A Systematic Expository on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 10: ENTERING INTO HIS REST
Hebrews 4:1 - 11
Using God’s promise to Israel to enter the Promised Land, Canaan, the inspired writer here speaks of our entering into God’s Rest. Israel had the promise but many of them failed to enter in. They failed because of unbelief. We have the promise to enter God’s Rest and we can only enter by faith.
The word “rest” appears many times in our passage (Hebrews 4:1,3,4,5,8,9,10,11), so also is the word “enter” (Hebrews 4:1,3,5,6,10,11). The main theme is “Entering into His Rest” (Hebrews 4:1,3,5,10,11). The basic idea of REST is that of ceasing from work or from any kind of action. Through God’s grace, the believer ceases from the work of self-righteousness for salvation. Rest also means freedom from whatever worries or disturbs the mind. God’s rest means we have peace with God, our sins are forgiven and there is no fear of judgement. Rest also means to lie down, to be settled. In God’s Rest we are so established in Christ, we are not running from religion to religion, we are established, rooted, grounded, unmoveable, and free from being tossed about by every wind of doctrine.
Rest also means to lean on. To enter into God’s rest means that we are leaning only on God for the rest of our lives. There is also the further aspect of the rest spoken about in Hebrews 3 and 4 - the Kingdom rest of the Millennium and the eternal rest of heaven. The rest, full, peaceful, sweet, satisfying and blessed, is pictured and illustrated by the Canaan rest promised for Israel.
FAITH TO ENTER GOD’S REST
Hebrews 4:1-3; 11:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13;; Romans 10:8-10; 5:1; Isaiah 26:3,4; 57:2; 28:16; Hebrews 11:33; Acts 27:18-25; Philippians 3:9; Job 19:25.
“Let us” in Hebrews 4:1 is followed by an exhortation as in Hebrews 4:11,16; 6:1; 10;22-24; 12:1; 13:13. The exhortation is directed at believers. “Let us THEREFORE fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His Rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Hebrews 4:1). The word translated “come short” is taken from the Greek games of that time. A man, no matter how little he might have failed - if he came short only by a reaction - was disqualified. Unless we have faith in Christ till the end, we would be disqualified for lack of faith.
If the gospel is to profit or benefit us, the word must be “mixed with faith” in us. That word “mixed “ in Hebrews 4:2 is taken from the digestive process. Just as food is taken into the digestive system and is mixed with the elements that the body furnishes before it can be assimilated, so must the Word of God be properly mixed with faith before it can be assimilated and become part of the soul.
Hearing, reading, studying the Word of God with only the faculties of the brain is not sufficient to make us enter into salvation and gracious rest. Whatever our intellectual powers or ability, without faith and the prayer of faith the Word we hear or study will not lead us to God’s eternal rest. The five natural senses - our eyesight, hearing, taste, sense of smell and sense of touch - without the sixth sense, faith, cannot lead us to real, full, eternal rest in God. “...we which have believed do enter into rest” (Hebrews 4:3)
FAILURE TO ENTER GOD’S REST
Hebrew 4:4-7; 3:12,18,19; Romans 9:30-33; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Acts 13:45,46; 2 Kings 7:1,2,16-20; James 1:6-8,21-25.
The children of Israel failed in the wilderness because they did not have faith to receive the Word of God. We can see the result of their unbelief. Israel’s failure to enter into the Promised Land is used as warning for the Hebrew Christians and for us today. Christians are warned of the danger of drawing back and forfeiting eternal life. It is possible to so turn back and be apostatised from God, that one is past remedy.
The Israelites who perished in the wilderness hardened their hearts in unbelief until the gates to the Promised Land closed against them. They perished in unbelief. God is offering salvation and eternal rest to everyone today. There are sinners and backsliders who are hardening their hearts in unbelief. Sudden destruction and eternal doom may be nearer than they think (Proverb 29:1). “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). A wise person deals seriously and urgently with the first indication or appearances of the hardening of the heart. “Let us fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, ANY OF YOU should seem to come short of it” (Hebrews 4:1).
FUTURE REST FOR GOD’S PEOPLE
Hebrews 4:8-11; Isaiah 11:10; Job 3:17-19; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 14:13; 7:13-17; 21:4-7; 2 Peter 1:10,11.
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). The rest referred to here is forte. God’s final, ultimate rest awaits the people of God. When we enter into the immediate presence of God and of Christ our Saviour, that would be rest indeed. We must keep this promise of future, eternal rest constantly before our eyes.
“For if Jesus (that means Joshua - Jesus is the Greek rendition of the word Joshua) had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day” (Hebrews 4:8). The rest we are eagerly looking forward to is a grander, higher, greater rest than anything Israel experienced. “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrew 4:11).
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