Friday, March 1, 2013

Laboring to Enter the Rest -- Clarifications

"11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4: 11)

This post is the most important for people like me, who grew up in church, and who never understood the complete and final  Finished Work of Jesus Christ at the Cross.

I was unskilled in righteousness (Hebrews 5: 13)

I never understood the meaning of grace, let alone its crucial importance in the lives of every believer.

We need as much of God's grace as possible in our lives.

We do not live this live ourselves,  but rather we live and breathe and have our being in Christ Jesus./

For so long, I was doing everything on my own.

I had a strange sense of fear and guilt in my lives. I was very easily hurt, too, full of myself, convinced that everything that I had and did and was -- it was all up to me.

That is so contrary to the goodness of God, which leads all men to repentance, but not just from death in our sins, but even for those who know and believe in the love of God, we need to learn more that Jesus wants to save us in every situation, not just from hell, but to bring more of heaven into our lives by His grace.

Now, when I learned about this "rest", I assumed that I was supposed to sit down and not do anything, and then God will take care of everything.

That is not the case at all:

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (1 Thessalonians 3: 10)

There are many scriptures in Proverbs which denounce sloth:

"The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." (Proverbs 13: 4)

What makes us diligent, of course, is that all our sins are forgiven, and the grace of God teaches us and empowers us to love and live the lively reign in Christ:

"10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. " (1 Corinthianss 15: 10)

The notion that we are called to rest physically and do nothing is completely contrary, antithetical even, to the "rest" of righteousness, in which we no longer have to do things to be accepted by God (Ephesians 1: 6)

Other scriptures glorify hard work:

"As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed." (Proverbs 26: 14)

A more accurate rendering of this verse would be:

"As a swinging door painfully creaks on its hingers, so does the slothful man toss and turn upon his bed."

Sloth and laziness are actually painful, causing harm to a man's body, as well as diminishing his resources and frustrating the grace of God in his life. He tosses and turns on his bed, but he has no rest!

The first mention of "door" gives us more insight:

"Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him" (Genesis 19:6)

The wicked men of Sodom wanted to rape the two angels who had visited Lot and his family, to take them out of the wicked city, but Lot closed the door to try and stop them. Lot (which means "veil") used his own efforts to stop the men, but our own efforts produce works of the flesh, instead of the fruit of the Spirit.

By extension, a "door" which is not closed is a door which allows sin and death to enter in. The grace of God stops us from sinning, but an open door implies that a person is still living in sin, still under sin, still in bondage to the law.

Under grace, sin has no dominion over us:

"14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6: 14)


"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:11-14)

Notice that the grace of God direct us away from sin,  and enables us to live godly lives, "zealous for good works."

The grace of God, the rest from works for righteousness, does not induce or enhance "doing nothing", but rather allows us to focus our efforts in peaceful, good works of righteousness.

When we believe that God has blessed us with all Spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), that He wants to bless the work of our hands, that any work that we do will profit because of His grace (Proverbs 14: 23), then we will not sit and do nothing, but do all things in our heart, for Christ strengthens us (Philippians 4: 13)

We rest from doing works for righteousness, but in no way does that mean that we sit and do nothing at all!

No comments:

Post a Comment