(Vs. 7-8) The apostle illustrates what he has taught in the first six verses. The rain falls on the earth. In some places the ground is good, rich, and fertile; and there fruit and vegetables grow for man. This is blessed ground for which we are grateful. But in some places nothing grows but thorns and briars that are of no value, fit only to be burned.
The rain is the GRACE OF GOD and THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (I Thess. 1:4-10). Where the gospel comes in power by the Holy Spirit, it brings forth the fruit of the Spirit and the fruits of repentance, faith, and righteousness to the glory of God. This is the good ground blessed of God (I Cor. 3:6). All other ground produces evil, hate, unbelief, self-righteousness, and pride. These are of no use to God or men, only to be destroyed (Mark 4:14-20).
(Vs. 9) The apostle addresses all believers as beloved of the Lord and of him. I am persuaded better things of you than thorns, briars, and cursing. I am convinced that He Who called you to Christ will also accompany that regenerating work with the grace of His Spirit and the fruits of righteousness. If the Spirit of God dwells in a person, the fruits of the Spirit to different degrees will be revealed (Gal. 5:22; Rom. 8:9).
(Vs. 10) Their work of faith and labor of love in His name and to others is really not theirs but His work in them and through them, yet it is called theirs because it is done by their faculties and hearts by the grace of God (Eph. 2:8-10; Gal. 2:20-21). God is faithful to those whom He has called and who walk in His love (Matt. 10:40-42). "He giveth more grace as the burdens grow greater. He sendeth more strength as the labors increase. To added affliction He sendeth His mercy, to multiplied trials His multiplied peace." He said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient."
(Vs. 11) I desire that every one of you show the same diligence in the exercise of faith and love (ministering to one another faithfully, forgiving, showing mercy, trusting the Redeemer), not only that you may keep up a hope of eternal life, but that you should grow to a full and confident assurance of that hope until the day God calls you home (I Peter 2:1-2; II Peter 3:18).
(Vs. 12) Do not grow disinterested and careless in spiritual matters (Gal. 5:16-17); but be imitators of men like Abraham, who through faith, patience, and perseverance inherited the promise. Study the many trials of Abraham from the day of his calling to old age. He remained faithful, revealing to all the sole object of his faith--he believed God!
(Vs. 13-15) God made a promise to Abraham a son, a nation, a covenant, a better land (Gen. 22:17; Gal. 3:16). He swore this by Himself because He could swear by no greater. Abraham believed God and went out. He spent his whole life as a wanderer, but by faith he saw all that God promised (Rom. 4:19-22). He never quit amid all the trials God was pleased to allow. Faith is not a once-for-all isolated act, but a continuous state of heart. "I believe God!"
(Vs. 16) When men make a promise, they swear by the greater; for there is always One greater than men; and when an oath is taken about a matter that is doubtful, it settles the matter.
(Vs. 17) Wherefore God, willing to show the believers the unchangeableness of His purpose and promise of life in Christ, bound Himself by an oath!
(Vs. 18) Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge from sin, judgment, the curse of the law, and condemnation have a strong encouragement to hold fast to our hope in Christ based on two unchangeable things (1) God's promise and (2) God's oath! It is impossible for God to lie, and it is impossible for God to break His oath (Mal. 3:6; Rom. 11:29).
(Vs. 19) Now we have this hope and confidence as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. It cannot slip and cannot let us drift away. It is a hope which reaches to the very certainty of His presence, within the veil.
(Vs. 20) Here Christ our Lord has already entered in, representing us. He appears for us and intercedes for us and prepares a place for us! (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14.)