On Wednesday we began a discussion of what Sabbath rest means for us today. We made it right up to the realization that the very place of failure for the works-based rest of the Old Testament is the place of solution for our rest. What is that place?
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Remember Matthew 11:28-30? Let me refresh your memory.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
That’s it – the rest is right there! In Jesus Himself. In salvation. Hebrews 4 gives us confirmation of that.
The wording of Hebrews 4 can be a bit confusing, seeming to go round and round and not really grab hold of a solid point. But, the solid point is there, and it is culminated in verses nine and ten.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Hebrews 4:9-10
The whole point of the Old Testament Sabbath was to not perform any work. But that is a contradiction in and of itself because the requirement to follow strict rules is work. In fact, over time the traditional "extra" teachings of the priests and Levites outlined a very strict and extensive set of rules regarding the Sabbath, even stating that drying off in front of a fire was breaking the Sabbath because it involved boiling water, which was work. Rules, rules, rules. And breaking those rules meant breaking the Sabbath. It exhausts me to just think about trying to keep all the rules perfectly! What kind of rest is that?
This is the point the author is Hebrews is trying to make in chapters three and four. Verse ten tells us that if we have entered His true rest, then we find rest from works. Rest from the demands of the original Sabbath laws.
Rest in salvation.
But, we still come down to the question of how that plays out in our daily lives. You might argue, "I’m a Christian! I have accepted Christ into my heart. I go to church. I read the Bible. I try to live a godly life. And I’m exhausted! How can that be Sabbath rest?"
My question would be the same to you as it is to myself: Are you really coming to Jesus, taking His yoke upon you, and learning from Him? If you are exhausted in your spiritual walk, I would argue that you are not following that command. Again, Hebrews supports that thought.
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:11
It all does come back to obedience, which may make us think it all comes right back to works. But, contrary to the works-based obedience required of the Israelites, the obedience required of us is based in grace. We have been given the rest. It is ours through perfect and unmerited forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Sadly, we forfeit it by piling disobedience and sin on top of it all and living outside of the peace and rest we have already been given.
So, I ask you again…are you truly coming to Jesus? Are you letting His Holy Spirit invade you and give you all you need to walk in obedience? Or are you trying to do the Christian walk on your own, living a life of works, and forfeiting the beautiful Sabbath rest that has been freely given to you? If we are not walking in His rest, we are walking in sin. So what will it be? May it be that we walk in His rest, enjoying the beautiful perpetual Sabbath rest in which we were intended to live.