“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, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11
Once we are saved, through belief in Christ, we enter a Sabbath rest and can rest from our works. As Christ paid the price for our sins we no longer have to worry and strive under the burdensome works of the law but can simply rest in Christ’s work on the cross. We have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). We will still be tempted by our old nature to sin at times, but will quickly repent when this happens as our heart will be grieved and desire to follow God’s laws and precepts. We do not have to worry over our sins, once repented of, as God places them as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). In this way, we do not not have the burden of fruitless striving to follow the law but a heart for God that always leads us inextricably toward righteousness. We are freed to live a restful life if we maintain our faith in God.
Verse 11 instructs us that we must be diligent to enter this rest and not fall short of it as the Israelites whose story was presented earlier in Chapter 4. Israel was disobedient, treating God’s promises lightly, and hankered for Egypt, the land of their bondage. Most of them never reached Canaan and we are warned by their example. Christ’s death gives us the rest that neither Moses or Joshua could give to Israel, if we only believe. The word in the original for “rest” used in the Hebrew passage is only used here. It refers to the eternal rest which will be enjoyed by all who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. It is a “Sabbath” keeping that will never end – the same type of rest that God entered into after creation.
Do you labor and are heavy laden? Come to Christ and find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:30). His burden is light.