Finding rest for the soul
In this world, there are many things which can inspire emotions of fear.
There are those fear-inspiring things which we voluntarily subject ourselves to and call entertainment, such as roller coasters, mountain climbing and scary movies. Then there are those involuntary things outside of our control that we are exposed to that aren’t entertaining at all, such as violence, cancer or car accidents.
All of these things, whether voluntary or involuntary, serve to stir up emotions of fear at one level or another.
I can remember as a young person watching the movie “Children of the Corn” (on VHS no less). I further remember the horror after seeing this movie and realizing that I lived on a small farm in rural Iowa which was completely surrounded by cornfields.
In my overly active imagination, I envisioned Malachi and his twisted followers pouring out of the sea of corn plants around my house as they chased down all who opposed their cult.
Now, as an adult, that all seems pretty silly, but still, maybe you can relate. Or maybe for you it wasn’t a fictional movie, but a very real experience that left an indelible mark in your life because you found your life was in very real danger.
Whether it was self-induced or caused by circumstances outside of human control, I am sure all of us can relate to fear.
While there are any number of things to fear in this world, Scripture talks about another reason for us to fear and must be considered with all sobriety; the fear of coming up short of entering God’s eternal rest.
The Bible says in the Book of Hebrews, “Let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering God’s rest, any one of us may seem to have come short of it.”
The rest that Scripture is referring to is not a reference to the weekly Sabbath rest that God provided for in his law. It is not talking about the rest that God gave to Joshua and the Israelites when he brought them into the promised land. It is not even talking about the peaceful rest God gives us in our sleep after a hard day of work.
As great a gift as all of these are, these verses refer to a rest which is infinitely greater because it has eternal relevance and is divinely effective against mankind’s great conflict caused by sin.
This conflict is described in stunning accuracy by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans. Pointing to his own life, he recognizes that within him the will to do good is present, but the actual doing of the good is not.
In other words, he has great intentions but very poor follow through. Furthermore, he flips the scenario and says those things that he knows to be wrong, and even hates, he finds himself helpless to stop doing. He even goes so far as to call it evil.
This conflict is so exhaustively frustrating that it causes him to cry out, “I am a wretched man!”
What, then, is the answer? Where will he find rest from the conflict and condemnation? The answer is in a person, Jesus Christ, the son of God, who is the propitiation and redemption of mankind.
Therefore, considering the great offer of liberation from mankind’s universal conflict of sin, Hebrews points out that we should fear that while this promise of rest is available to us, we should come short of obtaining it.
For some who hear this gospel offer of hope, it will be united with faith bringing about salvation and eternal rest.
For others who hear, there will be a willing rejection of the message caused by unbelief. For them, this word will not profit their condition. Because of unbelief, they will come up short from possessing God’s offer of eternal rest from the conflict caused by sin.
Therefore, Scripture says this issue is cause for deep fear which goes beyond anything that a fictional horror movie can produce.
If true, lasting rest is what you are seeking, if you are in conflict with the desires of your life, if you are concerned about missing the eternal rest that God offers, then look no further. The answer is Jesus Christ.
All who confess with their mouth that he is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the grave will be saved. As a result, he will give life abundant and rest eternal.
As Jesus promised, saying, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”
Please, don’t miss it.
Chad Cummings is pastor at Gospel Open Bible Church on South Grimmell Road.