Entering Gods rest is only through faith and believe in what God has already done for you through Jesus perfect work on the cross.
Hebrews 4:1-2 “1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
The majority of Christians have still not entered God’s rest due to the same disbelief the Israelites had. Entering into rest is not an automatic action just because one becomes born again. The most difficult thing for a Christian to do is to live by faith. We receive Jesus by faith, but by nature we have never lived by faith. If you read and put the timeline down, God’s original intention was to bring His people out of bondage, teach them how to follow Him, make provision for their sanctification, and immediately thereafter take them into their promise land of rest. It was their unbelief that kept them out of Canaan. True Joshua did lead the next generation into the promise land, but King David in Psalms 95:7 said “today if you hear His voice” indicating that His rest still is available to enter into. Remember that Hebrews was written to Jews who had become followers of Jesus, but were turning back toward the Old Mosaic Law. It is always easier to find an action to do in order to receive something than it is to expect to receive it just because the person said they would give it to us. Especially if we do not immediately see the fruit of what was offered and time sets in. With God everything He says is both yes and amen, but it is our minds that need renewing and not out spirits, that keep us caught up in all of man’s rules. Learning to trust God on His timing is the key. He is never early, and He is never late, in fact He is always right on time. The problem is we do not purpose to get out lives set on God’s timing because that requires living by faith. This apparently is what happened to the people in Hebrews, they did not stand on faith, but fell over into what they knew best; the works of the law because Jesus had not returned as soon as they originally thought. You would think a new born again Christian would be able to remain in the same faith they had in the first place to receive salvation, and they would if the works and wages message was not preached so much from pulpits around the world. For some Preachers the ability to stir up their faith to get them saved is all they tend to preach on so the members are stuck in salvation and do not grow in knowledge. For others they preach a modified faith/works message that leaves the hearers with the confused thought of; faith gets you saved, but the works keeps you saved and this has created the double mindedness so prevalent in Christians today.
For indeed the gospel was preached to them. The children of Israel while in Egypt did not hear the good news of Jesus by name as we did when they were being lead out, but through the signs shown them. The Passover feast was the primary sign they missed. After 416 years of slavery, approximately ten generations, God gave them their deliverer Moses. After many signs from God showing His awesome power through Moses, the final sign was when the Death Angel passed over each “believers” house just because they sacrificed and ate the Passover lamb. This was the largest living proof that through one sacrifice the Children of Israel would be delivered from death and yet that was their very fear and common complaint to God while in the wilderness; why has God brought us out here to kill us all through starvation of food and water, and then give us over to the giants to kill us. The signs they saw and the words from God given to them through Moses was not mixed with faith to make it their own. Sound familiar? Biggest lie of all is that we have to muster up the faith on our own to believe the word of God, and that it has to be done through some kind of rule or regulation or work or action. Ephesians 2:8 is very clear, “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”, the faith needed to receive salvation is also given to us by God. “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith”, Romans 12:3. Nowhere does the New Testament tell us to work for our faith nor to work to keep our salvation; we are to enter into His rest through faith in what Jesus did on the cross over 2000 years ago.
“But the word which they heard did not profit them”, is also an interesting point to consider. What we hear is related to what we listen to, duh. We all know this, but often forget it when we start listening to anything that does not line up with the word of God. After Jesus gave the parable of the Sower explanation to His disciples, He went on in verse 23 & 24 of Mark 4 to say this; 23 “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." 24 Then He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given”. What we listen to is very important, but to go along with the hearing, is the using of faith along with the hearing. If we listen to legalism preached over faith and grace than we will mix legalism with grace and pollute the blood of Christ. It is just as detrimental to listen and subject your mind to a works and wages, or legalistic message as it is to listen to trash talk about how bad the economy is or even things of violence or sexual connotations. Why, because the more you listen to something the more you will receive of it? And the more you participate in something, the more of whatever you participate in will mold who you are. To those who choose to hear the true grace word of God, the more of God’s grace will come to you, measure for measure. The children of Israel that came out of Egypt had spent so much of their life under the teachings of “the care of bondage”, (Note: even a mistreated slave was cared for by his master and did not have to look for his own food), that they chose to not mix what they were seeing and hearing from God. Even after they were delivered out of Egypt, with the faith God gave them. This lead to their unbelief, which lead to their doubt, which lead to their own natural reasoning, which lead them back to wanting “the care of bondage”.
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