REST:God's Part and Man's PartBy Henry Jaegers
Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:11)
One of the great blessings in meditating on the word of God is that when you do so, it's like discovering precious jewels that you were not even looking for. And as I contemplate this message in Hebrews chapter 4, I am tempted to pick out the obvious and miss the blessings that come through careful examination and contemplation of these verses.
As we consider the title that I have given this section, "Rest: God's part and Our part", I find it necessary to spend some time on this lest we missed the full impact of what this chapter is telling us. So, let's begin:
1. God’s Part.
Remember, that when God finished his creation, we are told that he rested on the seventh day? Through this action, God is setting before us an example. I would rather call it an illustration because that's what it is. Like most of the Jewish people in the Old Testament, they tended to take things literally when there was an even greater message that they were missing by doing so.
The idea of worshiping God on the seventh day is part of God's command. What is God telling us through his example? He is telling us there is a rest. At this time, man was already created and had not yet taken of the forbidden fruit. But when man's sin nature was activated, there was no more rest but anxiety, guilt, and deception. The rest that God is illustrating, is another rest that is yet future that God is providing and will complete through the death of his son.
God's part begins with an example and then continues throughout the Scriptures as a promise. We are told that the final rest occurs when men cease from their own labors and with the rest of faith, find their solace and comfort in God.
Christ words on the cross, "it is finished", speaks of the price being paid for the sin of humanity. He has satisfied the righteous requirement of God for perfect sacrifice but it doesn't end there. The ascension of Jesus describes the completion of that rest. He now sits at the right hand of God interceding for us in the presence of God. Through his death, Jesus has provided a rest from the penalty of sin. But now at the right hand of God, Jesus provides the power to continue on this Christian life. For now, we will leave this here.
2. Man's Part
"Let us, therefore, labor to enter into that rest". First, that rest includes complete confidence that our faith is well supported by a faithful, loving God. When it tells us to labor to enter into that rest, it is not talking about physical work. It is talking about an attitude, to be diligent or give this matter of entering into God's rest a priority. Just like the children of Israel failed because they did not trust God, we fail also when we give God anything less than our best effort to enter into that rest of fellowship, confidence, and total joy, as we experience God's working through our inner life, producing fruit to the glory of God.
So, we close this brief explanation and see it as a necessary foundation for understanding, in order to fully appreciate what lies before us in the closing verses of this chapter. May we come to understand and experience that rest for our souls.