Because of Their Disobedience

Hebrews 4:1-7 ESV

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For 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. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

These instructions and warnings here are addressed to the believers in Jesus Christ, among whom some false believers may also have existed. But in chapter three they are addressed as “holy brothers,” which includes “holy sisters,” who share in the heavenly calling. And they were instructed to take care lest there be in any of them an evil, unbelieving heart, leading them to fall away from the living God. And that is why they were counseled to exhort one another every day so that none of them would be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Non-Christians cannot exhort one another in this manner.

And these instructions apply to us, too. And in chapter three we are told at least twice that if we hear our Lord’s voice today that we are not to harden our hearts as the Israelites did in the wilderness in rebellion against God. For they were engaged in sexual immorality, idolatry, revelry, wild living, grumbling against God and putting the Lord to the test by their open rebellion and disobedience. They were testing God to see if he would actually do what he said he would do, and he did (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-13).

So, those who disobeyed the Lord did not enter into his eternal rest. And we have been given the same warnings, too. All throughout the New Testament we read that if we say we have fellowship with God but we walk in darkness (sin), we are liars, and if we claim to know God, but we do not walk in obedience to his commands (New Covenant), we are liars. And if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness, godliness, and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins. Jesus taught this, and Paul, and John and others.

Now the gospel message that the rebellious Israelites heard did not benefit them because they were not united by faith with those who listened. But please know what the Scriptures teach about “faith,” for we don’t get to decide what that faith looks like. For those who did not enter into God’s eternal rest were unable to do so because of their disobedience, i.e. because of their unbelief. So disobedience = unbelief, and belief = obedience, which is what the Scriptures teach.

Faith and Obedience

[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Acts 5:32; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Matt 7:21-23]

Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV

“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.”

So, we can profess faith in Jesus Christ but unless we walk in obedience to our Lord in righteousness and holiness, and not in sin, we will not inherit eternal life with God. So, it is possible to believe in Jesus but to not truly have your heart transformed and your life altered because it is human belief and not God-given faith which dies with Christ to sin and lives to him and to his righteousness. And human faith alone is not going to lead to eternal life with God, for it can be faulty, and it can be flesh driven and not Holy Spirit led. And so you can’t make up your own salvation message.

But since we have been given all these instructions and warnings we need to take heed. For if we hear our Lord’s voice but we harden our hearts against him, and so we refuse to obey him, and we choose to live our lives our own way, instead, then the promise of eternal life with God is not for us. For we can fall away by the same sort of disobedience that the Israelites had. We who profess faith in Jesus Christ are not exempt from being able to fall away and therefore to not be able to enter into God’s eternal rest.

For please know that the Scriptures teach that we all will have to give account to God for what we did with him and with his gospel message and with our lives on this earth. God is going to judge all of us according to our works. And yes, works are required of us, but they are not our own fleshly works, but they are the works of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10; cf. Titus 2:11-14). So don’t take God’s love and grace for granted. For his words can be trusted.

Works required of us

[Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Gal 5:6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17]

Judged by our works

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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