Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
This passage of scripture assures us that there is a rest reserved for the people of God and that as we enter into His rest, we should cease from our own works. This reference is taken from the Genesis account where God rested from His creative works after creating the world in six days. The record explicitly states that God rested on the seventh day. Let's read:
Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
The passage in Hebrews then tells us that we should follow God's lead by also resting from our own works, just as God did from His. The question for us is, what then constitutes our own works? As usual, we let the Bible explain itself. Let's read:
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
However, the works of the flesh are not only restricted to the above mentioned evils, but they also include our own efforts to save ourselves, independent of the grace of God. In the days of Christ when He walked this earth, the Hebrews had introduced many tedious additions to the plan of salvation, and as a result the multitudes were burdened with heavy loads in their efforts to find rest in God. These numerous requirements had the effect of making the process of salvation very obscure, and thus the masses of people could not enter into God's rest, for they were never assured of being accepted by God. Jesus alluded to this when He reproved the scribes and pharisees for binding heavy burdens upon the hearts of those who were seeking that spiritual rest we are all so in need of. Let's read:
Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
In our day the same errors are being repeated for there are very many people who seek acceptance with God through their own good works, and thus they have essentially changed the requirements of the plan of salvation to include stipulations of their own devising. Many, even amongst evangelicals, have taken up the issues of global warming, global poverty and income inequality, while others have incorporated the care of our environment into the gospel of salvation. Many others take a hands off approach, whereby the principles and laws of God are not interfaced with their daily experiences, yet they are active members of their churches and are very faithful to fulfill all known religious duties.
While good works are very important in their legitimate sphere, yet we should never forget the means whereby salvation is accomplished in our lives. The Bible reminds us of this sacred truth, and we would do well to often reflect upon it. Let's read:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The rest of faith is very simple, in that it agrees to the terms and conditions set forth in the scriptures, by allowing God to write His law in our hearts and minds, trusting Him to do the work that only He can do, and cooperating with Him by His power, so that the plan of salvation can be brought to completion in our individual lives. We are not to worry and lose sleep over the issue our eternal salvation, if we trust in the Living God, nor are we to become involved in building doomsday bunkers to survive the coming conflict. Those who will be saved eternally would have surrendered their lives entirely to God, and even though good works will be made manifest in their lives, their confidence will never be in those works, but in Christ alone.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture which reminds us that the rest of faith can be found in Christ alone, and thus we urge everyone to avail ourselves of God's grace, by seeking Him daily for strength to keep moving forward with a steady and even tread. Let's read:
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
May God grant to us His grace that this promise of rest might be fulfilled in our lives, both now and forevermore. "Good night" and God bless!