By Faith, By Effort

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

(Hebrews 4:9 ESV)

You read those words and it has a way of settling the soul.

There’s rest and then there’s Sabbath rest. Rest where you pause from work, and then rest where the work is done. Rest when you cease from labor and then rest when there’s no labor remaining. Just as God created for six days and then rested on the seventh, because the work was finished and because the work was good.

That’s the rest available to the people of God. The Sabbath rest found in the finished work of the risen Christ, the Son of God.

But as I hover over these first 11 verses in Hebrews 4, I’m struck by the fact that, while it’s a rest we enter into by faith, it’s also a rest we enter into by effort.

For we who have believed enter that rest . . .

(Hebrews 4:3a ESV)

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest . . .

(Hebrews 4:11a ESV)

Enter by faith or enter by effort? Which is it? It’s both. It’s not an either/or thing, it’s a both/and thing.

Faith is the key that unlocks the door to Sabbath rest, but due diligence is required to inhabit all that is behind the door.

Far from faith being some effortless state of mind that carries us into depths of rest, it’s more an intentional discipline of mind that pursues that rest. A discipline, even of itself, which we are unable to muster up apart from trusting in His provision for it.

“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 ESV)

So, it’s gonna take work. Having entered the rest we make every effort to enter the rest. Having believed we seek to behave. Have trusted we’re prepared for toil.

It’s a rest that comes with a yoke (Mt. 11:28-29).

Having been saved we then are to work out our salvation (Php. 2:12).

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(2Peter 1:10-11 ESV)

By faith we have entered. By effort we will enter.

By His grace. For His glory.

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