Monday, September 11, 2017, 5:01 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Lord’s Anointed.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 4:1-13 (NASB).
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
“As I swore in My wrath,
They shall not enter My rest,”
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 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. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Entering His Rest
To whom are these words addressed? They are addressed to all those who make a confession of faith in Jesus Christ, who are regarded as being in the faith (See: Heb. 3:1, 12). We are being warned and cautioned against ignoring God’s Words, against hardening our hearts, and against having sinful unbelieving hearts that turn away from the living God. And, we are being strongly exhorted to keep our thoughts focused on Jesus, to encourage one another daily, and with the understanding that if we hold firmly to the end the faith we profess, then we share in Christ, and we are God’s house, the body of Christ, his church (See: Heb. 3:1-19).
So, what is God’s rest that we are to enter? It is our salvation, it is eternal life with God, and it is the promise of eternity with God in heaven. It is life in the Spirit, and fullness of life in Christ Jesus, our Lord. And, it is freedom from bondage to sin, deliverance from the punishment of sin, and freedom to walk (in lifestyle) in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. As well, it is victory over darkness, and walking in the Light of Christ and His Word. For, our eternal life with God begins when we first trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, as well as it is what we receive when our lives on this earth are done (Jn. 3:36; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 6:47-54; Ro. 6:22-23; Gal. 6:8).
Coming Up Short
So, if we believe in Jesus Christ, how is it that we can come up short of entering into God’s eternal rest? Well, for one, our belief in Jesus Christ may be superficial and not genuine faith, for it may be based in a lie, and not in the truth. For, we may have had “good news” preached to us, but it may not be the “Good News” according to Jesus and His Word, but rather a diluted version introduced by humans whose goal it is to appease human flesh.
So, we must understand here what the real “Good News” is. First off, it is not merely an escape from punishment in hell and the promise of heaven when we die. It is not merely forgiveness of our sins, either. It is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. It is that we need to have our spiritually blinded eyes opened to the truth, that we may be turned from darkness (sin) to the light (truth, righteousness), and from the power (control) of Satan over our lives, to God to walk in his holiness. Then, we can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ, their Lord (1 Pet. 2:24; Acts 26:16-18).
In other words, coming to faith in Jesus Christ is not a mere acknowledgment of him and what he did in dying on a cross for our sins, or a mere acceptance of his grace and his forgiveness of our sins. When we genuinely believe in Jesus Christ, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Christ, so we are to honor God with our lives. We now no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our flesh, but we walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit of God and his righteousness and holiness.
For, if we walk according to our flesh, or if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will die in our sins, and not have eternal life with God. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, we are liars, in fact. And, if we continue and persist in sinful practices, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, as we might have come to believe, but, instead, a fearful expectation of judgment (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6).
Failure to Enter
So, what is the determining factor as to whether we have eternal life with God or we don’t? It all comes down to obedience. So many people today are teaching a gospel message absent of obedience to Christ, and thus they are leading their adherents straight to hell. For, they tell them or they lead them to believe that God requires no repentance, no obedience and no submission to himself or to his cross, but that goes against what the Bible teaches us. If we do not die to sin, we do not live with Christ. And, if we don’t obey him, we don’t know him, we don’t love him, and we don’t have eternal life in him (See: Jn. 8:51; Jn. 14:23-24; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 3:24; 2 Jn. 1:6).
Many people try to get around this by claiming that this is works-based salvation, but that isn’t true, because Jesus taught it, and his NT apostles taught it, and they didn’t teach works-based salvation. We don’t obey God and his Word to earn or to deserve our salvation, but we obey, in the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us, as a result of our salvation. Yet, obedience is not optional! Again, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is the essence of the gospel message, which is taught throughout the New Testament, and in the Old Testament, as well.
If we want to enter into God’s rest, i.e. if we want to have eternal life with God in heaven, then we need to walk in obedience to our Lord, not necessarily in sinless perfection (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but in consistent and persistent walks of faith in Christ and in his Word, and in His power and strength within us. If we choose to walk in disobedience, instead, and to gratify our sinful cravings by living sinful lifestyles and by practicing sin, then we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God.
These are not my words! These are the Words of God! The whole purpose of our salvation is to deliver us out of slavery (addiction) to sin, not to placate sin or to entertain it, or to endorse it, or to pacify it in any way, shape or form. So, if you are playing with sin, thinking you have the hope of heaven, and that God’s grace covers it all, think again. God has the final word!
The Lord’s Anointed
An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.
They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to
Wear, as the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.