The one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
In Hebrews 4:1-11, the writer warned us not to fail to enter God’s rest. What is this “rest”? In this passage, the word “rest” comes from a Greek word that means “to cease working, worrying, striving, and fearing.” The writer used the term “rest” in three different ways in these 11 verses.
First, there is a future rest we are yet to experience. Hebrews 4:9 says, “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” There is a future rest that awaits all of us. It is the same rest that God told John about in Revelation 14:13, when John heard a voice from Heaven saying, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!” Why? Because they will rest from their labors. When God talks about resting in Heaven, He does not mean floating on a cloud, taking a siesta every day for all eternity. That word “rest” means “refreshment, rejuvenation.” In Heaven, we are all going to use the gifts God has given us and enjoy work as God intended for us to enjoy work. When the writer said we are going to rest from our labor, he was saying we are going to be rejuvenated and refreshed. In Heaven, there won’t be the same encumbrances that we experience right now like sickness, and sadness, and sin. That is the future rest we are looking forward to.
Second, there is a past rest that has already occurred. Hebrews 4:10 says, “The one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” If you are going to experience that future rest in Heaven, there is a sense in which you need to quit working and rest in what God has already done for you just as He rested from all His work. Hebrews 4:4 says, “God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” God did all His creation work in six days, then on the seventh day He rested. Why did He rest? Was He tired? No. Exodus 31 says He was teaching us a lesson that we were not created to work seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. God meant for us to rest one day a week, and He set an example for us.
But then sin entered the perfect world that God created. So God went to work again. He installed a rescue plan to deliver us from sin, and that was by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. In John 19:30, Jesus said, “It is finished!” Once Christ had made that eternal sacrifice for our sins, there was nothing we could to add to it. His work was finished. And because of God’s work in securing our redemption, you and I no longer have to work. In fact, God refuses to allow us to work for our salvation. If we work for our salvation, then salvation is no longer of grace. That’s why Romans 4:5 says, “To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” If you are going to experience God’s future rest in Heaven, then you have to be a part of His rest in the past. You have to trust that God’s work of redemption is completed; there is nothing you need to do except receive it as a gift. That is the past rest that you have experienced if you are already a Christian.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Quest For Rest” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.