Monday, October 1, 2007

Hebrews, Chapter 4

It is appropriate that I get to writing about the fourth chapter of Hebrews on the Monday morning after a weekend, as this chapter deals with rest and what that rest will mean for the people of God. In this context the author is referring to rest as salvation in God. It is a great reward that I know I am looking forward to. With the pace of the world the way it is today I know that I savor the opportunity to rest and unplug from everything. Just this past weekend I knew it was a busy weekend as I had tickets to both the Purdue-Notre Dame game and the Colts game on Sunday, but to me it was an opportunity to rest because these are things I love doing. Both are very relaxing and a source of stress relief, so I view them as rest. Now imagine how much we can look forward to in the rest that Christ promises through His salvation.

"1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world." – Hebrews 4:1-3

The author here is referring to our own promised land, and that is the salvation promised by the blood of Christ. This is the reward I look forward to on many days when I just can't take this world anymore. We also see that the author warns that even those who have the gospel preached to them may not enter this rest. Just because we have heard the Message of Christ does not mean we will automatically receive Him. We must also accept the message and not disobey so that we don't harden our hearts.

"6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." – Hebrews 4:6-7

So what does it mean then to rest from our own work, as it says a few verses later? Well, this means that we can rest from trying to gain our own salvation as it is promised in Christ's message. Once we accept it we don't have to gain salvation anymore. We have already found that which we are seeking, and we must allow his Word to penetrate us to our cores.

"12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." – Hebrews 4:12-13

Not only is the Word of God beautiful by promising rest through salvation, it is life-altering when we allow it to penetrate us. If we truly accept the Message then we are changed from the inside out. What was once important becomes unimportant. We are held accountable for every second of our lives, but at the same time our lives then have purpose because we have Christ in them. As we see in the final few verses Jesus knew what it was like to be human. He knew what it was like to be tempted and live with the heart of man, but He was able to resist and become the mediator for us. Though His word cuts through our hearts and we are held accountable for all we do because of the Word, we are still made perfect in His sight through Christ.


  1. What is your definition of rest?
  2. Who do you know in your life whose heart has hardened even though they have heard the message?
  3. How can we reach those whose hearts have hardened?

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