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A life of faith that rests on God’s promises

For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in this way: And on the seventh day God rested from all his works. Again, in that passage he says, They will never enter my rest. Hebrews 4:4-5 CSB

Last week, we read on how believers can experience rest through Jesus Christ and salvation. In these next two verses, the author shows how God’s rest was real and how Israel missed out on that opportunity of rest. Verse 4 quotes from Genesis 2:2-3 saying, “On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation.” God rested on the seventh day after completing creation and has not done the act of creation again since. In the same way, believers can experience this rest, this completion, by entering a relationship with Jesus Christ, experiencing spiritual wholeness found only when being restored back to God. Now, this “rest” does not mean idleness. God is still working within creation, calling believers to continue the work set out by His Son on the earth until they are called back home. Even in heaven, believers will be active, worshipping and singing praises to God for all eternity (see Revelation 5:12-13). On the other hand, those that refuse to enter a relationship with God will never experience this rest. Verse 5 quotes a familiar passage, Psalm 95:11, reminding us of Israel’s unbelief and failure to trust God, resulting in their disobedience and sin, leading to the consequence of not entering the Promised Land. Instead of rest, they had to wander the desert for 40 years until they died. So, there are two choices in our lives, accept the gift of salvation and experience true rest or reject the relationship with God and wander aimlessly. This recurring warning ought not be taken lightly by the reader. And no one can ever say, “It will never happen to me.” If the Israelites, entering the land of Canaan, had listened to words spoken by Moses (see Deuteronomy 28:1–14) and obeyed the commands of God, they would have been the recipients of all the blessings God had promised. They would have enjoyed rest by living in God’s favor and grace. For them, life in Canaan would have been living in the presence of God. Instead, they never enter God’s rest because of unbelief. In effect, the readers are admonished by the author to realize that there is consequence to unbelief. God’s offer of life and rest always stands but the offer will not be available when the time of reckoning comes. God cares for us so much that He wants us to experience a life of rest. “What is man that you remember him” (Hebrews 2:6). The believer who lives by faith in Christ is united with God, the highest happiness a person can experience.


Isaac De Guzman


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