Translation: Hebrews 4:1-14
September 19, 2010
These verses challenge believers to enter into the true rest offered by God through faith in Christ.
1 Therefore, we should fear, lest any of us be found lacking in faith and thereby fail to enter the promised rest. 2 For we have definitely heard the good news, just as they did. But the word they heard did them no good since it was not combined with faith. 3 For we who have believed are entering that rest, as He said,
I swore in my wrath,
They will by no means enter my rest.
Although God’s work has been completed since the world’s beginning. 4 For concerning the seventh day, He has said somewhere,
God rested on the seventh day from all his work.
5 Then again,
They will by no means enter my rest.
6 This word that some will enter rest still applies, and the former who had been preached to did not enter because of unbelief. 7 Let me reiterate this: God designated a certain day, “Today”. David continued speaking about it a long time after Moses, as has already been mentioned:
Today if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.
8 For, if the rest had been given to them by Joshua, God would not have continued speaking about the rest which was yet to come. 9 So then, there is still a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 The one who enters into His rest finds ultimate rest from his works, just as God did from his. 11 We should strive diligently, therefore, to enter into His rest so that we do not fall into the Israelite’s same pattern of disobedience. 12 For the Word of God is so alive, constantly at work, and incomparable with any sword in this world, slicing and dividing the hard to reach places such as soul and spirit, penetrating right down to the very core of one’s being, easily exposing the reflections and reasonings of the heart. 13 And nothing in all of creation can escape the Word’s illumining rays of light, but becomes naked and vulnerable before His eyes, the very one before whom we will give a final word. 14 Therefore, having such a great High Priest who has already entered heaven, let us cling tenaciously to our confession.
For comparison, the NASB reads:
1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just 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.
4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”;
5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”
6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,
7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged word, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
And the Message reads:
1-3 For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said,
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.”
3-7 God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation:
Today, please listen,
don’t turn a deaf ear . . .
8-11 And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.
12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.
14 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers.