7789 - Faith Rest


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In our study of the book of Hebrews we have noticed the word “rest” being repeated many times in the third and fourth chapters. Let’s give some attention to the meaning carried in that word.

Let’s begin by reading Hebrews 4, verses 1 and 2:

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. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.

The word “rest” implies at least three ideas in these two chapters.

First, there was the hopeful anticipation of the people of Israel to enter a more restful life in Canaan. Some refer to this idea as Canaan-rest. Life would be fulfilling and much different from the slavery in which they had been laboring. But the Israelite men twenty and older missed this Canaan-rest. They ignored God’s promises and in unbelief had refused to occupy the land, even after scouting the land and seeing how lush and fruitful it was. So, they died in the desert.

But we notice another kind of rest is implied in this passage. This refers to God’s rest; and we are told this offer still stands even in the day when the book of Hebrews was written. This clearly means this is a facet of rest different from Canaan-rest. Some people call this “faith-rest”. It is a rest we obtain in Jesus Christ.

Vine’s Word Studies comments that Christ’s rest is not a rest from work, but a rest in work. Even while we work we experience this rest. It is the work of harmonious relationship in which all the faculties and affections, of the will, the heart, the imagination, are synchronized to accomplish the will of the Lord in and through our lives. There is great peace and deep satisfaction for the child of God in this work of obedient service. It is Christ himself who lives this life in and through yielded believers. This requires the submission of the entire person to the guidance and control of God’s Spirit living out His truth in our life. This Faith-Rest is continual in the life of the believer who is in fellowship with the Lord.

This faith-rest contrasts with the Sabbath-rest under the Law. The Sabbath-rest was pursued only on the seventh day of the week.

The words ‘ceasing’ and ‘to refresh’ are words used as synonyms for rest.

Faith-rest does include a measure of ceasing, in this sense. To enjoy faith-rest a believer must cease to strive in his own strength and effort to be holy and please the Lord. The secret of Faith-Rest is that Jesus Christ is the One who lives in each believer to conform his desires to the desires of God, and then to impart the power and strength to accomplish God’s purpose. So faith-rest is indeed a ceasing from self effort.

“To refresh” certainly applies to faith-rest. This active walk with Jesus is indeed a refreshing lifestyle. Just look at some of the people around you who are being used by the Lord and you would notice a radiant spirit about them. It is refreshing to be around this kind of people.

However, even faith-rest people require sleep, nourishment and exercise. While we are in this fleshly body we are responsible to maintain the equipment. But that can be carried out in the attitude of faith-rest.

It should almost be obvious that the Faith-Rest, which the Lord produces in the life of obedient Christians on earth is a prelude to the eternal Faith-Rest of heaven. What glory that will be. We cannot even imagine the bliss of that perfect place where we will continually fellowship with God.

Since this offer of “rest” still stands, this passage urges every person to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who refuse to believe, as the Israelites did, will indeed come under the anger of God and will enter the lake of fire where there will never be any rest.

We encourage you to place your faith in Jesus and be included in God’s family.