Currently we are in a study of the book of Hebrews. The title ‘Hebrews’ suggest that this epistle was originally written to Jews. In specific, many of the original recipients were Jews who were struggling over whether they should trust in Christ as their Savior or continue to try to follow the Law of Moses.
The basis of their struggle laid in the issue of ‘man’s good works’ vs. ‘God’s grace.’ As Jews, they had been raised under the Old Covenant which said that God would bless His people ‘if’ they faithfully obeyed His commands. (see Exodus 19:5-6) Though many of the Jews did all they could to obey the Law of Moses, none of them ever succeeded. Paul tells us that the Law can never make us right with God. The Law can only reveal to us where we are wrong. (see Romans 7:7) According to Galatians 3:24, the Law was given in order to bring us to salvation through Christ.
Because the Old Covenant failed, God needed to establish a New Covenant. According to the Bible, God’s New Covenant is not a covenant of works, but rather a covenant of grace.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ESV
When did God first realize that a New Covenant would be needed? Did He do so with the prophet Jeremiah? Did He do so when He first gave the Law to Moses? It might surprise us to learn that God’s first clue concerning His grace came during the week of creation.
The Bible tells us that after God had completed His creative work, He ceased from His work and rested. (Gen 2:2) The Bible also teaches us that once Jesus had finished His redemptive work, He ceased from His work and rested as well. (Heb 1:3) But what about man? When does man get to rest? We read from the book of Hebrews – “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:10) Man begins to rest the moment he trusts in Jesus as his Savior.
Sabbath rest is more than a particular day of the week or the question of whether or not we can mow our yards on Sunday. It is a biblical principle based upon our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. According to scripture, once a person comes to trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, they cease from their toil and labor to earn salvation, and instead rest in His amazing grace.