There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Hebrews 4:9-10
The Promise of Rest
The “remains therefore “of this verse reiterates that the promise of rest rings through the ages from Moses’ generation to David’s, through Paul’s and to the current generations of the church. And though God has offered this rest to generation after generation, only a few out of each generation ever take hold of it.
Thankfully, God’s eternal reserve of rest in heaven has not been destroyed, canceled, or exhausted. It remains like money in the bank, unclaimed for many generations. It would be like someone getting a call from a bank and finding out they have $25 million in an account with his family’s name on it. The account had existed for several generations, but the bank had never been able to convince that person’s family members to go to the bank and get the money. I know what I’d do if that happened to me. I’d hang up the phone, jump in my car and head for the bank as fast as I could.
Yet for generations, believers had had something much more valuable than $25 million; they’ve had the promises of God. They are there for the asking, his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Three Greek Words for Rest
There are three Greek words for rest found in the New Testament. One, “sabatismos,” is where we get the word Sabbath. Sabatismos speaks of a perpetual rest. The second word is “anapausis” which is derived from two other Greek words: ana which means above or from above, and pausis which means rest and is where we get the pause from. This word was found back in Hebrews 4:1 and means rest from above. This is the rest of the new birth. It is supernatural rest, something that comes from God, part of that peace that passes all understanding, and as they strive to walk in the promises of God, his rest automatically comes and believers simply enter into it.
The Third Greek word is katapausis. Kata is the word for norm or standard, so katapausis means the standard of rest. This is found in verse 10 where it speaks of “His rest.” In other words, this is not only a rest from above or a perpetual rest, it is a rest like God’s rest; the standard of rest is God himself. God rested because the work was finished. Now believers must cease from their own human works as God did from His divine works. Believers are to by the same standard of finished works. God gives believers the same rest he has, and they can rest in the same way that he rests, far above all circumstances of life.
Be Diligent to Enter Into Rest
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:11
The command to “be diligent” here was translated as “labor” in the King James which, when applied to rest, made for a confusing paradox. “Diligent” in the New King James makes the meaning a little more clear. In this dispensation, believers are commanded to strive to enter into God’s rest. How do believes strive to enter into rest? By forcing themselves to rest? By telling themselves over and over again “I’ve got to rest, I’ve got to rest!” No. This would be man’s labor instead of faith, and no human deed can add or obtain divine provision. This rest is not something believers grit their teeth and decide to do. The believer must cease from his own deeds to enter into what God has done, divine good. Faith is the absence of human merit. This requires faith in God’s finished word and works. So how are believers to be diligent to enter in? By mixing faith with the promises of God. This diligence to enter in is a great missing ingredient in faith circles today.