If [the ground] yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
The first danger of remaining a carnal Christian, remaining spiritually stunted, is falling away from the faith and falling into sin. Second, carnal Christians are in danger of losing rewards in heaven. Hebrews 6:7-8 says, “Ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” Land is supposed to produce vegetation. Christians are supposed to produce fruit in their lives. What happens to land that does not produce vegetation? It is close to being cursed. What happens to Christians who fail to produce fruit? They miss the rewards God has planned for them in heaven.
You might be thinking, “If I can just make it to heaven, that will be fine. I do not really care about eternal rewards.” Think again. In 1 Corinthians 3:15, Paul talked about the judgment seat of Christ, and he said if any Christian’s works are determined to be worthless, “he will suffer loss.” If you forgo rewards in heaven, you will experience real, measurable loss that will produce grief in your spirit as you see what could have been yours had you been more faithful to Christ. The believing Christian who remains fleshly is in danger of losing eternal rewards.
Third, the carnal Christian is in danger of facing the discipline of God. Look again at Hebrews 6:8: “It is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” That word “burned” does not refer to eternal damnation; it refers to the discipline of God. If a farmer had a piece of land that was overcome with thorns and thistles, he would not sell the land. Instead, he would burn away the thorns and thistles to prepare the land for future fruitfulness.
Maybe there are things in your life that you know are displeasing to your heavenly Father. The Bible says you are going to end up being burned–that is, you are going to face the discipline of God in your life, not because God hates you, but because He loves you. He will not allow you to remain in that carnal state without serious intervention. Hebrews 10:26-27 says, “If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment.” As a pastor, I have seen disobedient, carnal Christians experience God’s judgment through bankruptcy, illness, the loss of a loved one–not because God hates them, but because He loves them, and He does not want to see them live in disobedience. As Hebrews 12:6 says, “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Growing Up by Growing Strong” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.