I’ve heard it lately on the radio, in my prayers, in sermons, in ministry podcasts. I’ve read it in the books God has me reading. Everywhere I go, I hear the same thing: I need to carefully consider this notion of rest. Now – here it is again!!!
I looked back on my Hebrews 3 dBrag email from March of 2005 and guess what – I was going on about the same thing. I guess I haven’t learned much about rest.
As I read it through today, however, there’s something deeper than the simple fact that I need to rest during the week (which I still need to work on). Look at the first verse:
1 God’s promise of entering his place of rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to get there.
This place of rest is something that some might fail to get to. Is this heaven? Is this a peace of knowing we’re saved?
Verse 11 got me thinking:
11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (NIV)
Let us make every effort to enter rest. Huh? It’s like saying, “We must work hard to rest.”
Hebrews 4 seems to indicate a place of “spiritual rest.” The writer of Hebrews seems to be contrasting the freedoms we have in the new covenant with the Mosaic law. That’s the place of rest – peace of knowing God, through Christ, on a personal level.
Let me put it this way: because of Christ we no longer have to work for salvation. There are those who have not ceased from their works – and they can’t enter into rest (of salvation).
Verse 2 tells us:
2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. (NLT)
The author urges us to be diligent, then he mentions “the gospel.” This implies that we enter God’s rest by means of the gospel. Then in verse 3, the writer says, “Now we who have believed enter that rest…” Believed what? The gospel!
God’s rest is entered into by faith – by believing the gospel.
Does this negate the rest of Sabbath? Hardly, it’s even mentioned in this chapter, but it (the Sabbath) points to our rest through faith in Christ.