There are several warnings in the book of Hebrews against Christians losing their faith and falling away.
One of these reads as follows: “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:7-8; NKJV)
To be sure, Hebrews 6:8 is a powerful warning.
But the starkness of verse 8 is contrasted with the beautiful imagery found in the previous verse: “the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it.”
Let us take a moment to think about that idea: Christians are like soil, watered frequently by the rain God sends and in this blessed state they bring forth abundant fruit for the Lord.
Rain which falls upon the land in the spring and summer is indeed a blessing: a sign of God’s love and care (cf. Matthew 5:45). When the rains don’t come, and the land grows dry, men despair and worry about their crops. At the same time, all too often, when the rains are regular, and the crops grow bountifully, we take that rain for granted.
The “rain” that God sends upon His people is plentiful and frequent and there are no spiritual droughts of God’s making. In Christ we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). God so loved us that He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10) God so loved us that He gave us His holy word which is able to make us wise unto salvation, instruct us in every good thing, and prepare us for every good work (cf. 2 Timothy 3:15-17). God so loved us that He hears the prayers of His saints, and He answers them. (cf. 1 John 5:14) God so loved us that He has promised that all things will, in the end, work to the good of those that love Him and answer His call, thus giving us an unshakeable hope and joy. (cf. Romans 8:28ff) He has confirmed in His word, and God cannot lie, that there is eternal life in His son (cf. Titus 1:2).
Yes, the spiritual blessings of God are like the rain, and they come often to the saint who spends time in God’s word, reflecting upon the promises of God, and allowing those promises to strengthen and encourage the soul. As the beloved apostle John noted, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)
When we consider the multitude of God’s abundant blessings upon His followers, it is slightly disheartening that more don’t take advantage of these blessings. Unlike the land, which has no choice in whether to receive the rain or not, individuals have a constant choice whether to heed God or not.
Thus the Scriptures tell us, “blessed is the man who does not walk in the council of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water …” (Psalms 1:1-3a)
We have a choice whether to delight in God’s word, from whence comes so many blessings, or whether to listen to the councils of worldly men and order our lives according to their principles. The blessings are there, ready to be drunk in by those willing to receive them.
Just as disheartening are those souls who do indeed drink of the blessings of God, but yet never choose to produce anything of value with those blessings. Like a garden untended, the heart can produce a multitude of weeds and thorns; thorns that Jesus warned would choke out spiritual productivity (cf. Matthew 13:22). But again we have a choice what kind of fruit we bear. If we drink in the blessings, but focus our hearts on money and the cares of the world, then the blessings will not bring forth the fruit God wants.
The message is this: God has poured out manifold blessings, raining them down upon all who would receive them. Whether you accept those blessings, and how you use them is up to you.
The church of Christ invites you to learn more of the blessings God offers through His Son Jesus Christ. Come study and worship with us at 234 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ.