We were created for rest. However, not the kind rest we typically think of (e.g., inactivity or ceasing from all forms of labor). It’s rest as God describes it: the full enjoyment of your Creator Himself in the perfect world that He made. The problem is, sin entered the world and ruined the rest we were created to enjoy. The full enjoyment of God’s presence was lost and sin separated us from Him. The world is no longer free of sorrow and pain and suffering, but is now full of it. But, the history of God’s activity in creation, all that we read on the pages of the Bible, is the history of God bringing things toward the full restoration of the rest He originally designed us for. Since God has promised us the greatest rest imaginable in His Son, the very rest God Himself enjoys, we must be diligent to enter His rest:
I. Because the Promise of Rest Remains (verses 1-8)
There are few things more debilitating and more miserable than the feeling of hopelessness. The point of these verses is that there is hope, the hope of entering God’s rest still remains for us. And this hope is an incentive to compel us to believe God and enter His rest by faith. The promised rest is only for those who believe, which is evident by the fact that those who disbelieved and were disobedient were those who died in the wilderness. The rest that is promised is the rest that God Himself enjoys. He created the world in six days and entered into His rest, and the promise is that if we believe, we will enter into that rest with Him. This rest is far greater than the rest that Joshua gave in Canaan since the promise of entering was again stated hundreds of years later through David in Psalm 95: “Today, if you hear His voice…” Canaan was certainly a type of rest, a picture of rest, but it was not the fulfillment of the promised rest. The promise of rest to us is an eternal rest, an imperishable rest, a rest in the fullness of God’s presence forever.
- No excuse you could raise could stand against the hope that God’s word is giving you in these verses. no matter who you are or what you’ve done, there remains the hope of the promise of entering into His rest if you turn in faith to Jesus Christ.
II. Because Christ Has Entered His Rest For Us (verses 9-10)
The “for” of verse 10 tells us that he is explaining the basis for what he has just said in verse 9 (i.e., a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God because the One who has entered His rest has Himself rested). While some translations word v. 10 differently (i.e. “whoever has entered” or “anyone who enters”), the idea is not that just any believer has entered God’s rest and has ceased from his works to keep God’s law in his own strength or merit God’s favor. The idea is that One in particular, namely Jesus, has entered His rest and ceased from His works, just as God did from His at creation. God created the world in six days and then entered His rest on the seventh day. In the same way, Christ finished the work of salvation and then entered His rest on the first day of the week when He was raised from the dead. This is why we remember the “Sabbath rest” on the first day of every week. We have not yet entered that fullness of rest, but because we see Him who has entered that rest for us, we have the assurance that we will soon be with Him in that rest.
- Every time we meet as a church on Sunday (i.e., the “Christian Sabbath” or “Lord’s Day”), we are reminded that Christ entered into His New Creation rest on the first day of the week when He was raised from the dead, having accomplished the work needed for our salvation. We are also reminded that we are moving toward that promised final rest in Him. How do you approach worship with other believers on Sundays? Do you view it as an opportunity to remember, rejoice in, and hope for the final rest that is ours in Christ?
III. Because it’s Either God’s Rest or God’s Wrath (verses 11-13)
These verses emphasize two things: the penetrating power and effectiveness of God’s word, and the all-seeing eyes of God. God, who sees with perfect clarity the heart of every person, has just spoken judgment on the unbelieving heart (i.e., “As I swore in My wrath…”), and God’s word (i.e., what God has spoken or sworn), never fails to accomplish exactly what it is intended to accomplish. This is why we should all ask ourselves whether we are listening to the advice given to us in verse 11: “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”
- God has sent a Savior into the world. This Savior died to save us from our sin. He has entered into His rest having finished the work that was needed for Your salvation. He commands you to come now and enter that rest with Him. Will you believe Him? Will you be diligent now to turn to Him with a heart that trusts and obeys Him?