Living Out of Rest
A daily devotion for December 10th
A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God
4 Therefore, 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. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[a] 3 Now 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.’”[b]
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”[c] 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”[d]
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[e] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is alive 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. 13 Nothing 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.
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10)
Here is a revolutionary new principle of human behavior, on which God intends man to operate. It is from this that man fell, and it is to this, now, in Jesus Christ, he is to be restored. Unless this principle is operative in our life, we can have no assurance that we belong to the body of Christ. This is the clear declaration of this writer throughout the whole of the book.
We all have been brainwashed since birth with a false concept of the basis of human activity. We have been sold on the satanic lie that we have in ourselves what it takes to be what we want to be, to be a man, a woman, to achieve whatever we desire to be. We are sure we have what it takes, or, if we do not have it now, we know where we can get it. We can educate ourselves, we can acquire more information, we can develop new skills, and when we get this done we shall have what it takes to be what we want to be.
We do not have what it takes, and we never did have. The only one who can live the Christian life is Jesus Christ. He proposes to reproduce his life in us. Our part is to expose every situation to his life in us, and, by that means, depending upon him and not upon us, we are to meet every situation, enter into every circumstance, and perform every activity. We cease from our own labors.
This is the way you began the Christian life. You came to the place where you stopped trying to save yourself, did you not? You quit trying to be good enough to get into heaven. You said,
I'll never make it, I'll never make it. You looked to the Lord Jesus, and said,
If he has taken my place, then that is all I need. Thus, receiving him, and resting on that fact by faith, you stopped your own efforts, you ceased from your own work, and rested on his.
Paul says in Colossians,
As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, (Colossians 2:6 RSV). As you have received him, dependent on his death on the cross, so live in dependence upon his life in you to do all things through you. Step out upon that, and what is the result? Rest! Wonderful rest! Relief, release, no longer worrying, fretting, straining, for you are resting upon One who is wholly adequate to do through you everything that needs to be done. He does not make automations of us, he does not turn us into robots. He works through our thinking, our feeling and our reasoning, but our dependence must be upon him.
Lord Jesus, thank you for this wonderful surgery that sets me free. I rejoice that there is a rest remaining into which I can enter. Grant that I will.
Life Application: What is the operative principle of the Christian life which assures that we are authentically Christian? Are we affirming the all-sufficiency of Christ Jesus our Lord in our consistent reliance upon His Presence and power?
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