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Hebrews 4:11

Oct 1, 2018   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Daily Writing, Epistles, Epistles (written), Hebrews, Hebrews (written), Writings  //  8 Comments

Monday, 1 October 2018

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:11

The author has shown that the promised rest of God is yet future for the Hebrew people. In verse 4:9, he has stated that there is a Sabbath-rest which is yet available for the people of God. It has been shown that the context of “people of God” is referring to Israel collectively. Individuals of both Jew and Gentile enter into “that rest” by belief (verse 4:3), but there is a time of rest for Israel as a people which is yet ahead. With this understanding, he says, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest.”

The word “diligent” is from a Greek word signifying eagerness or zeal. HELPS Word Studies says it is “acting fervently (speedy commitment) to accomplish all that God assigns through faith (‘His inbirthed persuasion’).” Many commentaries grab onto this and explain that this means that we must be diligent as individuals to work in order to attain rest (meaning heaven). Albert Barnes, bizarrely says, “Heaven is never obtained but by diligence; and no one enters there who does not earnestly desire it, and who does not make a sincere effort to reach it.” That statement is so far from Ephesians 2:8, 9 that it is incredible to even contemplate.

The author has clearly stated that we enter our rest through belief. Nothing he says after that will contradict that one statement, and so this cannot be speaking of us “working” in order to be saved. Rather, we believe, and we enter into God’s rest. Period. On this verse, John Gill rightly says of salvation –

“…salvation is not by works; eternal life is a free gift; good works do not go before to prepare heaven for the saints, but follow after: nor is the saints’ entrance into it a precarious thing; God has promised it, and provided it for his people; Christ is in the possession of it, and is preparing it for them; and the Spirit of God is working them up for the self same thing, and Christ will give them an abundant entrance into it.”

John Gill then says that this verse is not speaking of God’s rest, but the “Gospel rest … which believers now enter into, and is at this present time for them.” Though he was right about salvation, he is incorrect about this. The author has been speaking of the rest promised by God. There is nothing to suggest that he has departed from that. And so what is the author of Hebrews saying now? The answer is that he first speaks of the whole, saying “us.” He then moves to the singular in the second clause with the words, “lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”

The author is asking his audience to watch out for one another. It is exactly what he said to them already in verses 3:12, 13. The people are to be diligent in laboring to enter the rest. They are the people of God, and they have not yet entered that rest. It is incumbent on them to warn one another against failing to believe. It took a bad report by ten of the twelve spies to poison the minds of the entire congregation against entering Canaan. The author is warning against such an attitude again.

As this was written to the first century Jews, it is evident that they once again failed to attain what they had hoped for. However, due to its placement in the Bible after Paul’s epistles and, more importantly, because of God’s unfailing promises, it is evident that the promised rest for Israel is still open to them even now. It will come, and Israel will attain what it has thus far been unable to apprehend.

Life application: It cannot be that a verse in the Bible will contradict another verse. If we are told that someone is saved by grace through faith, it cannot be that another verse will mean that we must labor in order to be saved. Therefore, there must be another meaning to the words than what is at first presumed to be said. For this verse, John Gill understood and gave a second option. However, his option removed itself from the immediate context of what was being presented. And so a third option must exist which accepts both a non-contradictory stand concerning salvation, and which retains the proper context. This is how we are to evaluate Scripture. We are to always maintain context, and we are to ensure that truths which are presented elsewhere are not to be violated in our analysis of what we are studying.

Heavenly Father, Your word says that we are saved by grace through faith and that works are not a part of the process. May we never deviate from this clear, concise, and obvious truth. Our justification is by faith alone. Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we stand approved before You. What could we add to what He has done? Nothing. So let us not go there! Amen.

8 Comments

  • Thank you for the painstaking details you provided for clarity. I am thankful for your work in providing this . Amen.

  • I woke up this morning more excited than ever, I just looked up and rejoiced that Jesus is coming for us any moment now! How can we not get more and more excited with each passing day. The bible signs for the last days are literally exploding off the pages of the bible now! We have gone from hundreds of years between signs manifesting themselves to daily if not hourly now.Amen my anticipation is with out measure now! It’s like walking around on a continuous high! Everything I see and hear says he is near! Yes we may still be here next year or even the year after but nothing can stop or deminish the fact that Jesus is coming for us because we are the generation that will not pass away, we will see these things come to pass before he brings us home and we are seeing them! Forget the anti Christ forget the temple we will not see them we only see the ground work being layed out for them. We have a wedding to attend before they show up Amen.
    I was moved to share this as we all need to stay strong and encouraged in these last days, hours, moments. Encourage others share the joy of the lords imminent coming for his bride and drive away the na Sayers! And the blind and yes the Debbie Downers that surround us! Our dance card is full and we are going to a wedding.

    We ARE another day closer to home

    Grace mercy and peace on you and yours
    God Bless my Friend(s). We fly soon

  • “as this is written to the 1st century jews”.. Charlie, you are clear enough that the entire community of jews and their leaders, rejected the Messiah. I have to remind myself that the book was actually written by a jew and sent, not to the high priest but to the church that was led by jews of faith. Because of their belief in Messiah, they had already entered the promised rest, once for all, right?
    Others previously left Christ, because it was too hard to hear the words “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no part in me. Would you say that those that left never really believed in the first place?

  • John, You are right about the those who believe entering His rest. I believe the evidence points to Paul as the author (see Introduction), but as he didn’t sign it, I just call him the author. He is clear though that those Jews who believed did, in fact, enter it. That is why Paul could tell those at Colossae that they did not need to observe a Sabbath (2:16, 17). There were Jewish believers among them with all certainty. As far as those in John 6, some may have come back to Christ after the resurrection due to the appeal by Peter in Acts 2, 4, and their extended ministry. They may not have understood what Christ was saying as He had not yet completed His ministry. Remember that Peter didn’t understand and tried to stop him. Even at His ascension, they still didn’t quite get it. It took Paul, one thoroughly knowledge in the law, to really get the point across. You can tell that Peter had to read and re-read what Paul said by his comments in 2 Peter 3:16. And we… 2000 years later, are still struggling to get it right. Every time I think I have it all figure out, I find myself put back in my place! One day at a time and forward in His word!

  • Bless each of you and please have a whopping evening!

  • Great Bible study and also great questions and answers and encouragement! Thank you all for your posts! And thank You, Jesus!

  • BLESS GOD PRAISE JESUS! I am so happy when I get more doctrine from a prophecy update than many others sermons. General Charlie ” the hammer” Garrett of the army of Christian soldiers , you are so awesome at times , regular awesome the rest of the rest ,, and yes, JESUS is the best of the best.

  • Shane, I always lose subscribers when I speak about doctrine. Hard to understand. Prophecy watchers for the most part don’t care about the Bible. They just want sensationalism. It breaks my heart.

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