Cones from Hebrews 3—4.
What is this “rest” the Hebrew writer is talking about?
How do we enter it?
And how do we fail to enter it?
The writer to the Hebrews
begins his discussion of God’s rest in chapter 3,
where he references the
Israelites wandering in the desert.
In giving them the land of Canaan, God had promised them
that He would go before them and
defeat all their enemies in order that they could live securely
All that was required of them
fully trust in Him
However, they refused to obey Him.
Instead, they murmured against Him, even yearning
to go back to their
bondage under the Egyptians
(Exodus 16:3; 17:1–7; Numbers 20:3–13).
The particular “rest” referred to here was that of
The land of Canaan.
Into that rest God solemnly said the Israelites
who disobeyed Him
would never enter
They had been rebellious.
All the means of reclaiming them
God had warned and entreated them;
He had caused
His mercies to pass before them,
visited them with judgments in vain;
He now declares that for
all their rebellion they
The Promised Land
But, eventually, the next generation
did place their
faith in God and,
by following the
leadership of Joshua, they,
forty years later,
entered into God’s rest, the land of Canaan
Using the Israelites as an example of those who were
resting in God’s promises,
the writer of Hebrews goes on in chapter 4 to make the
application personal, both to the Hebrew Christians and to us:
"Therefore, since the promise
of entering his rest still stands,
let us be careful that none of you be
found to have fallen short of it”
The promise that still stands is the promise of salvation
through God’s provision--
Jesus Christ. He alone
can provide the eternal rest of salvation
through His blood shed
on the cross for the remission of sins.
God’s rest, then, is in the
spiritual realm, the rest of salvation.
Faith, the author goes on to assert, is the
key to entering God’s rest.
The Hebrews had had the gospel
preached to them,
just as the Israelites
knew the truth about God,
but the messages were of
"no value to them, because those
did not combine it with faith”
Some had heard
good news of Christ,
but they rejected it for
lack of faith.
Hebrews 4:10–13 explains the nature of this faith.
The kind of faith
that enables us to enter into God’s rest
such biblical faith
submissiveness to God,
and our efforts in that area.
Though we desist in our self-efforts to
and the promised eternal rest, we also
"make every effort to enter that rest”
to depend solely on God,
to trust Him implicitly,
to yield totally to the promises of God
through the free
grace of His salvation.
So “that no one will
by following their [the Israelites’]
example of disobedience”
We either trust ourselves
to save ourselves,
or we trust God to do that
through the sacrifice of
Christ on the cross.
to trust God fully in His promises,
we become disobedient and
to enter the rest that is eternal life,
just as the children of Israel became disobedient when
they failed to enter the Promised Land.
So how do we stop trusting ourselves?
How do we place our
full trust in God and His promises?
We enter into God’s rest by '
first understanding our total
to enter God’s rest on our own.
Next, we enter God’s rest by
our total faith
sacrifice of Christ
complete obedience to
“And to whom did God swear that they would never
enter his rest if not to those
So we see that they were not able to enter,
because of their unbelief”
Unlike the Israelites whose unbelief prevented them from entering the Promised Land, we are to enter God’s rest by
faith in Him, faith which is a gift from
Him by grace