“For he that is entered into His Rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from His.”
It’s not a matter of quit trying, it’s a matter of start trusting.
Trying to digest today’s Manna is a difficult one indeed if we’re not careful—particularly when the same writer has already warned against “hardening the heart” (3:8, 15). . . “fearing lest we should fall short of one of God’s Promises” (4:1). . .and exhorted us to “labor, therefore, to enter into that Rest” (4:11).
Yet, again, the key here is not resignation; it’s one of relinquishment.
You know, the proverbial “let go and let God” thing.
And, until we learn what it means to “cease from our own works,” we’ll never “enter in” and never experience His “Peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
So, what’s the key to all of this?
First, we must understand what is meant by “our own works.” Does this mean a cessation of endeavors? No, not at all—especially when we’re called “co-laborers together with God” (I Cor. 3:9). And, the Apostle Paul himself said to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
Never forget the little sparrow doesn’t sit around chirping on its limb all day; it still has to get down and scratch around in the dirt before it finds the worm God placed there.
And, so it is with our joint-partnership with Christ.
It’s remembering that He’s the Potter and we’re the clay (Jer. 18:1-6). It’s all remembering that “He (the Heavenly Father) Who has begun a good work in us will continue to perform it until the Day Jesus comes to get us” (Phil. 1:6). And, it’s remembering our faithful God is also the One Who “calls and completes us” in the process of sanctification (I Thess. 5:23-24).
Thus, like Paul it’s realizing all of our good works are null-and-void if they’re rooted in self-righteousness and an attempt to appease God or “make it up to Him” (Phil. 3:3-9). When our service to Christ is perfunctory. . .ritualistic and a “checking of all the squares”. . .trying to make ourselves acceptable to Him. . .and being afraid or ashamed when we fall short. . .then we can rest assured that such efforts are the “dead works” that smell like “filthy rags” to a Holy God (Heb. 9:14; Is. 64:6).
That’s why we must “cease-and-desist from our own works”—i.e., trusting in them—and rest, instead, in Christ’s accomplished Work on the Cross of Calvary. When Jesus said “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30), it was/is finished! Through! Finalized! No need to repeat it ever again (Heb. 9:26, 28; 10:9-14). And, now BECAUSE of His death, burial and Resurrection, we are able to “enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus” (Heb. 10:19). . .“draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (10:22a). . .and “come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain Mercy and find Grace to help in time of need” (4:16). Hallelujah!! May the Holy Spirit help us to rest in Jesus, our Good Shepherd, today, knowing He does all things well and gives us what we need just when we need it.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated December 18, 2010