God is not unrighteous - God is only bound to men by his own promise: this promise he is not obliged to make; but, when once made, his righteousness or justice requires him to keep it; therefore, whatever he has promised he will certainly perform. But he has promised to reward every good work and labor of love, and he will surely reward yours; God's promise is God's debt.
Every good work must spring from faith in the name, being, and goodness of God; and every work that is truly good must have love for its motive, as it has God for its end.
The word του κοπου, labor, prefixed to love, is wanting in almost every MS. and version of importance. Griesbach has left it out of the text.
Ministered to the saints - Have contributed to the support and comfort of the poor Christians who were suffering persecution in Judea. As they had thus ministered, and were still ministering, they gave full proof that they had a common cause with the others; and this was one of the things that proved them to be in a state of salvation.
For God is not unrighteous - God will do no wrong. He will not forget or fail to reward the endeavors of his people to promote his glory, and to do good. The meaning here is, that by their kindness in ministering to the wants of the saints, they had given full evidence of true piety. If God should forget that, it would be “unrighteous:
(1)because there was a propriety that it should be remembered; and,
(2)because it is expressly promised that it shall not fail of reward; Matthew 10:42.
Your work - Particularly in ministering to the wants of the saints.
Labour of love - Deeds of benevolence when there was no hope of recompense, or when love was the motive in doing it.
Which ye have showed toward his name - Toward him - for the word “name” is often used to denote the person himself. They had showed that they loved God by their kindness to his people; Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
In that ye have ministered to the saints - You have supplied their wants. This may refer either to the fact that they contributed to supply the wants of the poor members of the church (compare the note on Galatians 2:10), or it may refer to some special acts of kindness which they had shown to suffering and persecuted Christians. It is not possible now to know to what particular acts the apostle refers. We may learn.
(1)that to show kindness to Christians, because they are Christians, is an important evidence of piety.
(2)it will in no case be unrewarded. God is not “unjust;” and he will remember an act of kindness shown to his people - even though it be nothing but giving a cup of cold water.
Our spiritual strength and blessing will be proportionate to the labor of love and good works which we perform. The injunction of the apostle is, “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Keeping the commandments of God requires of us good works, self-denial, self-sacrifice, and devotion for the good of others, not that our good works alone can save us, but that we surely cannot be saved without good works. After we have done all that we are capable of doing we are then to say, We have done no more than our duty, and at best are unprofitable servants, unworthy of the smallest favor from God. Christ must be our righteousness.... TMK 334.3Read in context »