Hebrews 4:1 (ESV) – Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
The promise of God to His people that they will enter into His rest is a promise that still stands. The promise was made to the Old Testament Jews but the land looks forward to something better. Joshua 23:1 tells us that God gave the people rest after their conquests in the Promised land. But this is not the final rest that the land and the Gospel look forward to. The Gospel looks forward to a rest that the battles for the land were simply foreshadowing.
The eternal rest is from struggling against sin and despair and fear and failure. It will all end. But it hasn’t ended yet. The time is not to rest yet. We have a promise of entering rest. The proof that we have heard the promise and believed it is that we enter the warfare that the Christian life is. The person who claims to be in Christ and yet does not fight against sin is either lying or self deceived.
The Christian life is warfare. Warfare is for those who have signed up. All Christians have enlisted in a fierce spiritual war. It is unrelenting. It is personal. It is not against politicians or terrorists or cultural trends. It is against sin in our own hearts. Giving the Gospel to non believers is part of the battle.
We will not put our weapons down until the war is over and it will not be over until we enter glory or Jesus returns. Those who rest now are not those who look forward to rest later. They are resting now and they are not believers. We wrestle now with all the strength that God provides.
There is an irony about this. Jesus has done all that can be done to enable us to enter into glory when this life is over. We rest in Him. But the evidence of resting in Christ is that we will not rest against sin until the final day. He has promised us rest, because of faith in Him. Since we rest in Him and have the promise we will not rest.
This is crucial to understand. If you fight against sin in order to be qualified for an eternity with Christ then you will not spend eternity with Him. But if you fight against sin because you have been freely granted eternal life then you will win and hear a welcome from God. Presumption is a sin that prevents eternal life. Guard your heart. If you don’t you will fall and sin and be judged as one who never knew Christ. But if you truly guard your heart out of a Spirit given fear of God that He holds guilty all who will not turn away from sin, you will live.