Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)
What is the “rest” of God?
Life lived in the fullness of Christ.
In what way can a believer in Christ come short of the rest of God?
By allowing some part of his personality to be dominated by sin or self rather than by Christ.
What was the “gospel” that was preached to the Israelis who were wandering about in the wilderness?
That they were going to be brought into a land where there were springs of water, plenty of rain, an abundance of minerals, and rich soil for grazing and for growing crops.
What takes place if we keep on pressing forward in faith in the Lord?
We enter the rest of God.
The thought here seems to be that everyone who chooses to believe and obey God without murmuring and complaining will enter His rest, His inheritance. The Israelites were not permitted to enter Canaan at their first approach because they would not believe God, even though God had planned from the creation of the world that they should enter Canaan.
The Jews in the wilderness did not mix faith with the word they heard. Even in those days faith was required in order to please God.
We who believe do enter the promised rest. The important word is believe. Those who will not believe shall never enter the rest of God.
Entering the rest of God involves:
Coming to understand what God has stated to be true concerning us.
Believing that what God has stated shall come to pass.
Cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the step-by-step accomplishment of what God has declared to be a fact.
We must read the Scriptures to find what God has stated to be true of our relationship with Him and what He is doing with us through Christ. We must set our mind and heart to believe that what God has stated He can and will do. We must demonstrate our faith in the faithfulness of God by obeying the Holy Spirit in every area of our life at all times.
The Israelites knew that God had called them from Egypt and had promised to bring the people into a land flowing with milk and honey. However, as soon as they became thirsty, or hungry, or discouraged they made little or no attempt to believe that what God had promised to them He was able and willing to do. They doubted the goodness, truth, and power of God. As a result they complained, they murmured, they wept in fear, they rebelled against Moses and Aaron.
We must exercise these three aspects of faith:
Faith based on the knowledge of what God has stated in the Scriptures.
Faith that God is all-powerful and trustworthy. God can and shall keep his part of the contract.
Faith that presses vigorously each day into the rule of the Holy Spirit over our deeds, words, and thoughts.
To be continued.