THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF TRUE BELIEVERS

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HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div                                                     

Hebrews 4:3-6

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

1. A sweet experience declared, “We do enter into rest.” It is an experience of a spiritual and heavenly benefit; whereof Caleb and Joshua’s experience was the type (Joshua 19.). And here consider —

(1) The benefit experienced; that is, rest. Rest is a sweet thing, as all weary labourers do know. But of all rest soul-rest is the sweetest, and such is this. The rest here meant is the rest held forth in the promise of the gospel. And if ye ask where it is found? it is not in heaven only, for the believer enters into it now; but it is in Christ, whether on earth or heaven.

(2) The experience of that benefit, “We do enter.” He says not we shall enter, at death, but in the present time, “we do enter. The believer’s rest is not altogether put off to another life. It is not complete, indeed, till we come to heaven; but it is begun here, we are entering into it, and do enter, and the very entrance of the rest is sweet.

2. The parties in whose name this experience is declared, “We which have believed,” in Christ. Unbelievers still remain in their restless condition, but faith in Christ lays the soul to rest.

I. WHO THEY ARE THAT HAVE TRULY BELIEVED.

1. They who have believed, have believed the grace and goodwill of Christ to them in particular, held forth in His word of grace to them, goodwill to save them from sin and wrath.

(1) They have believed Christ’s grace and goodwill to them, notwithstanding felt unworthiness (Luke 15:18).

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

(2) They have believed His grace and goodwill towards the drawing them out of the miry clay of their sinfulness, as well as out from the rolling waves of guilt, the curse and eternal wrath. For this is the goodwill of Christ testified in the gospel (Matthew 1:21).

 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

(3) The only foundation of their belief in it is the faithfulness of God in His word of grace (Galatians 3:21).

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

(4) They have betaken themselves to the grace and goodwill of Christ in His word of grace, and laid all their weight upon it.

2. They who have believed, have believed on Christ as their own Saviour for life and salvation to them (Acts 15:11). The sinner believing in Christ betakes himself to Him only, wholly and forever.

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

(1) He renounces utterly all expectations of rest to his conscience from the law and betakes himself to a Crucified Christ for it (Philippians 3:3).

 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

(2) He renounces utterly all expectations of rest to his heart from the world, and his lusts, and betakes himself to a full Christ for it (Jeremiah 16:19).

 Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

Author: Godfrey Gregg

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