November 18: Hebrews 13

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God" (Heb. 13:16)

"... that which is pleasing in his sight" (Heb. 13:21)

Hebrews 13 alludes to two passages in which Christians are urged to please God. Actually, this emphasis is to be found in many New Testament passages (1 Cor. 7:32, 34; Eph. 5:10; Phil. 2:13; 4:18; Col. 1:10; 3;20; 1 Thess. 4:1; 1 Tim. 2:3; 5:4 etc.). Pleasing God is seen as a motivation for obedience - for sanctification, and is in no way viewed as contradicting the doctrine that we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone apart from any consideration of obedience or pleasing God. The mark of true justification is a life given over in gratitude to the grace of God and lived in a manner so as to please God. Paul exhorts us to "try and discern what is pleasing to the Lord" (Eph. 5:10).

What kind of things are said to please God?  Consider carefully the following, each of which is said to "please God": One specific item mentioned in the New Testament is praying for civil authorities:

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior" (1 Tim. 2:1-3).

Imagine that! Praying for the President of the United Sates (whoever he may be) pleases God.  Christ is able to produce within us good works that pleases our heavenly Father.