Hebrews 4:11 tells us the following,
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience
I have actually been going through the book of Hebrews and chapter 4 was probably one of the most difficult ones to understand. There is a huge emphasis on the Sabbath rest of God in the passage and I didn’t want to go past it without truly understanding what it meant. So I decided to revisit verses 8 through 11. I know I’ve already talked about the meaning of entering the sabbath rest of God but I deemed it of great importance to explore this topic again. So what does it mean to enter the sabbath rest, the place of rest that God has prepared for His adopted beloved children?
The Lord gave us a glimpse of some of the elements of that rest in the book of Numbers. First the people were brought out of slavery in Egypt ( and we said that this deliverance represented the original salvation of the believer). Next the Lord wanted to provide a place of physical rest for His people where they could flourish under His care, that place was Canaan ( and we said that Canaan represented God’s abiding presence, His daily bread to His people). And for the believer today, we said that Canaan is the continuing abiding, sanctifying work of the Spirit of God. But the people of Israel weren’t just going to enter it without a fight , they had to conquer the lands with the help of God ( who gave the land and its people into their hands ). But they still had to fight with the Help of God to possess the land. But as we were looking at Numbers 13, the Scriptures informed us that some of the people who were sent to spy the land of Canaan brought back a report about it, then proceeded to discourage the whole congregation by spreading unbelief through the camp . As a result the Lord was angry with that generation and swore in His wrath they were not going to enter that place of rest He was preparing for them. They were out of Egypt ( the land of slavery ), the place that God had rescued them from , but they failed to enter Canaan ( the place of rest God was preparing). I wanted to look more closely into what the sabbath rest of God represents for us today.
How To Enter The Rest Of God
In Hebrews 4 :8-10, we read the following,
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God[b] would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Joshua didn’t really give the people the actual rest even though they entered the land of Canaan. There is a reason for it. The promises of God in the Old Testament find their true fulfillment in the New Testament after the advent of Christ. The people couldn’t really enjoy the Sabbath rest of God in its fullness because Jesus hadn’t yet finished His work on the cross and the Holy Spirit hadn’t yet been poured upon all those out of mankind God has chosen from all eternity. . When God finished His works of creation, He rested on the seventh Day; He didn’t stop working, but He rested from His works which He accomplished in creation. He was done with the creation days and now He is redeeming His creation , He is enjoying redeeming His creation , He does it with pleasure. This is why the Scripture says in John 3:16 that,
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Hebrews 4:10 tells us that whoever has entered His rest ( God’s rest ) rests from His works the same way God rested from His. And the implication is two folds:
1. Entering God’s rest means ceasing to do our own thing. In other words , you and I aren’t any longer doing what we want to do, why? That leads me to point number 2
2. We enter the rest of God, not our own rest but His rest. Which means we are on the same page with God, our drums are beating at the same cadence as God’s. But how do we enter His rest? We can’t do it without the Holy Spirit , this is why the people of old couldn’t quite enjoy the fullness and the totality of God’s sabbath rest. To understand what entering the Sabbath rest of God means , we need to take a look at Romans 8:1-11
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[d] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
The Pre Requisite For Entering This Rest
To enter His rest , we must be a child of God. And to be qualified as a child of God, we must be indwelled by the Holy Spirit. And we know that the Holy Spirit loves the things of God because He is of the same essence as God. Only born again believers can enter the rest of God. It isn’t given to anyone but only those God has called to Himself and has redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. The highlighted phrases pretty much explain what the rest of God is. I want to particularly zero in on portions of verse 6 of Romans 8: “…but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace”
When our minds is set on the mind of the Spirit of God, we are at peace, because we are doing the very things that God intends for us to do. But when our minds is set on the things of the flesh ( the unspiritual nature, the carnal nature), we are not in the rest of God, and at that moment we are hostile to the things of God. Entering His the rest of God is a daily choice to surrender our will to His will and it is only possible by the Holy Spirit. He submits to the plans of God because He delights in the things of God as we are told in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
So to be rested is doesn’t mean to sleep or do nothing but it is to be filled with the fullness of the Spirit of God and my friend this is the challenge of the believer. It’s my prayer that God enables us to live rested lives ( not lazy lives) but rested lives, doing what God wants us to do daily.