Jesus’ works were finished from the foundation of the world
The writer of Hebrews pivoted – “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4: 1-3)
John MacArthur writes in his study Bible “At salvation, every believer enters the true rest, the realm of spiritual promise, never again laboring to achieve through personal effort a righteousness that pleases God. God wanted both kinds of rest for that generation who was delivered from Egypt”
Concerning rest, MacArthur also writes “For believers, God’s rest includes His peace, confidence of salvation, reliance on His strength, and assurance of a future heavenly home.”
Just hearing the message of the gospel is not enough to rescue us from eternal damnation. Only accepting the gospel through faith is.
Until we come into a relationship with God through what Jesus has done for us, we are all ‘dead’ in our trespasses and sins. Paul taught the Ephesians – “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2: 1-3)
Then, Paul told them the ‘good’ news – “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2: 4-10)
MacArthur further writes about rest – “The spiritual rest which God gives is not something incomplete or unfinished. It is a rest which is based upon a finished work which God purposed in eternity past, just like the rest which God took after He finished creation.”
Jesus told us – “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15: 4-5)
Abiding is challenging! We want to be in control of our own lives, but God wants us to recognize and surrender to His sovereignty over us. Ultimately, we do not own ourselves, spiritually we have been bought and paid for by an eternal price. We belong completely to Him, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. The true gospel message is amazing, but also very challenging!