"Fix your thoughts on Jesus" Part 2
Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”
In 4:10 we read, “for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” We cannot enter God's rest and not rest from our own works. Both are equally important. In fact it is impossible to enter God's rest if we do not rest from our own works. So to enter “God's rest” than is to rest in Christ as our righteousness, (1 Cor.1:30; 2 Cor.5:21, Rom.10:3;...). So who is the one who “rests from their works”? Those who realize that their own righteousness will never measure up to God's perfect and holy standard, and on the other hand they trust and rest that Christ's righteous obedience in their place is enough, more than enough to bring us to God and keep us in a relationship with God. Our works of righteousness can never save us, as the prophet says that they are like “filthy rags” (Isa.64:6). Or even as Paul says in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”. The prophet and the apostle have realized and put their hope in God as their righteousness, and so we need to realize that our own works of law, our own striving to be better, or to be like God, our own ways of trying to save ourselves are ever enough. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23). We are all sinners by nature and even in our best we “come short [in present continuous sense] of the glory of God [his righteousness, his righteous character]. Therefore Jesus Christ is everything for the believer! 1 Corinthians says it clearly and powerfully in chapter 1:30, “It is because of him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus [in union and relationship with him], who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness [righteousness which is credited to us, which is perfect, everlasting and can never be defiled even through our many and daily shortcomings of God's righteous character in our lives], holiness and redemption.” God did it, and we ought not to add to his work, but to “rest” in what h has done. And now the paradox: “Let us, therefore, make every effort (labor) to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” (4:11). The apostle has been saying that we need to cease from our works and enter his “rest”. But now he says we need to make every effort, labor and strive to enter that rest. This is a daily battle! Daily we need to seek to rest in Christ's finished work, his perfect obedience for us, because we fail so much. Only with a heart at rest in Christ and his work for us, we will be able to approach the throne of grace for more grace to be able to trust him and love him first. This takes and will take much and every effort and labor to say no to our flesh which fights within us against the Spirit, so we may be able to put our hope in Jesus Christ as our all, our righteousness, holiness and full redemption when he comes back. So the paradox – “strive to enter that [Christ's] rest”. “Nothing in my hands I bring, only to the cross I cling”. Christ for me, dying on the cross, and Christ in me, living and reigning in me me by his Spirit, and Christ coming for me, when he comes back, is my hope and my all! “Now we who have believed enter that rest”. (Hebrews 4:3a). Thank you Lord!
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