If it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
What is the ultimate conclusion of spiritual immaturity? Hebrews 6:7 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.” In agriculture, when you have a fertile piece of land, you plant a seed in it, the rain comes, it grows, and it produces fruit. It is the same way with a Christian. When we trust in Christ, the seed of salvation is planted in our fertile hearts. As we nourish that seed with God’s Word and God’s people, fruit ought to be produced in our lives.
But what happens if a piece of land does not produce fruit? Verse 8 says, “If it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” We read that word “burned” and think he is talking about Hell. But in the book of Hebrews, the word “burn” refers to the judgment, the discipline of God. In those days, if a piece of land was unproductive, as a last resort the farmer would burn away the undergrowth to prepare the land for further productivity. It is the same way in a Christian’s life. If we are disobedient and unfruitful, we do not lose our salvation, but we face the fire of God’s discipline to make us more productive.
There are three consequences the Bible says await spiritually immature and disobedient Christians. First, immature Christians lose the benefits of their salvation in this life. Many Christians fail to experience the kind of relationships God wants them to have, the peace He gives no matter what they face, and the freedom that comes from forgiving others. They never experience any of the benefits of salvation because they have never grown in Christ.
Second, immature Christians lose their rewards in the next life. Hebrews 6:8 says if you live disobediently, you are “close to being cursed.” When you face God, you face Him without any rewards. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul said our works will be tried by the fire of God. After that evaluation, some Christians will see that their lives were like gold, silver, and precious stones. They were built around eternal things. Other people’s lives will be like wood, hay, and straw that is consumed by the fire of God’s judgment. They built their lives around the things of this world.
Finally, immature Christians face the discipline of God. If you keep on sinning after knowing the truth, then nothing remains except the judgment of God. Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Not all problems in our lives are the result of disobedience to God, but some are. You may be going through some difficulties right now, and at the root of those problems is God’s discipline. Just as a loving parent doesn’t allow his child to continue in rebellion but brings severe discipline in their life, God does that with us. For whom the Lord loves He disciplines. God loves us too much to allow us to continue in disobedience.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Falling Away From God” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.