Entering God’s Rest by Joanne Panettieri
Ex 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. ”
Jeremiah 31: 33“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
2 Cor 3:3 “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
I recently ran across a Christian sister on Youtube who made the comment that she was a “Sabbath keeper”. After a lengthy chat she challenged me by saying, “What, don’t you obey the 10 commandments??” The question that arises for a New Testament believer is “are we still required to keep the 10 commandments”? Unfortunately for anyone trying to keep the them, you just can’t go one day without breaking them!
The apostle Paul clearly states that we are not made righteous by obeying the law. That is why Paul said he didn’t know what a lawbreaker was without the LAW. Paul says this, “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.” You can never be justified by religion or any practice outside of faith! If you replace faith by grace with obeying the law (or any of the 10 Commandments) you come under witchcraft (Gal 3). And in order to be justified by the law you must obey ALL of the laws. The point is that we can NOT keep the 10 commandments no matter how hard we try! This is why a New Covenant was given, “to write the laws on our heart”.
Ezk 36: 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; (The promised land, or Kingdom of God!) you will be my people, and I will be your God.
The apostle Paul takes this one step further in his constant battle against the Judaizers of his day where he states:
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
Is Keeping the Sabbath-rest a once a week occurrence?
For the New Covenant Christian the sabbath is NOT a day of the week any more! A careful reading of Hebrews 3 and 4 clearly shows that. The Sabbath Rest that God gave to Moses under the Old Covenant was a type and a shadow of a fulfillment of something found in Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 4 it is Canaan, the promised land, which is a type of the Kingdom of God on earth.
The following verses show that the REST is Canaan and NOT a day of the week!
Hebrews 3 – 4
3: 7: So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.”
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
Hebrews 4: 1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’
8: For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
It is not OUR Rest!
The Sabbath rest is typified by the 7th Day of creation, when God rested from His works and said “it is good”. God’s first day of rest is man’s (Adam’s) first day of taking up the work of God and continuing it on earth! It’s not OUR rest, we enter GOD’S rest! and it is TODAY! “TODAY if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts” The Sabbath of God is to enter the promised land by hearing his voice and obeying! Anytime you hear God’s voice and obey him you are entering God’s Rest! It is any time, any day! This is why Jesus was the living Sabbath because he ALWAYS DID WHAT HE HEARD THE FATHER TELL HIM TO DO! (John 5: 19-20)
We enter God’s rest when we cease from our works and enter HIS!
Isa 58: 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The apostle Paul tells us that if we try to gain our righteousness from keeping the law that grace is of no effect!
Gal 5: 3 “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.”
Phil 3: 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 3:4