Rest for the Weary – Hebrew 4:3

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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There are two basic concepts about how to obtain eternal life. One is to work hard throughout life with good religious works to try to “tip the scales in your favor.” But one can never rest in confidence that eternal life is yours. The other concept is to trust the risen, nail-scarred Savior, who purchased eternal life with His blood and offers it to us freely apart from all works, by trusting in Him alone. Those who trust in Christ find a confidence in their redemption based on the truths in Scripture.

In Hebrews 4:3, the writer stated a simple, but profound, truth: “For we which have believed enter into rest…” These words refer to the rest of eternal salvation. Verse 2 specifies, “the gospel [had been] preached,” but with some it was not received “with faith in them that heard it.” Verse 11 urged the readers to “enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The gospel referred to here was the Gospel of the Kingdom, not today’s Gospel of the Grace of God. Those who believed this gospel by faith had to believe that the Lord Jesus was the promised Messiah of Israel (John 1:49; 6:69; 11:27), confess their sins (Matthew 3:6), repent of their sins (Matthew 3:2), and be water baptized for the remission of sins (Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38). Yes, these were “works” that God required to demonstrate their faith, just as described in James 2:21 and 24. Here the Jews were told, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” “Ye see then how by works a man is justified and not by faith only.” But even with these works, Jews still under the Law of Moses were given salvation on the basis of faith, as implied in Hebrews 4:2. Hebrews 4:10 described those who believed this gospel as having “…entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.”

Our Gospel of Grace for today offers eternal life, through faith alone, apart from all works. Once received, we likewise enter into a rest from attempts to work our way to heaven. We also rest in the assurance of eternal life, God’s love, and all spiritual blessings in Christ. But out of appreciation for salvation received, we are not to rest from serving Christ until He comes to take us to heaven.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."