HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
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. 4 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. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 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).
O 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.
II. THE ENTERING OF THOSE WHO HAVE BELIEVED INTO REST IN JESUS CHRIST.
1. I am to show what is supposed in that those who have believed do enter into rest.
(1) Those who have not believed are in a state of restlessness (Isaiah 57:20). Till the soul comes to Christ it can never get true rest: one may take rest as well on the top of a mast as getting it in an ungodly, unregenerate, unconverted state. Those out of Christ have —
(a) A restless station, an insecure standing (Deuteronomy 28:65, 66).
(b) A restless labouring (Matthew 11:28).
(c) A restless wandering.
(d) A restless burden-bearing.
(e) A restless eternal state abiding them (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
(2) Restless souls may be laid to rest in Jesus Christ.
(3) It is by faith the restless soul is laid to rest in Christ (Romans 15:13).
2. I proceed to show what is that rest in Christ which they who do believe enter into. It is twofold, spiritual and heavenly, initial and complete.
(1) They who have believed do enter into spiritual rest, which is their initial or begun rest. Though they should get little more rest for their bodies till they rest in the grave, they enter into soul rest (Matthew 11:29); they get to rest for their souls in Christ. And none that know what soul trouble is, but they will value it more than any rest out of heaven.
(2) Those who have believed do enter into heavenly rest at length. This is the rest completed. The grave is made as a resting place for their bodies for a while, but the soul rests in Abraham’s bosom at death till the resurrection. And then the soul and body together will have an everlasting complete rest together.
3. What is the import of their entering into that rest in Christ.
(1) Sinners, before they believe, have a toiled, restless, uneasy life of it (Matthew 11:28). No wonder, for they are God’s enemies, the law’s criminals, sin’s slaves, and Satan’s drudges.
(2) All that believe are wearied people, that find they need rest, and would fain have it (Isaiah 28:12).
(3) They see and believe there is a rest in Christ for them.
(4) They come to Him as a resting place by believing in Him.
(5) They compose themselves for and set themselves to rest in Him (Psalm 116:7).
(6) They are active to get rest in Christ. Entering speaks activity, and that lies in the exercise of faith.
(7) They find a begun rest, but not complete; they are entered into it; though they are not yet come to the perfection of it, yet they are on the way to it.
(8) The believer all his life long here is but entering into that rest: we do enter. The Israelites were forty years entering Canaan after they came out of Egypt. And from the moment of the first believing till the soul comes to glory, it is but entering into rest; entering being but an initial and imperfect action. Hence they that have come to Christ are still said to be coming (1 Peter 2:4). But at length, they shall have it full and complete.
4. I come now to show how the soul is entered into rest in the way of believing, or the influence of faith to bring and lay the soul to rest. This is a mystery to the blind world: nobody can truly know the rest of the soul in Christ but those that have experienced it; nor the influence of faith that way, but those that have felt it, though they may talk rationally about it and preach it.
(1) Faith discovers Christ as the only object commensurable to the desires of the soul (Psalm 73:25).
(2) Faith takes possession of Christ as such an object offered to the soul: knits with Him in a marriage covenant by trusting on Him for all to itself (John 1:12). So it enters the soul to rest, as a wife in the house of her husband who has now made her final choice.
(3) Faith draws the sting of guilt out of the conscience, and so enters the soul to rest (Romans 3:24, 25).
(4) Faith sets the soul in safety (Proverbs 1:33).
(5) Faith mortifies and breaks the power of reigning lusts (Acts 15:9).
(6) Faith cures the soul of the dog-like appetite, that painful hunger and thirst that the eating of the forbidden fruit left in all mankind. Lay one never so soft, if hunger is gnawing him, and thirst scorching him, he cannot rest. Such is the case of all unbelievers, they are hungering and thirsting for satisfaction from the creature: they eat of the husks, but are never satisfied.
(7) Faith contracts the desires of the soul into one point (Psalm 27:4).
(8) Faith sees it hath a fulness in Christ enough to answer all its needs: and hence the language thereof is, “I have all, and abound” (Philippians 4:18).
(9) Faith leaves all on Christ (Psalm 10:14).USE
I. Of information.
1. Jesus Christ is a resting place for the weary (Matthew 11:28).
2. True faith is an active and efficacious thing. It lays the restless soul to rest.
3. The way of believing is the way to solid rest.
4. Those who have believed may see what course to take at any time when their rest is disturbed. They must renew the actings of faith in Christ.
II. Of trial. Hereby ye may try whether ye have truly believed in Christ or not; for they who have believed do enter into rest in him.USE
III. Of exhortation. Ye who profess to have believed in Christ, rest in Him, and so evidence your faith. For motives consider —
1. There is no need ye should go to any other quarter for what ye need; “For it pleased the Father, that in Him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19).
2. There is no true rest to be found out of Christ (John 6:67).
3. It dishonours Him highly not to rest in Him. It gives out an ill report of Him to the world, whereby His name may be blasphemed as if there were not enough in Him to satisfy in all cases.
4. You not resting in Him will evidence your hypocrisy (Job 27:10).
5. Rest in Him now, and ye shall rest with Him forever; but if ye forsake Him, He will cast you off, and ye will fall there where there is no rest for the ages of eternity. And it will aggravate your condemnation, that ye might have been well if ye could but have rested in Christ.