"Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it." Hebrews 4:1
I have often read Hebrews 3 and 4 and prayed to acquire the rest Paul refers to. We are told we can enter into His rest. Hebrews 4:9 states:
"There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God."
As we can read in Hebrews 4:1 we are warned to fear that any of us would fall short of entering into this promised rest to the people of God. I have always felt I might fit in this group. I have so wanted to find this rest that is promised, but reality is I am still striving in my flesh. As I was studying these scriptures this week my eyes were opened to why we fall short of this rest. We must start with unbelief. In Hebrews 4:2 we read why just hearing or reading the Word does not profit us:
"For indeed we have had good news preached to us just as they also, but the Word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard."
The rest requires faith. We must not just hear or read the Word. We must believe and trust in the truth and love of the One who wrote it, and His promises. We also must heed His warnings, and obey His commandments. They are always right. His ways are heavenly; ours is always of our flesh which is self centered and corrupt eventually leading to our destruction and often those around us.
We are warned multiple times with this same warning in Hebrews 3 telling the people of God:
Therefore just as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me." Hebrews 3:7-8
Hebrews 3:10-12 declares:
Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said,
"They always go astray in their heart, and they do not know My ways; as I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest."
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
It appears unbelief and a hardened heart are almost synonymous. Unbelief produces a hardened heart to the ways of God. God says they always go astray in their hearts, and do not know Him, so they do not know His ways. This clearly will rob us of the spiritual rest that is promised to us. God tells us in His Word His people must live by faith. We have to decide who and what we are going to believe and put our faith in. If we choose to know God and His ways and believe His Words we will find this rest.
There is one more component that is revealed in Hebrews that keeps us from this rest which is disobedience. Hebrews 4:6,11 declares:
"Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience."
"Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
The new covenant brought about by God through Jesus is far superior to the old covenant made with Moses. The new covenant and the rest Paul is speaking of is spiritual and made possible by the Holy Spirit of God now living inside of us as Jesus promised. No more sacrificing animals continuously trying to keep our sins forgiven. Jesus was the only sacrifice that could bring about that kind of holiness in our lives. However it is the same sins for both covenants that rob us of the will of God in our lives. A life of obedience fulfilling the will of God for what He created us for is the only way we will find peace and fulfillment and the rest we all are in desperate need of. Let us obey His Word, and encourage one another day after day while it is still called today that none will develop a hardened heart from lies and deception in these last days. May we all enter into the rest of God, our Father.
In His love.
Spring is coming earlier in Reynolda Village in Winston Salem, NC. Lovely place to be this Saturday on a beautiful spring day. There are some incredible trees in the gardens there!