“Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” Hebrews 4:1-2 ESV
When Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins, there was an exchange that took place. He exchanged his life for our freedom from slavery to sin, and for our union (oneness; bond) with God, whereby we, by faith in him, are now God’s possession, that we might be for the praise of his glory.
He exchanged death for life, and sin (wickedness) for righteousness, the flesh for the Spirit, the old life of sin for the new life in the Spirit, and the old walk (lifestyle) according to the flesh for a new walk according to the Spirit.
He who knew no sin, thus, became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God, in order that our lives would no longer be lived for our flesh, but for the glory of God; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
The exchange that took place on that cross made it possible for us to be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. For, he died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us from our bondage to sin, and to empower us to live godly lives in Him (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Acts 26:18).
So, this exchange was/is being powered by God, and by his righteousness and holiness, and by what is honorable, virtuous, upright, moral and decent.
But, somewhere along the way, a shift took place, and this exchange was muddied, and now it was being powered by the flesh and by Satan and by the aristocrats of the world, i.e. by government by a small privileged class of people, who are the wealthy and powerful of the world, of the beast, of the New World Order – a shadow government which is ruling the world.
Thus, the exchange (God’s plan of salvation), as it is now largely being presented to the masses, is being powered by unrighteousness, wickedness, dishonor, immorality, moral filth and indecency, i.e. it is of the flesh of man.
So, it isn’t the exchange that Jesus provided that is being driven by the flesh and by these aristocrats, but it is a cheap substitute for God’s true grace which is being presented to the masses, and which the majority of people appear to be accepting, at least here in America.
So, the exchange Jesus provided, which exchanges darkness for light and death for life, via Jesus’ death and resurrection, is not what is largely being pushed and promoted these days. What is largely being presented is really darkness for more darkness and death for more death, but it is disguised to appear as though one is receiving light and life in the Spirit of God.
But, this muddied exchange crosses over God’s righteous boundaries which he set up for our good. For, they not only lowered God’s boundary line, but they pretty much wiped it out entirely. Instead of a move toward moral purity and uprightness, it has been a move toward what is immoral and of the flesh. For, this “new” exchange sets no boundaries, for it requires no repentance, no walks of obedience, and no submission to Christ and to his cross (in death to sin, and in living to righteousness).
Thus, this “exchange” that took place on the cross, but that has been muddied and altered to appeal to the flesh, is not of the Spirit of God, but is absent of the Spirit of God, and thus it saves no one from his sins and it cannot promise anyone the hope of eternal life with God. Instead, it condemns its followers to continued lifestyles of sin and to hell’s fury.
United by Faith
Now, those who are promoting this cheap substitute for God’s true grace will tell you that they have faith in Jesus Christ, and that only faith is required of them. But, the faith they have is of the flesh of man, for it does not submit to Christ as Lord, it does not turn away from sinful lifestyles, and it doesn’t walk in obedience to Christ, for they believe they don’t have to.
So, this man-made exchange from death to life in Christ Jesus, via faith in Jesus Christ, is not set apart from the world and unto God, but it is set apart from God and unto the world. For, it is separate from God’s divine plan and purpose for our lives. It is apart from his holiness and righteousness. And, it is closed off from the Holy Spirit’s power and influence and control over one’s life. And, it is under the influence and control of the flesh, instead.
It has not made a covenant with God or with life everlasting, but it has made a covenant with death and eternal damnation. For, it refuses to submit to Christ as Lord, to repent of sin, and to walk according to God’s commands.
And, it is being adopted widely by the immature who are driven by the flesh, and who want to continue in their fleshliness without guilt and remorse.
But, true faith in Jesus Christ, as taught by Jesus and by his New Testament apostles, submits to Christ as Lord. For, faith in Jesus is gifted to us by God, and so it turns from sin and it turns to walk in obedience to our Lord God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24).
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
Hebrews 4:6-7 ESV
So, why do some fail to enter into God’s eternal rest? Because of disobedience. And, they disobeyed because they hardened their hearts against God’s commands, and they refused to do what he told them to do, but they went their own way, instead. And, they followed after the gods of this world, and after their flesh. And, that is exactly what is happening with this cheap grace gospel, too, i.e. this muddied exchange of death for life.
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV
We need to take this to heart. We are not going to have eternal life with God if the “faith” we profess in Jesus Christ is not of God, but of the flesh, and thus it does not submit to Jesus as Lord, and thus it does not repent of sin or walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands. True faith in Jesus Christ walks in obedience to our Lord’s commands, not perfectly, necessarily, but consistently, habitually, and empowered by God and his righteousness.
Our Lord does not ignore our sin just because we believe in him. If he did, then we could throw out most of the New Testament, for most of the New Testament is written to the church, to true (or professed) believers in Jesus Christ, warning them against falling away, and against going back to sinful practices, and against living in adultery and returning to lifestyles of sin.
And, the New Testament is loaded with instructions to the church regarding walking in holiness, righteousness, purity, and faithfulness, etc.
So, if God can no longer see our sin, then how could he know to warn us against what we are doing that is wrong? And then this scripture, too, would be a lie, for it says that the Word of God discerns the thoughts and the intentions of the heart, and that none of us are hidden from God’s sight, but we are all exposed to his eyes, and we must all give an account to him for how we lived our lives on this earth. And, that means ALL of us.
So, take that seriously, for we are all going to be judged by what we do, not by what we profess with our lips (See: Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Lu. 9:23-26, etc.).
Abide With Me
Henry F. Lyte / William H. Monk
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.