May He Equip You
From Gospel Translations
“Equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:21).
- Hebrews 13:21
Yesterday, we continued our exploration of the concluding portion of the epistle to the Hebrews. You may remember that we looked briefly at the fact that the book of Hebrews, because it is a letter, shares some structural similarities with other Greek letters from the time period. However, we also noted that unlike secular literature from that time, the conclusion of Hebrews includes a benediction, reflecting the Jewish background of the letter’s author.
As we have already seen, this benediction begins in Hebrews 13:20 and concludes in today’s passage. The first half of the benediction focuses on a description of the character of God. He is called the “God of peace,” reflecting the biblical truth that only the Lord Himself is able to bring lasting peace to His people. The verse also emphasizes the power of God, reminding us that He is the one who raised Christ Jesus from the dead. Finally, verse 20 reminds us of the electing grace of the Father and the love for His people demonstrated through Jesus the Christ who is the “great shepherd of the sheep.”
This brief statement of the character and power of God should give us great confidence for what comes next. In verse 21, the author expresses the blessing that he desires for his audience to receive. Because he has already reminded us that God is unchanging, we can be certain that He will do what verse 21 tells us He can do.
The author expresses his first desire: that God will “equip” us with everything good, so that we may do His will. Given the description of God’s character in verse 20, we can be confident that God will certainly equip His elect with all of the graces and gifts that they need. Moreover, the fact that we are promised gifts from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12) and that we have been given sound doctrine from the apostles also demonstrates to us that God has equipped, and will continue to equip all of His servants.
Hebrews 13:21 explains that God not only equips us, He also works in us to produce that which is pleasing in His sight. The good works that we produce are indeed our works, accomplished by God’s grace. These works, commanded by the author (see 12:12–17; 13:1–19) do not save us; rather, they evidence our salvation, since the Spirit produces good works only in those who are in Christ Jesus.
John Calvin commented that “our works, performed by the odour of Christ’s grace, emit a sweet fragrance in God’s presence, while otherwise they would have a fetid smell.” Our works do not justify us; yet, they do sanctify us by God’s grace. When you do good, remember that God receives such works as sweet-smelling incense.
Passages for Further Study