3:1-4:16-Faithful Until the End (cont’d)
Consider Yourself—that You Remain Faithful (4:1-16)
Having been admonished to be faithful…Paul now gives us four sources of strength that will enable us to do so.
- We Have a Fear from God of Disobedience (4:1-11)
The "rest" that Moses and Joshua provided was a symbol of the "rest" that God will provide...a "Sabbath rest". This rest is given to those who have faith in God. We must remember the setting to which the author is writing and what he is attempting to accomplish…to challenge and encourage Hebrew believers to remain faithful to Christ even during their time of personal questioning concerning their commitment to Jesus as the Messiah, the loss of the familiar trappings of their Jewish religious practices, and the inevitable trials and persecution they must face. Stay faithful…that is the message.
Hebrews 4:1-The word “fear” comes from the Greek word for “phobeisthai”…do you see the English word “phobia” there? This passage is really a continuation of the warning we just found in 3:7-19. What are we to fear? We are to fear that we might miss out on the rest, the peace that accompanies a faithful walk with Christ. He is acknowledging that they are going through difficult times. But he is telling them that they can still have God’s rest, His peace in their hearts…even in the midst of difficulties, trials, and persecutions. This is the “rest” that he is speaking of. Look closely at what he says about this rest…
The Stipulation of Rest (:1-3)
That the word that we hear preached is “united by faith,…have believed”. In other words, we don’t just hear it, but we receive it to be true and trust it.
The Origination of Rest (:4-5)
This rest is not just something that we accomplish on our own. But it comes from God, Himself.
The Continuation of Rest (:6-8)
This rest was not just applicable to the people in Joshua’s day. Paul demonstrates this by making reference to what David wrote about rest. If this rest had stopped in Joshua’s day…then why would David write about it? The promise of rest continues…even till our own day.
The Illustration of Rest (:9-10)
God serves as the illustration of what rest is about. When God rested after finishing His work of creation…He did not completely cease from activity. He continued to work to maintain and care for His creation. His rest was the satisfaction that the resulting creation conformed perfectly to His will. In a similar way, we have rest when we are conformed perfectly to His will.
The Application of Rest (:11)
We should be “diligent” to have the rest of God…by being faithful to Him.
- We Have the Word from God to Discern Our True Condition (4:12-13)
Hebrews 4:11-16-Again, the key to having lasting faith is to keep our eyes on Jesus and to trust Him to give us grace and mercy in all circumstances. Because of His incarnation He can fully and completely understand all of our trials and will give us whatever is necessary in our time of need. God has given us His Word so that we can correctly discern the status of our faithfulness. Paul tells us why the Word of God is effective in doing this.
The Word of God is Eternally Current (:12)…it is never out of date
The Word of God is Life Changing (:12)…it gives direction for change
The Word of God is Precise (:12)…it deals with specific issues in our lives
The Word of God is Unlimited (:12)…there is nothing that it doesn’t deal with
The Word of God is Discerning (:12)…it is able to discern truth from falsehood
The Word of God is All-Revealing (:13)…there is nothing that escapes it
- We Have a High Priest from God Who Sympathizes with Our Struggles (4:14-15)
Because of His Deity He can Bring God to Man (:14)
Because Jesus is God (“a great High Priest who has passed through the Heavens”)…He clearly reveals God to us. In this revelation He is greater than all others. Consequently, having received this great revelation about God…we should “hold fast our confession”. We should be certain to remain faithful.
Because of His Humanity He can Bring Man to God (:15)
Because Jesus became human…He understands human life from a human perspective. As man, He was tempted in all areas of life and as a result, He is sympathetic with our struggles. When He goes to the Father in our behalf He has first-hand knowledge of life as we face it and can compassionately present our case to Him.
- We Have Mercy and Grace from God in Time of Need (4:16)
The result is that when we face difficulties we can confidently go to Jesus and know that He will intercede on our behalf to the Father and we will receive His help. This should encourage us to be faithful.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace. Lord Jesus, thank You that You fully and completely understand everything that I will encounter in life.