September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Author: Pastor Bernard Ibrahim
September 15, 2021

“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 account.”

Hebrews 4:11-13

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.