30th September 2013

Hebrews 4 – Entering God’s Rest

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 4:8-10, ESV

Reading this passage, it occurred to me, possibly for the first time, how theologically rich it is in the discussion of faith versus works. And really, how the “versus” part is  misnomer. God created all there is in the universe in 6 days and rested on the seventh.

But the universe kept going. And he was actively involved in it.

This passage (chapter) of Hebrews is getting at the revelation of God’s sabbath and rest as being a place where our works no longer are sufficient or needed to bring about salvation (rest). We have entered God’s rest by faith through the work of Jesus.

It’s not that we rest and do nothing. Not anymore than Adam and Eve, in God’s rest of Eden, had nothing to do. But all they did was wrapped in faith and under the existing work that God had done on their behalf. Their “work” was joyous response and obedience out of love, thankfulness and honor.

This is exactly where believers now sit. Faith and obedience go hand in hand, but in love, thankfulness and honor—not an obedience of work. Just as God rested from his work, so we rest from ours…but the work goes on.

Then what are these works?

The work is what God has done, working itself out under his direction and with his imbued blessing and power. It does not act on its own to perfect itself. God has created. Creation now works out its existence in humble obedience and joyous love. There is no more possibility that creation itself would contribute to the act of more special creation. It is finished.

There is work, but the work is responsive to what God alone has done. And it is beautiful, glorious work. But it is also rest, because it is not creation, it is recreation—a following-through on the responsibilities and duties implicated by God’s special work.

And so we enter. And others, thinking they can do the actual work of creating what is needed in their souls, do not. It is God’s special work. And it is finished.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013 at 6:09 am and is filed under Clint's Prayer Journal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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