There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)
All Christian believers know full well the promise of the Sabbath-rest that awaits us on the other side of the grave. But is there any rest for us now? Does the writer of Hebrews have a promise for us concerning our day-to-day lives? Read on and be encouraged!
This Sabbath-rest will find its fulfillment when we are living in the new heavens and the new earth with our God and His people. But before we experience that fulfillment, we are to experience the first installment during our life here on this earth. We have received so great a salvation that we can rest from trying to save ourselves!
When Jesus shows up, He puts an end to our self-salvation projects. When He cried out from the cross, “It is finished,” He meant what He said! The work of salvation has been freely and fully completed. We can cease from trying to earn God’s favor through our good works, which, as Isaiah 64:6 tells us, really aren’t that good at all—they are mere “filthy rags” compared to the glory and goodness of our holy God.
There is no more fatiguing and fruitless a work than to try to earn our way into God’s continued favor and blessing. And there are millions who are burdened under this great weight week after week, month after month, and year after dreary year. The joy of the Lord is as far from them as the east is from the west, because they are buried under the weight of working for a blessing, rather than resting in the ones they have already received from Christ. You see, only by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ can we experience this Sabbath-rest in a world that is marked by restlessness, turmoil, and discontent.
Remember this truth: Jesus Christ not only earned this perfect rest for us, He is this perfect rest. By resting in Him we begin to experience in part what we will one day experience in full: that Sabbath-rest that remains for the people of God. So if you need a little rest, rest in the shadow of the cross, where your Lord paid the penalty for your sin, satisfying all the demands of God’s justice. Living in the light of this truth will set you free to enjoy the fruits of His work in you, rather than laboring for the fruit that Jesus has already freely given you in love.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!