In Hebrews 4:1-13 the author alludes to the rest God offered to the Israelites entering the promised land. But can Christians enter that rest today?
According to the author of Hebrews, the answer is yes. This rest is a place where his audience (Christians) have the opportunity to enter “today.”
Interestingly though, he writes that some may have fallen short (v.1)- (not meaning that they are not saved.)- while others have entered the rest already (v.3).
So you can be a Christian who rests- or you can be a Christian who doesn’t rest.
Depending on when you catch me, I’m both.
The key is in v.2: the ones who rest and the ones who don’t-both have had the “good news” (gospel) proclaimed to them- they are Christians- but its their response, with/without faith, that determines whether they are able to rest.
Do you really practically believe, in every area of your life, every day, that your acceptance is found in Christ?
What rest means for the believer today is this: you can rest in Christ today because of His work. Or… you can march on in your anxious frenzy.
You can only rest when you don’t feel that you have to seek acceptance anyplace else, whether its through following the law like a set of rules, or seeking approval from vocation, wealth, friends, parenting, or whatever else drives you.
Most of the anger I have as a parent stems from the pressure I feel to solve everyones problems, provide for them and put my own time aside for their time. When I’m angry, I’m not so much angry at others as I am angry in myself for the potential for failure- either as a parent- or in all the other things I spend time on- like writing this blog:)
But if I’m resting in Christ, those pressures are off, because in Christ, the believer is loved without exception by the God of the universe. And my anger gets short circuited when I remember that whether I fail or not, God still loves me and the sun will rise tomorrow.
- That may shock. What? No Ten Commandments for me? And I can be a deadbeat in my life too?
Au contraire, mon frère. We are to uphold the law even more now (Romans 3:31)- but in a different way. The believer is now free to follow the law, not out of fear of rejection, but out of love for what Christ has done for us in following it himself. The pressure is off in our own success or failure. We can rest.
And in following that law, the other aspects of our lives: work, parenting, relationships- become easier, precisely because I don’t need to be accepted for my success or failure in any of those areas. And I can find rest. I’m no longer worn out worrying if I miss a swim practice drop off.
So I am actually even freer to follow the law and resist the culture even more.
I’m not so pressured for acceptance by others that I have to break God’s laws to conform to the culture’s laws.
That is rest today. Will you rest?