Who Will Enter His Rest?

Who will enter His rest?  As we continue in our study of the Book of Hebrews, well be examining chapter 4 verses 1-12.  Who will enter His rest is a topic that is based on the race we run, the endurance of the faith and if well arrive at the finish line will we remain committed to God to the very end.     

In the previous Bible study, we thoroughly analyzed the illustration that the author gave us by using the Israelites in the wilderness and how they failed to reach the finish line because of their disobedience. Since they complained and bickered, this angered the Lord. Their hearts were not content, and they constantly wanted to return to their bondage in Egypt. There is so much to say about this and how the sinful nature of man strives to remain in sin. Hence, God did not allow that generation to enter the promised land; what God calls My Rest. So, why is the author alluding to the Israelites in the wilderness and how is this relevant to our walk with the Lord? Lets read verses 1 3 and break down each area in order to fully grasp the message.

1Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, [a]not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.  For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest, although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 

Since the author is speaking to the Messianic Jew, the Jew who received Jesus as Messiah, however, they are backsliding and reverting to the old ways (the Old Covenant), the author is making a bold statement saying that for those who reject Christ will not be saved (to enter Gods rest).  There are various factors acting as an obstacle to this process.  The Parable of the Sower is a fantastic example to explain of this and is worth referencing.  In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 13, Jesus speaks of the different scenarios and how the Word of God is received.  Some hear the message and Satan comes to snatch the message from them, while others receive it and due to the concerns of the world, they fall away.  Additionally, some receive the message and due to hardships associated with the faith abandon Christ while only the seed (word of God) that falls on the fertile ground takes root and produces fruit.  Hence, the message here is for those who received Christ and due to hardships or cares of this world have abandoned the faith.  The end result for these two groups (per the Parable of Sower and in Hebrews) is that they will not achieve the Lords rest eternal life. 

As we continue in the study, we also see that in verses 4 5, the author states For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: And God rested on the seventh day from all His worksand again in this place: They shall not enter My rest.

The connection with the Sabbath and the race is that throughout the 6 days God labored, as shall we until we arrive at the rest.  This means that the life of the believer is filled with work, and it is demanding.  One cannot just glide through their life in the faith; the Lord requires commitment.  Furthermore, in Revelation 13:16 the Lord states, 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither [a]cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  We cannot walk lukewarm in the faith, having one foot in the world and the other in the works of the Kingdom (Romans 8:5-8). 

Furthermore, verses 6 through 9 speak about the Israelites who heard the Gospel and rejected the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is the same example we see and what the author is talk about regarding the Israelites who rejected God in the wilderness.  Paul the Apostle states Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel [c]of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  Unfortunately, the Jews did not receive Him, and in the case of these Jews to whom the author is writing to, is boldly reminding them that of this fact and is also saying that be careful not to harden your hearts.  The repercussion of a hardened heart is that you can resort to total rejection of the Lord which will hinder your ability to receive Christ and finish the race to enter Gods rest (heaven).

Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, Today, after such a long time, as it has been said: Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts. For if [b]Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Finally, we see in verse 11, the author warning us to not take the faith lightly.  We cannot have a frivolous and nonchalant attitude towards the faith, and if we recall in Hebrews 2:1, it states, Therefore we must give [a]the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 

11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Lord knows our heart and sees through us.  Therefore, let us come to God honestly, genuinely and with a repentant heart.  The life of the faith requires commitment and sacrifice.  The work that God wants to do in us which is the process of sanctification is not easy.  We have to be refined constantly to become like Christ.  As our Lord says in the Gospel of Matthew 22:14,  For many are called, but few are chosen..  As we are witnessing the Apostasy of the Church, what the Bible calls the falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), we need to remain close to the Lord and continue patiently to endure the race that we run until the very end (2 Timothy 4:7).

So, who will enter His rest?  It will be the one who continues to strive for God, endures the trials and tribulations and sets his/her mind on things above (Colossians 3:2) and continues to march forward for Christ.  Remember that Jesus states in John 10:27-28, 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  Lets remain in the Lord and if our conversion is genuine, no one can snatch us from the Lord.  Amen.