(4) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (5) And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. (6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: (7) Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (8) For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (9) There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (11) Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The opening of this Chapter is so immediately connected with the close of the former, that it becomes the very inference of it. Let us therefore fear, saith the Apostle, while beholding the awful carcasses of unbelievers, as from such distinguishing grace as we have received, in being given to believe in God for salvation, we have abundant reason to rejoice with trembling, Psalm 2:11. The fear here spoken of, cannot mean a fear of coming short of Christ; for the Apostle had before said, we are made partakers of Christ; and we are his house. Neither are we called upon to the exercise of bondage fear, while conscious of having received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father, Romans 8:15. Neither can the seeming to come short of it, mean the seeming so to a believer's own soul; for it is expressly added, (Hebrews 4:3.) For we which have believed do enter into rest. A plain proof, that the child of God, resting on Christ, could not doubt his interest in Christ. But what then is to be supposed the fear here recommended, and to be sought after? Certainly that holy, jealous, child-like fear, which an obedient son wishes to have always before him, not to do or say any thing towards a kind father, which might grieve him. Such as is inculcated towards the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 4:30. And the Apostle beautifully illustrates the subject, by a case in point. The Gospel was preached in the old Church, in type, and figure, as it is now in substance, and reality, in the New. But there were then hearers who never felt the power of it, as there are now; and, consequently, to both alike, it is unprofitable. But the mark is decisive, where faith cometh by hearing. A child of God regenerated, heareth to the salvation of the soul. The unawakened doth not. And the Lord Jesus himself sets this down, as the sure, unerring testimony, in his account, to the carnal Jews, He that is of God, (saith Christ,) heareth God's Words. Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God, John 8:47.
I admire the very beautiful manner of expression, made use of in these verses, in allusion to the Lord’s resting, after the works of creation. And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. What rest? Not in a way of taking repose, as (speaking after the manner of men) we are said to do, when tired, and our work is over. But the calling into being of creatures, then ceased; and God rested from it, in a way of creation, when the whole which the LordChrist, as Christ. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own work, as God did from his. Yes! For when Jesusby himself purged our sins, be sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3. Herein Christ, as our High Priest, differed from all other priests, who always stood ministering. And so far from ceasing, their offerings were daily. Christ’s but once, and that in effect for ever. Oh! the preciousness of Christ! And true believers also, when ceasing from seeking justification, either in whole, or in part, from any, or all the works of their own; but count themselves, and every thing in themselves, filthy, and unclean; hanging upon Christ only, as the vessel upon the nail in a sure place: such may be said, as indeed was said before (Hebrew 4:3), to rest on Christ, and enter by faith upon the enjoyment of it. ordained to bring forth into life, was made. It is in this sense, the expression plainly means. And the same is meant of the personal work of had
It may not be improper to observe, on what is said of Jesus, not having given the people rest, that it doth not mean the Lord Jesus Christ, but Joshua, the son of Nun, who succeeded Moses in the ministry of the Church, See Joshua 1:1. The name Joshua is the same in the Hebrew language, as Jesus; and signifies Savior. But though Joshua did bring the people into
Canaan, yet this was only typical of a better rest, which remaineth for the people of God. Hence it is plain, by the Lord’s speaking of another rest, this of Joshua's was not the one intended. Christ himself is indeed the rest wherewith the Lord causeth the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing, Isaiah 28:12. Reader! it will be your happiness, and mine, if, under divine teaching, we are come to Christ, as our rest; and from a knowledge of Him, are made sensible of his bountiful dealing with us, in the rest of salvation, Matthew 11:28 &c; Psalm 116:7.