Cary Allen
18 Apr

Rest is an amazing boundary that God has created in us. We know we need it and yet, we tend to fight against it since it limits what we can accomplish. It’s a natural law and so if we fight against it to the extreme, it can lead to death. 

It’s interesting, because God also instituted a covenant law of rest with the Israelites in the Old Testament under penalty of death.  

[Exo 34:10 NIV] 10 Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in alL the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.  

[Exo 35:2 NIV] 2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.   

In both cases, God chose to set limits on the work that we can accomplish with extreme consequences.  In Ex 34:10 above, we get some insight as to why.  He wanted His people and the people around them to see the awesome work that He would do on their behalf.  He didn’t want them to only focus on their work, because He knew that only His work would save them.  

This theme continues through to the New Testament, where God the Son, Jesus destroys death and brings us eternal life through the gospel by His grace. 

[2Ti 1:9-10 NIV] 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 

In Hebrews 3-4, we see that this sabbath rest is also for Christians today if when we hear His voice, we open our hearts to His Word and believe.     

[Heb 3:7, 8, 12, 19 NIV] 7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, …12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. ... 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. 

[Heb 4:1-3a NIV] 1 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. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest   

There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God when we put our faith in Jesus and approach God’s throne with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help us. 

[Heb 4:9-16 NIV] 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.   

We rest in Jesus, who had no sin, but God made Him to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2Cor 5:21).  

Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 11 ties directly into the sabbath rest teaching above and gives us a beautiful picture of what a life of resting in Christ looks like. 

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

We who are striving to carry the burden of sin and shame by our own works need to lay them down at the feet of Jesus and He will give us the rest that He paid for on our behaves by His finished work on the cross.  And as we choose to take His yoke of learning upon us and walk the road of this life with Him, we’ll learn what a truly gentle and humble heart He has and find rest for our souls along the journey.  And one day that is approaching sooner than we realize, we’ll meet our Lord Jesus face to face as we enter His final rest and our everlasting inheritance as the children of God.

Cary Allen (  

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