The Rest That Remains
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
A Troubled Hour
The times in which we live are most certainly difficult and perilous. People are facing natural disasters, damaging droughts, ferocious fires, serious storms, financial woes, mass shootings, just to name a few. These are the times that will truly test the heart of a man. They will reveal what his faith is placed upon. If the heart and mind are set upon anything other than Christ and Him crucified, there will be no respite from the fear and intimidation that daily attacks the spirit and soul of the individual.
However, if a person’s heart is focused on what Christ has prepared for man as a shelter and safe harbor of the soul, there can be a supernatural rest that comes despite the physical or spiritual circumstances that trouble him. There truly is a “peace that passes all understanding” available. To a believer who has his or her faith resting squarely upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there is a rest that remains.
The Example Of Hebrews
In both the latter part of Hebrews 3 and the first section of Hebrews 4, the author focuses on the believer entering into rest. This rest is a place of stability and refreshing. It is a place of security and strength. It is a place where troubled waters of the soul are calmed and where the fiery darts of the enemy are quickly quenched. The author tells us that because of an evil heart of unbelief, many of God’s people failed to enter into the rest that God prepared.
To make things clearer, he states that the Sabbath Day was not the true rest of the Lord. Joshua leading God’s people into the promised land was not the final “rest” of the Lord. While both of the aforementioned situations depicted in type the rest that God has for His people, they were types and not the antitype. The true Sabbath or “rest” of God for humanity can’t be found in a day or in a temporal victory. The true Sabbath of God is found only in a person—the man Christ Jesus. As the believer places his faith in the person and the finished work of Christ, he enters into the true rest of God.
Cease From His Own Works
The believer who enters into God’s rest has ceased attempting to resolve the issues of life in his own strength or ability. This begins with the matter of salvation. A person must realize that he cannot save himself through efforts of righteousness. No matter how hard man tries, he is not able to produce the pure righteous life that could merit relationship with God. Therefore, in order to be saved, man must admit his own inadequacy and embrace, by faith, the plan that God has provided.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Salvation demands that a man admit his inability to save himself and requires that man to place his faith exclusively in Christ. Oh, what peace! Oh, what joy. As someone once said, “O the bliss of sins forgiven!” This will only be experienced after we exhaust and desist from all efforts to save ourselves. After we are saved, we must learn to fight to believe that God has every situation under control.
By submitting every need we have in prayer to His care and removing our desire to get involved and “help God out” through carnal means, we can again enter into a new experience of “His rest.” If, in every situation, we “cease from our own works,” that is, if we refrain from making our feeble efforts and “muddying up the waters,” we will find rest. Whether it be in matters physical or in regard to matters of sanctification, we must learn to stand behind the greatest weapon God has given us. We must cling to the shield of faith and cease from our own works.
Labour To Enter Into Rest
The fight of faith we must enter will never be an easy battle. Everything within man tells him that he can fight for, he must fight for, he has to fight for, that which he desires. Like an ant facing the proverbial giant he straps on his good intentions and declares, “I will defeat you.” The heart of man is so centered upon self that he deceives himself into thinking he can accomplish what he cannot. How vain we are! How wrong we are! And oh, what peace we forfeit!
We do have a battle to enter, but ours is the good fight of faith. Our labor is to trust in Him. Our yoke is to depend on a God that we cannot see to do what we need, even though we can’t see how He could ever work out the situation. There is a rest that remains, my friend. But you must cease from your works and depend exclusively on that which God has provided for you in Christ! There is a rest that remains. Oh, that we all might enter into it and abide there!