Thursday, October 17, 2013

Today the Promise Still Stands

Think back to your elementary years in school.  Did you ever have a teacher that would promise a special treat to the class if they did what was asked of them?  I had a teacher that would give the class a plus or minus for our overall behavior of the day and after a certain number of pluses were accumulated, we would receive a special treat.  Sometimes it would be a pizza party, other times it would be something like an extra recess.  Sometimes, if we were especially good on any given day, we would receive a small piece of candy at the end of the day.  The candy was sitting in her desk just waiting to be given - we just had to do what she asked.  The verses I am looking at in Hebrews 4 reminds us of the promise of rest that is given to those who believe.  This rest was established by God since the beginning of this world.  Please use the link and read Hebrews 4:1-11.

These verses are not the easiest to read through, and if you haven't read them in the NLT I would encourage you to go back to the link and read the verses on the right side of the page.  The first thing we see in verse one is the fact that God's promise for rest still stands.  Yesterday, while looking at Hebrews 3, we were told that we should be encouraging each other in our faith; we should be reminding each other to do the things that are pleasing to God.  In Hebrews 4, we are reminded that this is because we could fall short and miss out on the promise of entering God's rest.  We are told that the promise still stands while it is called today for anyone who chooses to believe God and walk in faith even though this place of rest was established at the beginning of the world.

These verses tell us very clearly that those who will miss out on this rest are those who disobey God.  This is why it is so important that we encourage each other in our walk today.  Obedience is evidence of our faith in Him and we can know that God gave us each other to continue encouraging our walk in obedience.  In fact, the author of Hebrews gives us a sense of urgency to this matter in verse 11, "Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience." (NLT)  The words, "make every effort," give us how important it is today to obey God.  This really is a matter of urgency and we cannot allow each other to slip up and fall short by disobeying.  We cannot save ourselves through obedience - we've already fallen short because none of us has been able to live a life of perfect obedience.  That is why God's grace through Jesus's sacrifice is so amazing.  But we can also see through these verses that a healthy, active faith in Jesus is an obedient faith.  He did not sacrifice so we could keep living the way we choose; He sacrificed so we could be made new.  He wants us to make every effort to continue growing and changing and putting aside the things that displeases Him.  And we will see later in this study, that He even gives us what we need to do that!

Do you believe that the promise of entering His rest still stands for those who believe?

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