REST FOR THE SOUL
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
God provides marvelous, incomprehensible rest for the human soul for those who access it the one and only way; His way! Hebrews Chapters Three and Four speak of it in at least four angles of thought: 1) it was rejected; 2) it is presently experienced; 3) there is more of it to come; and 4) some presently come short of it.
The Hebrews, brought out of Egypt, rejected God’s rest through unbelief. This is not to say they were lost people, but they did not exercise ongoing faith in God and His way for them. Thus did they give up grace for law, and as a people never knew the great rest for the soul offered through the medium of faith in God’s Word and ways.
That rest is a current reality for those of God’s people who are submissive to Him in discipleship; who learn the blessed joys of the Word, and commit themselves to that knowledge. This is spoken of as one ceasing from his own labor, spiritually, and depending entirely on the labor of God Who has also ceased from His, because the works were finished from the foundation of the world (casting down of the cosmos). Understanding the symmetry, harmony and unity of the eternal Word is their priceless possession and ultimate possibility of rest for the soul.
Additionally, there is more of it to come as verse nine forthrightly states. When faith becomes sight and hope becomes reality, there will be total, undisturbed rest in all of the ongoing activities. Doubtless this is a reference to the coming millennial reign of Christ Jesus and the ensuing heaven age.
But the sad reality is that there are those who have believed in Jesus, but have stopped short of being a committed, learning disciple. This causes them to be uncertain in spiritual matters, and fodder for the glib, but erroneous preachments of an endless line of charlatans. Such a state of life as this is the devil’s playground, leading one from one heresy to another while all the time living in uncertainty about who they really are, and how God views them as being saved or lost.
The biblically taught reaction to this scenario is stated in 4:1. “Let us fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” To fear is not to be always in that state, but it is motivational to receive and to share the great truths of the Word, and the hope that lies in in the heart of God’s covenant people.