Strive to enter God’s Rest
From the perspective of the Hebrew Writer
Scripture reading: Deut 12:8-11
3:7-11 - A quote from a Psalm regarding the ancient failure to enter the Promised Land
3:16-17 - They failed because of their disobedience and unbelief.
4:1 – It is not only possible to enter The Rest. It is possible to fail to reach it.
4:3 – believers enjoy it in the present.
This rest, he says, is symbolized by the Sabbath and by God’s post-creation rest.
4:9-10 – It seems the writer defines The Rest as a blessing that extends to eternity.
Resting from one’s labors includes freedom from servitude to sin.
It includes eternal rest after a righteous life, as God rested at the end of Creation.
It includes rest from struggles associated with being a Christian (10:32f).
4:11 – Entering The Rest takes effort. We saw in 4:3 that it is those who have believed who enter the rest. The Hebrew writer has already connected obedience and belief (3:18-19).
4:12-13 - … says that the Word of God is the judge of our worthiness
4:14 – The Confession is of our trust and reverence of Jesus, relating to the belief in 4:3.
4:15-16 – Approaching the throne is synonymous with entering God’s Rest.
14-16 is a conclusionary statement.
“Holding fast to our confession” always relates to behavior, that is, acting faith. So, holding fast the confession recalls the belief mentioned in 4:3 and the effort described in 4:11.
We are charged to keep The Confession because of the blessing of our access to God (vs. 16).
At God’s throne, we receive mercy and grace.
Therefore, it is this access that provides God’s Rest.
When we look at the full presentation of this Rest, we conclude it to be entry into a covenant-relationship with Christ and a state of communion with God through Christ. It is peace of conscience and pardon of sin. It is freedom from bondage sin. It is a blessing that is fully realized in Eternity.
At this point, the Hebrew Writer begins a defense of Jesus as High Priest.
He makes his conclusion in….
8:1-2f – Jesus, as High Priest, provides this access to God; and for the Jew, rejection of Jesus means rejection of access to God and therefore, to God’s Rest.
10:19-25 – Access to God, where we find Rest. The means to prevent our apostasy.
We cannot go into God’s presence alone.
We cannot even come close alone.
Without Christ, we are full of guilt and there is no hope for us.
All our good works of righteousness go nowhere.
Straight-laced living won’t get us there.
Biblical scholarship won’t get us there.
Visiting widows and orphans won’t get us there.
Putting away sin won’t get us there.
These behaviors are worthy responses of faith.
They are evidence of “holding fast to our confession.”
… without wavering! (10:23)
By them, we “make every effort to enter that Rest.” (4:11)
It is our duty.
Without them, God’s Rest is lost to us (10:26f)
yet it is not our good works that provide access.
They go nowhere toward bringing us into God’s Rest.
If righteous living is our strategy for drawing near to God, it is a pitiful performance.
Jesus provides access to God. He is the only way.
This provision is no small thing!