Chapter four verses eleven to sixteen: In verse 11 the Apostle Paul uses the word “diligent” to describe what our attitude must be toward God’s promised “rest”–life in His earthly kingdom following the return of Jesus Christ. See The Kingdom of God. He warned the early church and now warns us that only God’s Ten Commandments are written in stone, and that a saint can fail to enter His rest even when approaching the time of entrance. This the Israelites did after being delivered from Egyptian slavery and led to the Jordan River. The Promised (Holy) Land lay on the other side awaiting their arrival. Though Israel was less than 100 yards from the land God had promised to Abraham, hat generation of adults failed to enter it because of unbelief. God is no respecter of persons; what He did to unbelievers (the disobedient) then He will do to unbelievers now. In Him there is no shadow of turning for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore we must be diligently “labor”–overcome Satan’s temptations (Rev. 3:21)–in order to assure our acceptance into God’s kingdom.
Paul follows verse 11 with the word “For” which means that verse 12 is a continuation of verse 11. The two verses combined mean that in order to enter God’s kingdom we must obey His Word which is exact in its “sharpness.” It sharply divides right from wrong, leaving no question as to which is which. In verse 13 Paul warns that not even our thoughts and intentions are hidden from the Speaker of the Word, which Jesus said was Truth (Jn. 17:17). Verses 11 through 13 tell us that God’s Word is God Himself in written form. It is His Truth, His will, His way for those who would live eternally with Him. God’s Word also tells us that God’s Word is the Standard by which we must all judge ourselves (1 Cor. 11:31) and by which He will judge us (Jn. 12:48). Note that Paul–God’s #1 New Testament writer–included himself by using the word “we.” His inclusion of himself in his warnings and promises holds true in verses 14 through 16. Paul knew that the only guarantee from God is fairness relative to obedience or disobedience of His Word. EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO GOD’S WORD. One either obeys It or one does not. One’s choice determines one’s eternity. There is no moral mixing with the Lord–there is only right and wrong. There were only two trees in the center of the Garden of Eden. Since that time man has consumed one type of fruit or the other. To combine fruit makes one “lukewarm” and is hurled from God’s mouth as vomit (Rev. 3:16). Note that He said this to the church that thought that they “had need of nothing.” The Laodicean Church members believed themselves to be God’s pride and joy. To them His warning was true, that one must take care when he thinks he stands, lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12).
In verses 14-16 Paul emphasizes the fact that Jesus was a man like any other man. He was tempted and tried as are all other man and, through it all, remained true to His Father through obedience to Him. Because of His faith in and obedience to the Father Jesus could go boldly unto Him and commune with Him freely. The result: “He was heard because He feared” (Heb. 5:7). God the Father heard the man Jesus of Nazareth because He feared Him too much to disobey Him. Sin reveals a lack of fear of God. If Jesus the man was afraid to sin, who is churchman that he should not manifest that same fear? In 2 Corinthians 7:1 we are commanded to be focused on “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Holiness is obedience to Him. Does churchman fear God? Does churchman obey God? Does churchman reject sin in his life? No. Instead he loudly and proudly announces to the world that he is “… a sinner (supposedly) saved by grace” who, due to his (supposed) rebirth, can sin against Him with impunity. And Satan smiles. The Lord, on the other hand, is not smiling. L.J.