“Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Heb. 4:11.)
“That rest,” spoken of in the first verse as “his rest,” evidently does not refer to the rest of the glorified in heaven, but is a rest to be experienced and enjoyed in this life; it is a present tense rest: “For we which have believed DO enter into rest.” V. 3. It is designated by some as “the rest of faith,” or “soul rest.”
Among man’s deepest feelings is at times the longing for rest. Nothing in this world can fully satisfy that longing. However, provision has been made to meet and satisfy this longing and need of the soul, just as certainly as every other need and demand of our nature. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” When Jesus speaks pardon to a sinner, the burden of sin and guilt is rolled away, and heavenly peace fills the soul. This might be termed rest No. 1, and is given on condition that we “Come” to Him.
After this He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls,” This rest we “find” after we have had His yoke upon us and learned of Him, and may be termed rest No. 2. It was this that Charles Wesley had in mind when he sang:
“Breathe, O breathe thy loving spirit
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit.
Let us find that second rest.”
This is not the rest of inactivity, but of harmonious service. It is not physical, but spiritual; not of the senses, but of the soul.
“Absence of occupation is not rest;
A mind quite vacant is a mind distrest.”
This rest is not in outward conditions and circumstances, but is a deep, inward rest, even amidst outward turmoil and conflict. It is that heart condition that enables one to ”glory in tribulation also.” Circumstances are variable, uncertain and unreliable; no real and abiding rest can be had by dependence upon circumstances, however favorable.
The most prolific source of spiritual Unrest is due to carnality in the heart. “The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17.) While this inward conflict and warfare continues, there can he no abiding soul rest. The very effort to be good, and do good, will at times be laborious and wearisome. And the constant and continual struggle and battle with evil tendencies, unholy tempers and appetites, and doubts and fears’ — all of which spring from the carnal mind — makes it impossible to have real soul-rest while this dual nature exists. But when the “‘carnal mind,” “the flesh,” ‘”our old man,” inbred sin, original sin, the Adamic nature (all of which mean the same thing) is crucified and destroyed, the inward disturber of the peace is removed, and the soul will repose in God.
The basis of “that rest” is in the promises of God. “Let us, therefore, fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” God has given the promise of rest to all who will come to Him, and take His yoke upon them and learn of Him. As He spake to His servant Moses, so He speaks to every believing heart, saying, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” (Ex. 33:14.) The condition for entrance upon this rest is faith. “We which have believed do enter into rest.”
Speaking of Canaan as typical of this rest, He says: “They could not enter in because of unbelief.” By this reference to Canaan as a type of “that rest,” we are warranted in saying it is not a rest offered to sinners, but to the Israel of God; that it is to be found after a second crossing – first having crossed the Red Sea and then the Jordan — and that only they who have been delivered from carnality by a second work of grace can hope to enjoy this rest; seeing that Canaan is a type – not of justification — but of sanctification.
In verse ten he urges the necessity of this experience as a preventative and antidote for backsliding: “Lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The inference is that if they fail to press forward and claim their full inheritance, they will become “wearied and faint,” and fall away. And, indeed, is not this the sad experience of the great majority who are converted in the revivals of these days. They start out with all sincerity of purpose, but because of untoward conditions without, and the struggle and conflict with carnality in their hearts, they soon become “weary and faint,” and fall by the wayside. Thus we see how very important it is that young converts be properly instructed and urged to seek and obtain “that second rest.”
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” (Jer. 6:16.) Soul rest is the crowning jewel of the experience of entire sanctification. The carnal mind, having been destroyed, there will be an end to the inward struggle with anger, pride, jealousies, malice, doubt and fear; and fret and worry will be unknown.
While there may be outward conflict, there is quietness and confidence within, a the soul reposes in God, so that in the presence of any adversity or opposition, the individual can say with Paul, “None of these things move me.” Instead of frowns and scowls and wrinkles, there will be seen the smile, the relaxed and restful look, and the glow of a heavenly light in the very countenance of such as “have believed,” and “do enter” “into His rest.” Glory! “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; fret not.” (Ps. 37:7). “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” (Ezek. 34:14, 15.)