 4:5, 9, 11, 13, 9:30, 10:6, Gal 5:5, Php 3:9, Heb 11:7). Righteousness is conformity of heart and life to God’s will. We are saved through faith (Eph 2:8, 2 Tim 3:15, 1 Pt 1:5, 9). When you hear God’s Word and apply it to your life and live it from your heart, then God realizes His original purpose in you – you become reconciled (through Jesus) to the life that is in God.

An Example

Genesis6-9Noah heard God’s Word (Gen 6:13-21). Noah believed God’s Word – the truthfulness of the declaration. How do we know this? We know that Noah believed God because Noah acted upon God’s Word in obedience to it. Noah’s faith produced a great work – an ark. This hearing of God’s Word mixed with faith profited or benefited Noah to the saving of his house. Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

We need to realize that Noah’s faith reached beyond his flesh (its capability or understanding) to believe God’s Word (command/will/purpose). There was no way that Noah, through his flesh, could know for certainty that a global flood was coming. Noah had to reach beyond the flesh and trust in God to the extent that he would spend 120 years building an ark. Noah’s belief also required action or obedience to God’s direction. Had Noah believed the truthfulness of God’s declaration, yet done nothing, it would have profited him nothing. In other words, if Noah, having heard God’s Word, did not mix what he heard with faith, he would not have benefited – there would have been no ark. He and his family would have perished in the flood even though he believed the flood was coming.

Why should God be concerned with Noah? Genesis 6:8-9, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” The perfect and upright man feareth God and escheweth evil (Job 1:1, 8, 2:3). Noah believed God and obeyed His will and avoided the evil and wickedness that the whole earth was consumed in all around him (Gen 6:5, 11-12). It was said of Noah: Genesis 6:22, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” God delighted in Noah and thus saved him when all others perished.

God’s will or purposes became Noah’s life! Noah spent his every daily effort accomplishing the will of God. Had Noah sought his own will or life, then the ark would not have been built and he and his family would have perished in the flood. In other words, disobedience to the will of God always results in death. To seek your will or life is to disregard God’s will. This is why Jesus said: Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Noah lost his life to find life in God. The Lord offers life to those who serve Him, but not to those who serve “self.” Noah’s service to God was not found in religious attendance, ritual or ceremony, but rather in everything he did everyday. Service to God is not in form, but rather in function and utility.

Obedience to the will of God always results in life. Noah’s obedience to God’s direction saved himself, his family and a representative group of all animals. Noah’s obedience to do God’s will preserved life on earth! Furthermore, everything alive on earth today, can, in a sense, thank Noah for his faithfulness. Your faithfulness or lack thereof has a direct impact upon others. It was noted earlier: Genesis 6:22, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” This statement is the essence of hearing God’s Word and mixing it with faith. Noah and his family lived, but everyone else on earth died (Gen 7:22-23)! Noah profited, but the wicked did not – they perished.

The ark was Noah’s refuge from what was coming upon the earth. It was to Noah’s profit or advantage to build it. Psalms 62:8, “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Noah’s fear or obedience to God was for his profit. Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” Noah’s children did have refuge from the flood that consumed the entire world due to Noah’s fear of God. AMEN! In the very same sense, we must also construct our arks through a lifetime of obedience to God’s will.

The Lord is good and the righteous will trust in him. Proverbs 12:28, “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” Isaiah 48:17, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

Conclusion

2Cor5-7Faith is essentially to hear God’s Word, believe it and then fully apply and obey it. Such faith is beyond the understanding of the flesh and its senses – a bypass. For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). God has deemed that no flesh shall glory in His presence (1 Cor 1:29). God will not be pleased by that which opposes Him (the flesh, Rm 8:8).

Such faith results in a reward from God (a profit). Faith obeys God and walks in His ways. Obedience to God always results in life. Therefore: those who hear the gospel and mix it with faith will receive the reward or profit of eternal life. These walk with God and are reconciled to God. Through faith and patience we inherit the promises (Ps 37:9, 11, 34, Heb 6:12, James 1:3, Rev 14:12). 1 Peter 1:9, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

Enoch’s testimony was that he pleased God! Noah’s testimony was that he did all that God commanded him! Let us go forth and do likewise for the Lord our God.

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The author has written five books and periodically writes other articles, tracts and books as the Lord puts them on his heart. These are offered free of charge and may be obtained by writing: 209 Cedar Pond Dr., Madison, Al. 35757

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