We Can Rest in God’s Faithfulness :: by Gene Lawley

A verse of Scripture that has fascinating implications is Hebrews 4:10:

“For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Note carefully the capitalization of the pronouns.)

Of course, this points us back to God’s Sabbath Day of rest following His six days of creation, as laid out in Genesis 1. However, a lot more went on in God’s plan and purpose before He came to that phase of His program having to do with mankind. Psalm 90:2 tells us this:

“Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

Back in those eons of eternity God was preparing some foundational things that would affect our relationship with Him, such as these:

“…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…” (Titus 1:2).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

There are other passages that tell of this, as well. Another Scripture that is fascinating to think on is Hebrews 1:1-3, followed by 11:1-3:

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…”

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Now look at Colossians 1:15-17, where Paul tells us who is holding all things together:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things,and in Him all things consist.”

Again, there’s the underlining for emphasis on those points. The point I am making is that He spoke all things into existence by the word of His mouth, and it was the eternal Jesus Christ who did it. He said it and it was, and as long as He keeps it “said,,” it will remain in place, according to the foreknown and planned purposes that He has. The fixed stability of that spoken word is found in Mark 13:31:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

These are a lot of Bible quotations, but to arrive at what is meant by the faithfulness of God, we must know the background for it.

So what does this have to do with “entering His rest,” as Hebrews 4:10 mentions? It reads that God had ceased from His own works. They were done before time began and during the six days of creation, and they were done  by the enduring power of His own Word.

The obvious confidence and certainty of His Word speaks of faith. When our faith, and our works also, rests in the finished work of Christ, and our flesh ceases trying to input something into the relationship we have with Christ, that rest of faith will begin to be experienced.

It is clear in Scripture that faith must precede and produce good works, and good works have no part in our salvation, just as Ephesians 2:8-10 tell us:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast, for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

In a seemingly contradictory directive, Paul tells us, in Philippians 2:12-13, to “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (KJV)

Our part is to allow the Spirit of God freedom to produce that life of faith in us by our obedience. Galatians 5:16 tells us, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

Much controversy has continued over the centuries about the issue of faith and works. Even Martin Luther, who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church on that issue, had difficulty with the second chapter of James. In that chapter the writer concludes, in verse 17, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Then he illustrates that principle with the example of Abraham offering his son, Isaac, in obedience to God (Genesis 22), and concludes it by asking, “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”

Perhaps an ending, such as “by works his faith was proven,” would clarify the statement and be consistent with other Scriptures, as Paul’s words in Romans 4:2-3 sheds additional light on the subject:

“If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’”

We are familiar with the statement, “You can know them by their fruits” (in Matthew 7:16). It works both ways—for good fruit and bad fruit. Later, in Matthew 7:21-23, we are told it is not good works that is the determination, but “he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  And John tells us, in 1 John 3:23, “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another…”

How is it going with me, you ask. Well, it is a daily thing. Jesus said, “Take up your cross daily and follow Me,” and that was no casual remark in Luke 9:23. I am reminded of an observation my younger brother made in regard to his semi-truck-tractor he operated. It was the snub-nosed type and he said, “If I have an accident, I am the first one there!”

As in my case—and yours—with the old nature a constant presence in our lives, when the flesh (that old man) tries to take over and fulfill its lusts, I am the first one there! So, coming to the full realization that I am still a sinner, though saved and forgiven, I must maintain that fellowship with the Lord by claiming 1 John 1:9 (the confession and forgiveness promise).

The key is to remember 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall,” and learn to practice Proverbs 4:31 on a consistent basis:

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

May it be so with you, too, and may your rest in the Lord be exceedingly fulfilling.