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Participants and household of God

And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:18-19 CSB

Yesterday, we saw how the author of the letter asked a series of questions to engage the reader, while also providing answers to leave no ambiguity. The questions are geared toward the understanding of why there will be those who will not enter God’s rest. It is because of disobedience to God which is the result of unbelief. In the closing of the chapter, we see one more final question asked, “Whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest?” Remember that the author is focused on showing Israel’s past history of challenging God, rebelling against Him via sin, and their subsequent punishment of wandering the desert for 40 years until the rebellious generation passed away. So, to answer the question asked, we read on and see “those who disobeyed.” We read in Psalm 95:11, “So I swore in My anger, they will not enter My rest.” God made an oath. We see of God’s character here is that He fulfills His promises always. In this instance, the promise was that the rebellious Israelites would not enter the Promise Land. Why? We see in verse 19, “they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” In Hebrews 3:12 the author warned the readers, “Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” With that previous passage in mind, the author showed through the past actions of Israel that due to their unbelief, they experienced His rightful justice, His judgment. Their lack of faith in God led to their disobedience. For us, the decision to not trust in God will lead to disobedience. What we believe about God will determine our actions morally. As Lea writes, “If we demonstrate only disobedience, we show that we have unbelief.” Therefore, we need to evaluate our relationship with God. Are we fully trusting in Him, loving Him with every fiber of our being (see Luke 10:27)? Because whatever we hold onto for ourselves will naturally rebel against God due to our fallen nature. So, we need to fully submit and trust God, for He promises to love us and provide mercies upon us (see Lamentations 3:22-23). We are participants in Christ and belong to His household when we have accepted the gospel in faith and obedience and show in our lives that what we believe in our hearts we confess with our mouths. “One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:10). Those who consistently fail to confess never shared in Christ and consequently fail to know Christ as their Savior.


Isaac De Guzman

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