4 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 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. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
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.
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.
Jesus the Great High Priest
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The Bible is a dangerous book. It exposes our hearts, reveals our motives and calls us continually to be transformed. Like a surgeon’s scalpel, it cuts back the areas of our life to expose where His surgery is needed. These words of God are living and active – powerful in their precision. The Holy Spirit uses the power and ministry of the Word to do a deep work within.
When we allow our own thoughts to direct our paths, when we let ourselves take precedence in our decisions it ends in spiritual ruin. The Word of God, digging into it daily is what helps us and allows the freedom of the Spirit to work in areas of our life driving us toward spiritual freedom and fulfillment. We must keep our hearts open toward the surgery of God and stay diligent toward the cause of becoming more like Him.
Obviously, we all fail. We make mistakes. We live within the wreckage of our decisions time and again. And yet, it is the grace of Jesus that steps in over and over who is our own High Priest. He is one who has been where we were but without sin. He is the One who sits upon this throne of Grace and extends mercy again and again in our deepest human need and failure. “Come boldly before this throne. Find His Grace in our deepest time of need.” Let the scalpel of God work in the areas of our life and mistakes through His Word. Let the healing of Jesus’ grace and mercy give that balm we need and reestablish purpose and destiny.
Hebrews 4 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The Law demanded perfection. This was the standard accomplished by Jesus. Despite our best efforts, we don’t even come close. However, we continue to live in a society built upon works. Nearly everything we do is predicated upon receiving a reward for our work. Parents want their children to obey them. Schools want their students to be successful. Employers want their employees to be efficient. All of this leads us to believe that God desires us to work hard in this life so we can earn His love. Paul demolishes this theory in Galatians.
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”Galatians 3:10-11 ESV
So, what place do works have within our lives? James tackles this question very well.
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.James 2:21-23 ESV
Active faith produces works. Salvation is obtained only by faith, but proven through obedience.
There are many today who work for God but have no faith in Christ. A lack of faith leads to a contractual relationship with the Father much like the prodigal son’s older brother. The relationship isn’t based on unconditional love but earned love. The really depressing part is that we can’t even hold up our end of that contract!
There are also many today who profess to have faith in Jesus but have zero fruit in their lives. As James writes, anyone can say they believe in God – even the demons believe. The question is, does that belief lead to obedience in your life? If you profess to have faith in Jesus but don’t begin to submit your life to Him, you really do not understand His sacrifice.
So, what does all this have to do with Hebrews? Have you ever heard the term “Jesus is our Sabbath rest?”
Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. 10 For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His.Hebrews 4:9-10 HCSB
Just as God rested from His works, man can now rest of his. It is important, however, that we define what is meant by works. The author of Hebrews is not talking about the same type of works as James describes. This is about humans using their works to earn God’s love. Jesus becomes both God’s rest (by satisfying His wrath against sin) and our rest (by obtaining peace with God). This is an amazing reality when you consider that physical peace and comfort can be felt in our hearts and minds as a result of the spiritual debt that was paid at the cross.
“He says, “It is finished. I am no longer going to do my own works, I am done with them; I now trust the finished work of Christ, and that gives me rest. But as to all that wearied me before, and made life a continual task and toil, it is ended now.” God is not a cruel taskmaster to his people; he gives rest to those who trust in him, and some of us have entered into that rest.”Charles Spurgeon