Hebrews 4

* Humble, cautious fear is urged, lest any should come short of

the promised rest, through unbelief. (1-10) Arguments and

motives to faith and hope in our approaches to God. (11-16)

1-10 The privileges we have under the gospel, are greater than

any had under the law of Moses, though the same gospel for

substance was preached under both Testaments. There have been in

all ages many unprofitable hearers; and unbelief is at the root

of all unfruitfulness under the word. Faith in the hearer is the

life of the word. But it is a painful consequence of partial

neglect, and of a loose and wavering profession, that they often

cause men to seem to come short. Let us then give diligence,

that we may have a clear entrance into the kingdom of God. As

God finished his work, and then rested from it, so he will cause

those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their

rest. It is evident, that there is a more spiritual and

excellent sabbath remaining for the people of God, than that of

the seventh day, or that into which Joshua led the Jews. This

rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the

gospel state. And a rest in glory, where the people of God shall

enjoy the end of their faith, and the object of all their

desires. The rest, or sabbatism, which is the subject of the

apostle's reasoning, and as to which he concludes that it

remains to be enjoyed, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, which

remains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state of

labour and trouble in this world. It is the rest they shall

obtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from heaven. But those

who do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest,

either of grace here or glory hereafter. God has always declared

man's rest to be in him, and his love to be the only real

happiness of the soul; and faith in his promises, through his

Son, to be the only way of entering that rest.
11-16 Observe the end proposed: rest spiritual and eternal; the

rest of grace here, and glory hereafter; in Christ on earth,

with Christ in heaven. After due and diligent labour, sweet and

satisfying rest shall follow; and labour now, will make that

rest more pleasant when it comes. Let us labour, and quicken

each other to be diligent in duty. The Holy Scriptures are the

word of God. When God sets it home by his Spirit, it convinces

powerfully, converts powerfully, and comforts powerfully. It

makes a soul that has long been proud, to be humble; and a

perverse spirit, to be meek and obedient. Sinful habits, that

are become as it were natural to the soul, and rooted deeply in

it, are separated and cut off by this sword. It will discover to

men their thoughts and purposes, the vileness of many, the bad

principles they are moved by, the sinful ends they act to. The

word will show the sinner all that is in his heart. Let us hold

fast the doctrines of Christian faith in our heads, its

enlivening principles in our hearts, the open profession of it

in our lips, and be subject to it in our lives. Christ executed

one part of his priesthood on earth, in dying for us; the other

he executes in heaven, pleading the cause, and presenting the

offerings of his people. In the sight of Infinite Wisdom, it was

needful that the Saviour of men should be one who has the

fellow-feeling which no being but a fellow-creature could

possibly have; and therefore it was necessary he should actual

experience of all the effects of sin that could be separated

from its actual guilt. God sent his own Son in the likeness of

sinful flesh, #Ro 8:3|; but the more holy and pure he was, the

more he must have been unwilling in his nature to sin, and must

have had deeper impression of its evil; consequently the more

must he be concerned to deliver his people from its guilt and

power. We should encourage ourselves by the excellence of our

High Priest, to come boldly to the throne of grace. Mercy and

grace are the things we want; mercy to pardon all our sins, and

grace to purify our souls. Besides our daily dependence upon God

for present supplies, there are seasons for which we should

provide in our prayers; times of temptation, either by adversity

or prosperity, and especially our dying time. We are to come

with reverence and godly fear, yet not as if dragged to the seat

of justice, but as kindly invited to the mercy-seat, where grace

reigns. We have boldness to enter into the holiest only by the

blood of Jesus; he is our Advocate, and has purchased all our

souls want or can desire.

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