The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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Hebrews 4:1-3, 9-12: "strive to enter the rest of God"

Moving to the next passage, from Hebrews 4 this time, we read:

"Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest,' although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. ...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. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and/ of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. "

Entering the rest of God, which I take it to be an alternative expression for entering the Kingdom of God, being saved, living eternally, is something designed for those of us "who have believed". This is the plan, the design of God for every believer. And this is exactly what will happen, unless somebody falls by disobeying God, refusing Him, turning away from Him, like the Israelites did. That is why the writer is saying: "Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience". It is interesting to look at the Greek word translated as "strive" here: this is the word "spoudazo" which means "to make effort, be prompt or earnest: do (give) diligence, be diligent, endeavor, labor, study" (Strong’s dictionary). We are to strive to enter into the rest of God. From this it is clear that entering the rest of God is neither something guaranteed nor something that happens automatically, once and for all, when one first believes. In contrast it is something we need to give diligence, in order to enter. This is what those of the second and third category of the parable of the sower did not do and as a result the seed of the Word never gave fruit. In contrast to them, the picture we get from Hebrews fits perfectly with the picture of the athlete Paul gave us previously in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."

The true believer tries to make good of his faith, striving to enter into the rest of God, practicing his faith, yes perhaps with failures, but not giving up. May we all do this and keep doing this to the end.

Next section: Hebrews 6:4-9 – those who became partakers of the holy spirit and fell away


Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou