Journal – January 9, 2022
7 Again, He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
THE PROMISE OF REST (PART 3)
HEBREWS 4: 7-11
Vs. 7 Again, He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today,” if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. The Apostle’s argument is this, that after the constitution of the sabbatical rest, and the proposition of the rest of Canaan to the people in the wilderness; God, besides them hath limited, determined another day, which was not of the former. This must needs be ‘another day,’ which can be no other than the day of the gospel. In this verse he lays great stress on the time of entering the rest of the gospel—Today, where he teaches the great mystery of a gospel rest. Observe from these words:
- That in reading and hearing the Scriptures we ought to hear God speaking to us. God spoke to David, and by David He speaks to us. And this also concerns the word preached; provided, that those who preach are sent of God, that what is preached is according to the analogy of faith, that it be drawn from the written word, and that it be delivered in the name and authority of God.
- The Holy Scriptures are an inexhaustible treasury of spiritual mysteries and sacred truths, many of which lie deep and secret, and stand in need of diligent search and hard digging in their investigation and for their finding out. Let us endeavor in all inquiries into the word to mind and aim at the same ends that God had in granting it to us.
Vs. 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. Whatever Jesus—Joshua—might pretend or plead, it is evident he did not give them rest, that is the rest which in all these things God aimed at; that is clear when we consider that five hundred years after Joshua, God in David and by him proposes another day of rest, and invites the people to an entrance into it, after they were so long fully possessed of all that Joshua led them into. Therefore, David directs them to still look out after the rest yet to come. Observe them:
- There is no true rest for the souls of men but only in Jesus Christ by the gospel.
- The gospel church state is one of spiritual rest in Christ.
- It is. a great mercy and privilege to have a day of rest given to us.
Vs. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
The Apostle shows that the privilege of being the people of God, with enjoyment of a day of rest, is now transferred from the old estate and the Canaan rest to them that shall and do enter this rest of God under the gospel. Therefore, instead of these Hebrews to whom he is writing in the first place losing the privilege of being the people of God through faith in Christ, he lets them know that they could no longer retain it without faith in Christ. If they failed in this, they would no longer be the people of God. Let them then observe:
- That believers under the New Testament have lost nothing, no privilege that was enjoyed by them of old.
- It is the people of God alone, who have a right into all the privileges of the gospel, and who in a due manner can perform all the duties of it.
- The people of God as such have work to do, and labor incumbent on them. Rest and labor go together, the one supposes the other.
- God has graciously given His people an entrance into rest during their state of work and labor, to sweeten it to them, and to enable them for it.
- Believers may and do find assured rest in a due attendance to the performance of the duties of the gospel. This is that the Apostle asserts and proves.
- There is a weekly sacred day of rest appointed for believers under the gospel, as will appear from the next verse.
Vs. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
Expositors generally apply these words to the believer, and their entering into the rest of God. I shall not contend with any but will with all humility propose my own thoughts to the consideration of them who are wise and learned and godly. I am not satisfied with the above exposition. Supposing believers to be here intended, what are the works they are here said to rest from? To rest from them as God did His? God so rested to take the greatest delight in His works. He so rested from His works as to rest in them. The rest here spoken of cannot be heaven, for that utterly excludes the rest in and of the gospel which is the matter the Apostle is discoursing. It appears to me that it is the rest of another that is spoken of, even the rest of Christ from His works, which is compared to the rest of God from His works in creation. This gives an account of the connection in the word ‘for.’ There remains therefore, a rest the people of God, “for Christ is entered into His rest.” The works from which Christ ceased includes all that He did and suffered from His incarnation to His resurrection, as the Mediator of the new covenant. Christ’s rest consists in an entire cessation from all these works, and an entire satisfaction in them and their results. His entrance into this rest was upon His resurrection on the morning of the first day of the week, when He arose from the dead, the foundation of the new creation being laid and perfected.
Vs. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
In verse 9 the Apostle uses the word sabbatism for rest; There remains therefore a sabbatism to the people of God, by which he intended to express the rest of the gospel not absolutely, but with respect unto the pledge of it in the day of rest; but here in verse 11 the Apostle returns to exhort them to enter in to the whole rest of God in the gospel, and therefore resumes the word rest whereby he had before expressed the rest of God in general. He exhorts them here to labor, to diligently study, to endeavor to enter that rest. We may observe from this exhortation:
- The great oppositions will and do arise against men in the work of entering God’s rest, that is into gospel faith and obedience. But notwithstanding all these difficulties, the promise of God being mixed with faith will carry us safely them all.
- That as the utmost of our endeavor and labors are required to our obtaining an entrance into the rest of Christ, so it does very well deserve that they should be laid out therein. Men are content to lay themselves out to the utmost, and spend their strength for the bread that perishes, yes for that which is not bread. This their way is their folly. But the rest of the gospel deserves our utmost diligence and endeavor. To convince men of this is one of the chief ends of preaching the gospel.
- There is a present excellency in and a present reward attending gospel faith and obedience. They give us present entrance into the rest of Christ and are the means of entering into the future eternal rest with God.
Lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience, you have the gospel and the rest of Christ preached unto you; some of you have already taken upon you the profession of the gospel, as they of old did when they said, all that the Lord our God shall command, that we will do. Your condition is now like theirs and represented therein. Consider how things fell out with them, and what was the event of their sin and God’s dealing with them. They did not believe, they did not make good their promises, they were stubborn and disobedient, they perished in the wilderness not entering Gods rest. If now you, or any among you, shall be found guilty of their sin, or the like answering to it, do not think or hope you shall avoid like punishment. If you would not fall into it, or fall under it, labor by faith and obedience to enter the rest of Christ. Observe from this:
- That precedent judgments on others are monitory ordinances unto us.
- It is better to have an example, than to be made an example of divine displeasure.
- We ought to have no expectation of escaping vengeance under the guilt of these sins, which others in a like manner have not escaped the guilt. There is no more certain rule for us to judge our own condition than the example of God’s dealing with others in the same condition; for with God there is no respect of persons.