Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.…
The two words which claim our special consideration in this section are "fear" and "rest."
I. We know only in part, in fragment. It is difficult for us to combine different aspects of truth. The earnest counsel of the apostle in this chapter, "Let us fear," may seem to be incompatible with his emphatic teaching that we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; that he is persuaded that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus; that we are to rejoice in the Lord always. Yet a superficial glance at the Epistles, and at the Scriptures in general, will show that fear is an essential feature of the Christian. When Christ is accepted, there is peace; but is there not also fear? "With Thee is forgiveness of sin, that Thou mayest be feared." Where do we see God's holiness and the awful majesty of the law, our own sin and unworthiness, as in the atonement of the Lord Jesus? We rejoice with fear and trembling. It is because we know the Father; it is because we are redeemed by the precious blood of the Saviour; it is as the children of God that we are to pass our earthly pilgrimage in fear. This is not the fear of bondage, but the fear of adoption. Looking to God, our loving Father, our gracious Saviour, our gentle and indwelling Comforter, we have no reason to be afraid. The only fear that we can cherish is that of reverence and awe, and a dread lest we displease and wound Him who is our Lord. But when we look at ourselves, our weakness, our blindness; when we think of our path and our work, of our dangers, we may well feel that the time for repose and unmixed enjoyment has not come yet; we must dread our own sinfulness and our temptations; we must fear worldly influences.
II. BUT THE RELIEVER HAS REST NOW ON EARTH, AND HEREAFTER IN GLORY, Resting in Christ, he labours to enter into the perfect rest of eternity. But what did God mean by calling it His rest? Not they enter not into their rest, but His own. Oh, blessed distraction! God gives us Himself, and in all His gifts He gives us Himself. Does God give us righteousness? He Himself is our righteousness, Jehovan-tsidkenu. Does God give us peace? Christ is our peace. Does God give us light? He is our light. Does God give us bread? He is the bread we eat; as the Son liveth by the Father, so he that eateth Me shall live by Me (John 6.). God Him-elf is our strength. God is ours, and in all His gifts and blessings He gives Himself. By the Holy Ghost we are one with Christ, and Christ the Son of God is our righteousness — nay, our life. "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Or again, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Or as the Lord Himself, in His last prayer before His crucifixion, said to the Father, "I in them, and Thou in Me." Thus God gives us His lest as our rest. Our souls long for rest. "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! Then would I fly away and be at rest! " is the sigh of every soul. And this rest is only in God's rest. Death brings no rest to our souls. It is Jesus Christ who alone can give rest to man; for only in Him we are restored and brought into communion with God. The great promise of Christ is rest. For He is the Restorer. We enjoy rest in Christ by faith. But the perfect enjoyment of rest is still ,n the future. There remaineth a sabbatism for the people of God. Believers will enter into rest after their earthly pilgrimage, labour, and conflict, and the whole creation will share in the liberty and joy of the children of God The substance and foretaste of this rest we have even now in Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.