Summary: In spite of the fact that Jesus paid it all for us on the cross, people continue to struggle, trying to earn the Christian life. If that is your situation today, I plead with you to stop trying, and start trusting. Be diligent to enter into that rest.
HOW TO ENTER GOD’S REST
"Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience."
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.
The Christian life is not to be one of striving to earn favor with the Lord. Rather, it is a life entered into, and lived out by faith. We are exhorted to rest in God. That is, we are to simply trust Him to do in us what only He can do. In the first part of this chapter we took a look at three examples of rest. (1) Creation rest, (2) Canaan rest, and (3) Calvary rest. On the seventh day of creation, God rested. That is, He stepped back to enjoy His creation. But sin entered and that rest was marred as far as man is concerned. Canaan rest speaks of God’s desire to lead the children of Israel into the land of promise. Again that rest was marred because of rebellion and the sin of unbelief. Calvary rest means that Jesus has paid in full the penalty for our sins. We do not merit, nor can we achieve salvation by good works. It is to be experienced by faith in the Son of God and in His finished work on the cross.
In spite of the fact that Jesus paid it all for us on the cross, people continue to struggle, trying to earn the Christian life. If that is your situation today, I plead with you to stop trying, and start trusting. Be diligent to enter into that rest. How can we enter into God’s rest life? Verses 12-16 gives us some guidance.
I. TAKE HEED TO THE WORD OF GOD. (12-13)
The Bible is the written Word of God that reveals to us the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. Verses 12-13 is a classic passages on the power of the written word of God. These two verses reveal several characteristics regarding the written Word of God.
A. THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING. The word "Quick" in KJV means "living." The Word of God is a living book. I found a Bible left at church by a young Christian. He had written on the cover these words, "This book is alive." God’s Word, our Bible, is not a dead book out of the distant past. It is the living Word of the living God. That Word is personified in Jesus Christ. The Bible is a living book for today’s world. It is relevant for every generation.
B. THE WORD OF GOD IS POWERFUL. That is, it is active and energetic. No one can read the Bible with an open heart and an open mind and remain the same. My pastor during my seminary days in New Orleans gave a copy of Phillips New Testament to one of the leading mafia leaders. After a couple of weeks he sent it back saying, "It bothers me."
A student in the seminary give his personal testimony. He was in prison and was given a Gideon New Testament. As read that little New Testament, the Holy Spirit began to work in His life. As he gave his testimony that day he read the pardon that he had received from the governor of Louisiana. Then he said, "The greatest thing that ever happened to me was when the Lord Jesus pardoned me from all my sins." God’s word was powerful in his life.
C. THE WORD OF GOD IS CUTTING. It is sharper than a sword of two edges, which cuts both ways. It is piercing. The Word of God rightly applied becomes as a surgeon’s knife. By the Word, God lays bear the innermost parts of a man’s life. He judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. Just as the surgeon opens the body to discover and remove diseased organs and tissue, so the Word of God opens our lives to the work of God in us, to rid us of that which defiles the spirit and soul.
D. THE WORD OF GOD IS REVEALING. (V.13) The author unknowingly anticipated a powerful microscope. Not one thing is hidden from God. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account. It is amazing how people try to hide from the preacher, but that they can’t hide from God.
II. HOLD FAST TO THE SON OF GOD (4:14-15)
That is, hold fast to our profession of faith in the person and in the work of Jesus Christ. "Hold fast" means to seize, to grasp with power, hold on and don’t let go. In these verses we discover that Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God, our Savior. He is also our High Priest. The High Priest in the Old Testament entered into the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the people. Jesus has entered into the heavens into the very presence of the Father, as our High Priest. Note: