Draw Near to God (Hebrews 11:6)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. —Hebrews 11:6
When most people think about faith, they think about believing in something, though appearances may beg to differ. According to Hebrews 11:1 that’s a pretty good start. However, according to our verse, in order for our faith to be the kind that pleases God it has to contain other crucial ingredients.
The faith that pleases God is the kind that draws near to Him. God isn’t pleased with belief that trusts He’s out in the universe somewhere, without wanting to be near Him; much like a spouse would not be pleased if her cooking was enjoyed but not her company. God wants us to draw near to Him! And for the writer of Hebrews this means two things.
It means the person we are drawing close to actually exists: “We must believe that he exists.” The writer of Hebrews states what we would recognize as patently obvious. And perhaps he does this to show the insufficiency of merely believing that God exists. We must, of course, believe he is there, but we must believe one more thing: that God rewards those who seek Him.
Our pursuit to know God in Christ is not pleasing to Him any other way except that we pursue Him in order to be rewarded: “We must believe that he exists and [must believe] that he rewards those who seek him.” This is the way He looks good in our believing.
If we pursue intimacy with Christ without eagerly anticipating that it will be thoroughly rewarding for us to do so, then He looks like a lousy friend.
And if we labor on behalf of Christ and do not expect that it will yield more joy than in the service of another, then He looks like a poor master.
Whatever the reward—whether it be the reward of eternal life (Colossians 3:24), the reward of more intimate fellowship with God (James 4:8), or the reward of ruling with Christ in the age to come (Luke 19:11–27) all our rewards will serve the purpose that we grow in our enjoyment of God.
Duty will not suffice to please God, it will not free us from slavery to sins, or give us fuel for love—only a pursuit of more and more enjoyment in Christ can do these things. His company is more rewarding than the company of any sin; His service more satisfying than any other pursuit. In this faith alone is God pleased. When we pursue God not as His benefactors, but as men and women desperate for lasting joy, He rewards us and receives His rightful honor as wealthy Giver and greatest Gift.
Do you believe God rewards you when you draw near to Him?
How can drawing near to God as a rewarder not be sinfully self-seeking?
What rewards in Scripture might motivate you to draw near to God?