|Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 6, 2017 at 2:45 AM|
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:9-10)
Included in God's promises is rest for His people. This rest not only begins with rest from the guilt and condemnation of sin, but it also can grow into rest from carnal striving and vain self-sufficiency. Our verses speak of this latter rest. "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God." Those who are God's people became such by entering into God's rest from sin and guilt. Yet, having tasted of this, there still "remains...a rest for the people of God."
The entrance into this additional spiritual rest necessitates a cessation from one's own works. "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works." To rest in the Lord for a growing life of godliness, service, and fruitfulness, one must be willing to renounce himself as the source or cause of the working. Previously, we saw that the Apostle Paul walked with and lived unto God in this manner. "I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul worked harder than any other leader in the early church. Yet, he acknowledged that the enabling reality was the grace of God, not himself. This fits perfectly with another confession from Paul that we have also considered in previous devotions. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5). Ultimately, such a life is explained as Christ Himself expressing His life in and through our lives. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
This cessation from our works is to be as complete as God's ceasing from His work at creation. "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works...For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His (Hebrews 4:4, 10). God rested on the seventh day, because his "creation-work" was finished. We are to rest from our works, because we cannot add to the finished work of Christ for us. He completed our redemption upon the cross. "He said, 'It is finished!' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit" (John 19:30). He has also fully prepared the works that He wants us to now enter into by faith. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10)