Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Laboring to Enter Into Rest

Hebrews 4:11 NKJV — Let us therefore be diligent (or labor) to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

Labor Day

Labor day is really an oxymoron (an apparent contradiction).  We are of course remembering the value of labor, particularly of unionized labor, on labor day and we do it by not laboring (or working). 

The Sabbath–a Day of Rest

When we look at the ten commandments, nine of them have always been fairly easy to understand (although they may not be easy to live out in our lives).  But that one about the sabbath has always caused contention.  When the Lord healed on the sabbath, He was criticized by people who no doubt fed their animals and preached in the synagogues on the sabbath.  I know by experience that preaching is work.  In the Old Testament, many of the Jews had trouble keeping from doing prohibited work on the sabbath.  Some tried to pick up manna on the sabbath.  Some were doing business on the sabbath.  The Jews had a strict code as to what was allowed and what was not allowed on the sabbath as though the pronouncement of a priest took precedence over the pronouncement and intent of the God given law.  For example, they had decided how far one could travel on the sabbath and still not be breaking the law.  So should we be keeping the old testament sabbath as Christians?

Is Sunday the New Testament Sabbath?

Many Christians suppose that the first day of the week is now the Sabbath.  However, nowhere does the Bible say that.  Christians met on the first day of the week to remember the Lord.  They may have used the Jewish calendar which goes from sunset on our Saturday to sunset on our Sunday.  However, while resurrection day is important, we are not told that it is a sabbath which is a good thing because on the sabbath, a person was not supposed to work (including cooking a meal), nor were people supposed to cause their servants to work.  However, the proponents of Sunday sabbaths generally buy gas on Sunday, go to Walmart on Sunday, eat at Texas Roadhouse on Sunday, etc.  Now there used to be laws that prohibited businesses from opening on Sunday but those days are long gone.  So today most Christians would be in deep trouble if Sunday were the sabbath.  There might be some exceptions in denominations that still honor the seventh day as the sabbath and who try to adhere to old testament regulations concerning that day.

What does the New Testament Say about the Sabbath?

First of all the Lord healed on the sabbath and was criticized for it.  As I understand it, He did not violate the intent of the old testament regulations for the sabbath, but He violated the legal instructions that had been devised over the years by the priests that wanted to make the sabbath a legal thing that placed people in bondage rather than a day where people were blessed by resting.  So the Lord says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).”  

Second, the book of Hebrews says, “For we who have believed do enter that rest (Hebrews 4:3 NKJV).”  So the sabbath speaks of the rest given to those who come to the Lord by faith and rest on His finished work for salvation.  But there is another rest spoken of in Hebrews 4: 8-9,  “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.”  This no doubt speaks of the coming thousand year reign of Christ when righteousness prevails because the Lord has taken His rightful place on the throne.

So How do We LABOR to enter into REST?

I think the Lord is telling us to make sure we are on the right foundation with regard to what and who we believe.  There are many ways to deceive,  but there is only one truth when it comes to our souls.  We need to take responsibility with regard to what we believe and we need to be discerning.  Some tell us the church saves, some tell us baptism saves, some tell us good works save and some tell us that we are all going to heaven since salvation is universal.  These are all lies.  The only way to find that out is to read the Bible and to let its internal proofs (fulfilled prophecies) convince us that the Bible is telling us the truth.  The Lord doesn’t ask for a blind leap in the dark.  He wants us to use a little common sense and read the Bible with an open mind.  That requires some effort.  However, the real problem is that the lies often make logical sense and the truth often does not.  For example,  how can anyone be fit for heaven by ceasing their doing and by just trusting?  Be diligent to make sure that is what you are doing.  That is what I am doing.  

I spent a great deal of time striving or being diligent to find the truth before I rested on the truth that Christ died for me when He died on the cross.  I enjoy a day that reminds me of the oxymoron that we rest in honor of labor that has already been accomplished for us.  

We don’t have to work we just have to trust and we will have rest. I am all for ceasing from toil and work.  Labor day is my kind of holiday.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of September 3, 2023

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