“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall
by the same sort of disobedience. For the Word of God is living and
active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of
soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts
and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight,
but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give
This passage struck me as I have been meditating on Hebrews around
the idea of the importance of faith and faith in God’s Word. If you look
at the beginning of the chapter you see the context is really around
what differentiates the ones who enter into heaven and those who don’t
enter into heaven. The picture here for a couple of chapters is those
who enter into his rest is similar to the people of Israel when they
were with Joshua, and those who didn’t get in to the Promised Land. The
promise of entering into his rest still stands, “Let us fear, lest any
of you should seem to have failed to reach it.”
The promise is there, but to differentiate it, the state of who did
enter and who did not enter because they were not united by faith. You
can see, “The good news came to us just as to them, but the message they
heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with
those who listened.” So there is two groups, the ones who heard and
believed and those who did not believe, or they were not united by faith
to those who did believe.
When we get towards the end of the chapter, he refers again to this,
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.” This is not entering into
the promised geography of Israel between the Jordan River and the
Mediterranean. This is us believing the Word of God by faith, given to
us by God so that we might be truly found in the last day in heaven.
There is no more critical issue for us to be sure of in this life.
Notice that the writer to Hebrews opens this up writing to individuals
that are religious, well-educated; their background is historical faith,
historical Word of God. They are the ones that are entrusted with the
Word of God, they are descendants of Abraham. But he is writing to that
subgroup that is specifically believers. He is clearly differentiating
and telling them, “You may have had some historical kind of religion in
your life and you may now be in a gospel believing, gospel teaching
church. That does not take away your personal responsibility and
personal evaluation to say, ‘Am I one that’s united by faith? Am I one
that is believing in the Word of God which is living and active?’”
Notice in the Word later on, “discerning the thoughts and intentions
of the heart.” This word really is translated in several other places as
‘judge’. It judges, it differentiates, it makes a judgment on our
thoughts and our hearts.
Our requirement when we read the Word of God is never just to assume,
“Oh well, I am fine, I’m a believer, I go to a good church, I come from
a long line of Christians, I was raised in a Christian home, I have
been an elder or a Sunday School teacher or a deacon for a long time.
Everybody believes I am a believer.” It’s for us to be sure, before the
Word of God, that we are united by faith so that we may be assured that
we will enter into that rest. That is our personal responsibility for
our own good before God who we must give account, “No creature is
hidden from his sight.” We can’t see into each other’s souls but God
sees directly and we “are naked” before him.
My encouragement to you is to keep striving to believe in the Word of
God and know that your faith is true and real; real in things unseen,
but no less powerful and no less eternal. That is my encouragement to
myself, to you and to your souls.