Resting in faith is so important that God devoted two chapters of His Word, Hebrews 3 and 4, on this topic. The generation who came out of Egypt in the Exodus failed to enter into the rest God intended. They failed to come to the place of a relaxed attitude of trust in God. They were delivered from Egypt, went through the Red Sea (a type of salvation), but He brought them out to bring them in (Deuteronomy 6:23). He brought them out of Egypt to bring them into Canaan’s land, the land that flowed with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8). It was the place of the fulfillment, fullness, and fruitfulness of all God promised. Their example of unbelief is given here to speak to us as a warning. Just as their generation did not enter into rest, God warns us in Hebrews 4:1 to “fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, (His grace, His finished work, His promise) any of you should seem to come short of it.” As Christians, we can fall short of the rest of God (which is to fall short of the grace of God). God still awaits for a generation to fully enter into this rest in every area of life. This spiritual rest puts an end to all strain, struggle, frustration, and anxiety. It is a relaxed attitude of trust where we actively obey God as a response to all He has done.
The whole message of Hebrews 4:1-16 is:
v.9, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”
This is not just rest in salvation. Hebrews 3:1 starts out addressing its theme to “holy brethren” and then in Hebrews 3:6 calling the believer God’s own “house” that Christ is over. That means there is a rest we must enter into even after we are saved. The rest is a rest in the finished work of God in ALL areas that the work of Christ has provided for us.
v.10, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”
In spiritual rest we cease from our own work or human self-effort, realizing no human deed or work can be added to God’s provision. We rest in the completed, finished work of another. We are at rest because the work is done. We don’t do a work to get God to do something but we respond in faith to a work He already did through Jesus. Faith can only become this rest as we respond to His grace. Faith without rest is not faith, but doubt and unbelief. Both doubt and unbelief are a condition of not being assured or persuaded to rely on what God said. Doubt and unbelief keep us out of spiritual rest. We can identify if we have entered into the rest from a redemption fact or a promise from God by seeing if anxiety is present. Doubt and unbelief are full of anxiety, but faith is full of rest. We can destroy the anxieties of life by faith in God.