“There remains, therefore, a Rest to the People of God—for he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that Rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
When we “abide in Him” (Jn. 15:1-7) and “walk in His Spirit” (Rom. 8:1) we’ll know firsthand what it truly means to “rest in Him” (Mt. 11:28-30).
The Sabbath Rest.
At first glance, it would appear that’s what’s being talked about in today’s Manna. And, knowing that the writer’s recipients were most likely Jewish-Christians undergoing severe persecution, we know they were likely quite familiar with the meaning of this type Rest.
They knew the Fourth Commandment was “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work. But, the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. . .wherefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it” (Ex. 20:8-11).
As followers of Christ and having been saved by Grace, they knew He didn’t “come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it” (Mt. 5:17). They also knew how Jesus and His disciples were hungry one Sabbath and plucked some corn from a nearby field to eat because they were hungry (Mk. 2:23). This incensed the Pharisees, who viewed that as work and a violation of God’s Sabbath Law (v.24). But, Jesus responded by saying “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (vv.27-28).
Since they (and we) knew Jesus lived a sinless life, they realized He was bringing them to a new level of understanding concerning the Sabbath Rest. He’d preceded their Sabbath corn-plucking by teaching on “new wine in new wineskins” (vv.19-22). Thus, again, He was stressing the fact that rote religious rituals and performing perfunctory obligations “fulfills the letter of the Law,” but it can do nothing to bring about life (II Cor. 3:6-7, 17).
Simply put, it is not our keeping of the Law that makes us right with God and gives us rest; it is our resting in His acceptance by Grace and operating in “the spirit of the Law” that does so. This is not a license to sin (Rom. 6:1ff); however, it is an invitation into the liberty that accompanies Christ’s true Sabbath Rest.
As someone once said, “There’s nothing we can do to make God love us more. . .or less.” So true, so true. When we realize we’re “accepted/made acceptable in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6) when we’re “saved by Grace, not works” (Eph. 2:8-9), we’re then free to “be” instead of worrying about what we do or don’t do. Hallelujah!!
Are you resting in Him today, Pilgrim? Or, are you constantly worried if you’re doing the “right” thing or doing enough to please Him? Our “laboring to enter into that Rest”—the new Sabbath Rest—reminds us that old habits and teachings die hard; however, how sweet it is when we finally learn to rest in Who He is and what He has done (Heb. 11:6). Glory!!
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated January 20, 2011