The Life of Christ - Sabbath Lessons (4) - Thursday, February 1st

The Life of Christ - Sabbath Lessons (4) - Thursday, February 1st

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, 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. 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. 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. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:11-16

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Keeping in mind that we are under the New Covenant is essential for our understanding the role of “Sabbath” today. As participants in the New Covenant we are engaged in life by the Spirit and not life by the law. There is no longer a temple with its sacrificial system of worship. Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross once for all. Through faith in Christ we have received forgiveness of sins and have become a fit habituation for God’s presence. We have become temples of the Holy Spirit through the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Worship becomes a constant thing as we fellowship with God who lives within us transforming us from the inside out. The New Covenant leaves behind the outward observance of rules and regulations, a temple to go to for connecting with God through sacrificial offerings, and devotion to a special day of religious observance.

Our need for resting our bodies and minds is obvious. So, we should carry forward this kind of rest which seventh day Sabbath observance provided for Old Covenant adherents. We are free to do this however we see fit with whatever blocks of time work for us. But that’s it regarding what the Old Covenant Sabbath leaves for us as New Covenant adherents. Yesterday, in the first half of Hebrews 4, we were introduced to the provision of “spiritual rest” which the New Covenant brings to all who are genuinely open to adhering to the New Covenant only and fully. This “spiritual rest” was seen in the words, “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.”

The Sabbath rest God has for his people today is truly a “spiritual rest” and it has two aspects. The first aspect was seen in the words, “For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” Yes, we are to rest from our own “works.” We looked at the following Scriptures for help in understanding this. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and work for his good pleasure.” Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

The Christian life is an exchanged life. We let Christ do for us what we cannot do for ourselves as he lives in us and through us by means of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Most of what we will learn about the exchanged life comes directly from Christ as we prayerfully let him teach us and lead us into the fullness of letting the life we live be his works as we rest from our own. This is the first aspect of the “Sabbath rest" God has for his people.” The second aspect of “spiritual rest” comes from these words from today’s passage, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The key words are “draw near with confidence.”

Remember, you are God’s temple and he dwells within you. We have full and complete access to the intimacy of God’s presence within us. The key is “drawing near with confidence” so that we know and experience his abiding presence as continuously and consistently as possible. Drawing near and being aware of God’s presence is the essence of what it means to commune with God. When we are intimately connected to God in this way, all that he is becomes more readily available to us. In other words, being fully in tune with God’s presence in us releases him to live powerfully through us. Resting in the intimacy of his presence and resting from the futility self-living, unleashes the fullness of God’s life on our behalf.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I am beginning to get the meaning of the pronouncement, “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Help me to enter fully by faith into your amazing provision of “spiritual rest.” Deliver me from unbelief. I draw near with confidence to your throne of grace to find you and your help in time of need, which is always. I need you to do for me what I cannot do for myself, which is everything. Thank you for the wonder of your presence and power in my life. Amen!

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