Friday, February 28, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Striving to Enter That Rest (Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV)

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV)

The context in which this was written was talking about a Sabbath rest for the people of God. See below:

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:2, 3, 6, 8-10 ESV)

So what I noted in my last blog post was that we do not work to gain salvation.  The Sabbath was a picture of the rest the people of God would have from their preChristian days of trying to earn God's favor.  

So, if works are not necessary to salvation, then why does it say in our passage today that we are to strive to enter into that rest?  Isn't this working?  The author is talking to Christians.  These are people who have entered that rest.  So I must look at other Scripture to understand this.  
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; (II Peter 1:10 NKJV)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12, 13 NKJV)

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (II Corinthians 13:5 NKJV)

The idea is not working to obtain salvation, nor is it working to keep it, but rather that of being obedient to the commands of Scripture, knowing it is God who is doing the work in you, examining yourself to be sure that your faith in Him is genuine.  This is what it is to strive to enter that Sabbath rest.  

Another component of this is getting into the Word of God daily and letting it cut through the muck in your heart and reveal to you areas that need work.  This is all part of striving to enter into God's Sabbath rest.  Yes, there is work involved but it's not meritorious work to earn that rest or keep that rest, it's the work of God changing us and sanctifiying us through His Word.  And that seems like work that we do because as He reveals areas of our hearts that need changing, feels like work sometimes to bow to His molding and shaping us.

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