Hebrews 4:11 (ESV): 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
Using God’s rest on the 7th day of creation as an analogy along with the failure of the Israelites to enter Canaan as God’s rest, the writer contends that there is another rest for the people of God, in which we rest from our works as God did (Hebrews 4:10).
Fascinatingly, the Hebrews writer immediately uses the terminology of work, “strive”, to exhort the people to enter God’s rest.
The key to understanding this tension is in the concept of obedience. The Israelites in the wilderness failed to enter Canaan because of disobedience. So those who are called by God for salvation may lose out on the opportunity to be saved by failing to obey God’s call to trust in Christ alone by grace through faith.
In the latter part of Hebrews 4 and the beginning of Hebrews 5, the writer points out that Jesus, as God in flesh, understands our weaknesses and was tempted like us, yet he did not disobey. He lived without sin.
Indeed, Hebrews 5:8–9 (ESV): 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
It has been ingrained in us that salvation is by grace, which is never and can never be earned, alone through faith. This is true, and we must understand that we do not gain salvation through our own striving.
Yet missing sometimes in our understanding of salvation is that faith is much more than an intellectual agreement that Jesus is God or even that Jesus died in our place, taking our sin upon himself.
Rather, faith is a believing obedience, a surrender to the lordship of Christ Jesus, the beginning of a life of obedience to the one and only King.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace. I have surrendered my life to you, but I recommit myself today to live in obedience to your precepts and principles, always listening closely to the whisper of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.