There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…Hebrews 4:9-11
When we enter into Christ, we enter the Sabbath-rest purchased for the people of God. We can rest from trying to earn salvation. Our good works won’t earn us a right standing with God. Our striving won’t conquer sin and death. Jesus did that for us by His death and resurrection. So now we can rest in Him.
Have you ever tried to rest at night but your soul was restless? Have you ever gone away on vacation only to return more tired than you were when you left? Physical rest is essential to the Christian life. But physical rest is only a picture of what is supposed to be happening in our soul. Jesus offers us true rest for our souls. He said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
A yoke would sit on the shoulders of two beasts of burden as they worked the field. Jesus is offering to walk next to us and give us an exchange. He will take our heavy burden off of our shoulders if we will take his light burden upon ours. We will find rest for our souls if we continue to walk with Jesus.
This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us to “make every effort” to “enter that rest.” It takes effort and diligence to enter the rest offered to us by Christ. Jesus did the work for us so that we we can rest in Him. Our part is to put forth the effort to enter that rest.
The prophet Jeremiah warned the people of God:
This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;Jeremiah 6:16-17
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
Jesus is the good way. He is the ancient path. If we walk with Him and remain in Him, we will live with our souls at rest. Apart from Him, we will feel a deep restlessness in our heart and mind. It’s not just about believing in Him but about remaining in Him. It’s not just about faith but about obedience. This is how we make every effort to enter that rest. Jesus said:
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5