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. For we who have believed enter that rest. Heb. 4:1-3
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.Heb. 4:9-11
Heavenly Father, on this Lord’s Day morning, I rejoice in the magnificent paradox these Scriptures present: We’re to strive to enter your rest. What a glorious irony—work hard to rest well, stay restless till we rest fully, work hard to cease working.
Yet no real surprise, because the gospel contradicts the fundamental way I’ve been trained to approach every sphere of life—athletics, education, finances, career, and reputation.
“You deserve it, go earn it.” “God helps those who help themselves.” “You’ll always get what’s coming to you, so go get it.” “You can do anything you set your mind to do.” These mantras we’re drilled into me since I was a child, and they’ve failed me ever since.
But (hallelujah), because the gospel is true, I didn’t get what’s coming to me, Father. You gave that to Jesus at the cross. And in exchange, you’ve given me what I never could’ve deserved or earned: complete forgiveness, the righteousness of Jesus, and your permanent favor resting on me.
There’s no greater rest than to know you are at peace with us—to be certain that you are resting and rejoicing over us in love. Our never-ending calling, now, is to hear and believe thisgospel; and to respond accordingly. We now obey you because you love us—not to get you to love us, and O, the difference that makes. Hallelujah, many times over!
What a most liberating vocation you’ve given us. We serve you, not to get anything more, but simply more of you—to glorify you and enjoy you forever. O glorious Sabbath rest! So very Amen I pray, in your holy and grace-full name.