HEBREWS 4:1-10

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.  For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,  God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice,  do not harden your hearts.”  For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.  There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

A Sabbath-Rest

We read in chapter three how the author of Hebrews quoted from a passage in Psalm 95. We discussed how the unbelief and disobedience of the Israelites was rebellion, but this rebellion causes us to ask, what were the consequences? God declared that the Israelites would “never enter my rest” (Hebrews 3:11).

Rest. If the Israelites who disobeyed and doubted God were not able to enter the rest of God, who can?

Is that rest still available for us to enter today?

The author of Hebrews gives us a resounding YES! He states, “Since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it” (Hebrews 4:1).The rest in the Old Testament that God promised the Israelites, was the Promised Land of Canaan. If that were the final rest, then when Joshua and the Israelites entered the Promised Land, that would have been the end of it, but clearly we see here in these passages, that the Promised Land is a foreshadowing of the rest to come for all those who believe and have put their faith in Jesus Christ. If the Promised Land was not the final destination of rest, then what is?

What is God’s rest?

  1. The rest we will find in the glory of God as we live with him forever after this life is over, where there will be no more sorrow or suffering
  2. The rest we find here on earth as we experience and know his grace over us today
  3. The fountain of living water inside of us as God’s presence lives and moves and has his being in us
  4. The pardon of our sins, the justification of being made “right” before God, the restoration of our nature to be made more and more like Jesus.

How do we enter that rest?

The good news is that God’s rest is still available for us today. The author of Hebrews warns us that this will not always be the case. It will not always be today, so while it is today, let us hear his voice and accept his offer of rest.

The Israelites who died in the desert could not enter the rest of God because they simply could not believe that God would give them such rest. Hebrews 4:2 says they had the Gospel preached to them, just as we do today, but what they heard was of no value to them? Why? BECAUSE THEY DID NOT COMBINE IT WITH FAITH.

The author of Hebrews encourages us, “Make every effort to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:11). How do we make every effort to enter that rest? Isn’t salvation free, not earned? Yes! It is a free gift to those who….BELIEVE.

As a follower of Jesus, our part is to continue in faith. And since God has given us the ability to choose to believe, then the author of Hebrews is encouraging us to not stop choosing to believe. This is the effort we make: every morning we wake up, we choose to put our faith in Jesus as long as it is still called today and as long as we are still living on this earth, waiting for him to return. If we look closely, we will see the phrases he uses that points us to this: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus,” (Heb. 3:1), “Pay careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away,” (Heb. 2:1) “Hold firmly to the faith you profess” (Heb. 4:14).

To enter the rest of God, we must believe…and keep believing, even when it’s hard, even when it doesn’t make sense, even when I feel far away from God, even when life doesn’t go the way I planned. This is what Paul encourages us in when he says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).

The author of Hebrews is cheerleading us on, shouting, “Don’t give up the faith! Keep going! You will see the fruit of your faith. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith! You will make it! Your rest will come! Don’t give in to the complaining and doubting that would overtake you. Those who have faith are the ones who overcome.”

Hold fast dear ones.