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.” When we became the people of God, we entered into God’s rest from sin and guilt. Yet, having tasted of this rest, there still “remains…a rest for the people of God.”
Entrance into this additional spiritual rest requires a ceasing from one’s own works. “For he who has entered His [God’s] rest has himself also ceased from his works.” Renouncing one’s self as the source or cause of spiritual growth, we can then rest in the Lord for a growing life of godly service and fruitfulness. 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 of Paul’s that we 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).
Lord, I see that I must rest in You for daily growth and service as fully as I rested in You for initial salvation. Help me to cease from my own vain striving, that I might trust in You to work in and through me, Amen.