Are you trusting your own righteousness or God’s righteousness?
The writer of Hebrews continues to prod the Hebrew believers toward their spiritual ‘rest’ – “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4: 10-13)
There is nothing we can bring to God’s table in exchange for salvation. Only God’s righteousness will do. Our only hope is to ‘put on’ God’s righteousness through faith in what Jesus has done on our behalf.
Paul shared his concern for his fellow Jews when he wrote to the Romans – “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10: 1-4)
The simple message of salvation through faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone is what the Protestant Reformation was all about. However, since the church was born on the day of Pentecost until now, people have continually added other requirements to this message.
As the above words from Hebrews say, ‘He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.’ When we accept what Jesus has done for us through faith in Him, we quit trying to ‘earn’ salvation through any other means.
To ‘be diligent’ to enter God’s rest sounds strange. Why? Because salvation entirely through Christ’s merits, and not our own is opposite from how our fallen world operates. It seems odd not to be able to work for what we get.
Paul told the Romans about the Gentiles – “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’” (Romans 9: 30-33)
The word of God is ‘living and powerful’ and ‘sharper than any two-edged sword.’ It is ‘piercing,’ even to the point of dividing our soul and spirit. God’s word is a ‘discerner’ of the thoughts and intents of our hearts. It alone can reveal ‘us’ to ‘us.’ It is like a mirror that reveals who we really are, which at times is very painful. It reveals our self-deception, our pride, and our foolish desires.
There is no creature hidden from God. There is nowhere we can go to hide from God. There is nothing He does not know about us, and the amazing thing is how much He continues to love us.
We can ask ourselves the following questions: Have we truly entered God’s spiritual rest? Do we realize that we will all give an account to God one day? Are we covered in God’s righteousness through faith in Christ? Or are we planning to stand before Him and plead our own goodness and good works?