In this New Testament age, we now have the reality that the Sabbath only pictured. We are resting and trusting in what God has done through the Lord Jesus Christ.
We now have a relationship with God, and He’s already provided everything we’ll ever need. Before you ever needed healing, God had already healed you. By whose stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2:24).
You don’t have to ask God to heal you. You don’t have to do something, and then, in response to your action, God heals you. No, healing is already provided. All you have to do is just reach out, take it, and say, “Thank You.” You don’t have to ask God to bless you.
The Lord has commanded the blessing upon you in everything that you do. Before you were ever born, before you ever had a need, the blessing of God was already on you. You don’t have to beg God for supply. Just rest in Him and trust, saying, “Father, I know You’ve already met my needs.” This rest is what the Sabbath portrayed. This is the rest spoken of in Hebrews 4.
Very few Christians today are resting in what Jesus has already provided. Instead, they’re operating with the mind-set that they have a problem and they need God to do something. They’re waiting on God to create, to move, to do something new to meet their need.
They don’t understand that God anticipated their needs. They aren’t resting in the Lord, as Hebrews 4 describes. After saying all these things, the writer of Hebrews said: For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his (Hebrews 4:10). In other words, for people who have entered into this rest, they have ceased trying to make God do something. They have ceased trying to get God to bless them. They have ceased trying to earn His favor.
They are just resting in the truth that, through Jesus, God has already supplied everything. In the same way that God created everything and now He doesn’t have to create new plants, animals, or people today because they simply propagate as a result of His original creation, the Lord made a new creation, and that’s us.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are a new creation in our born-again spirit and in this new creation, when we need to be healed, God doesn’t have to heal us. Healing is already in the spirit part of us, that new creation. When we need to be prospered, God doesn’t have to prosper us. He has already commanded blessing and prosperity into our spirit man. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).
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Now, in the new creation through Jesus, everything is already done. The key to the Christian life is learning how to rest. Trust that the Father says it’s done. My bank account may say I’m broke, and I’m on the verge of bawling and squalling. I may have a strong desire to start praying, fasting, and doing something to make God move. But I’m going to rest and trust His Word. His Word says that He has already supplied all my needs (2 Peter 1:3). He’s already blessed me. He’s commanded His blessing upon me. The Christian life is learning how to rest, not how to work and do something to make God move. That’s what this passage is talking about.
If you have entered into His rest, then you have ceased from your own efforts. It’s no longer you doing something to make God move. It’s you learning how to trust and rely on the truth that God has already done it. “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (Hebrews 4:11).
This sounds like an oxymoron—a contradiction of terms. How do you labor to rest? This isn’t saying that we should just “lazy out,” go to sleep, and do nothing. This is ceasing from your own works, from thinking that you have to earn God’s favor. It’s ceasing from thinking you have to do something to motivate God to get Him to love you and answer your prayers. Saying, “Oh God, don’t You love this person? I have been praying for them for twenty years. Oh, God, do something!” isn’t resting. You think you’re the one motivating God and if it wasn’t for your intercession, the Lord would just let people go to hell because He doesn’t care.
If you think it’s your great intercession that is moving God, you’re trusting in your own effort. You aren’t resting in Him. Rest is simply trusting and relying on God. It’s saying, “Lord, You, love this person more than I ever could. You have already provided salvation for them, so I know it’s Your will that they be saved. Father, I thank You that Your will is coming to pass. Here am I. Use me. If You can open up a door for me to share Your love and Your Word with this person, then I will do it.” That’s how you pray for lost people.
Don’t plead with God as if it’s up to Him whether or not they get saved. He’s not the one determining who gets saved. God has made the provision. He’s provided salvation for everybody but each person has to decide to accept that salvation. So you can only become a channel for God to flow through.
When you understand rest properly, you understand it takes effort to rest. You must labor to rest. When the banker is calling, your account is in the red, and your spouse has been saying, “You have got to do something”, it takes labor to say, “My faith is in God. I’m doing what He has told me to do. I trust Him and I’m not going to panic. I refuse to get out of rest. I’m not going to get into fear.” When the doctor says you’re going to die, it takes labor for you to respond, “That’s not what God’s Word says. By His stripes I was healed! I’m not going to be healed, I was already healed.
He’s already supplied healing, and I’m not going to panic. I refuse to get into fear.” It takes effort for you to rest like that. This is why we study the Word. We don’t study the Word to get God to heal us. We study the Word to find out that God has already healed us, to calm our fears, and to anchor our faith. Then we can say, “Father, I’m operating on this knowledge that You’ve given me, and I’m not moving off of it!”
Our flesh wants to get into “do something” mode. You feel the need to start praying, fasting, or doing something else to try to make God come through. Every time you do that, you’ve stepped out of faith in what God has already done and you’ve moved into legalism and works. You’re going to do something to make yourself worthy. You’re going to do something so that God has to come through. The moment you’ve done that, you’re out of grace and faith and into legalism. Your sin isn’t as truly offensive to God as your self-righteousness and self-dependence. It’s as if Jesus isn’t enough; you’re going to do something and go through your own strength instead of through Jesus. That’s the most offensive thing you could possibly do.
However, please note, I am not saying that you shouldn’t fast, or pray. As I am writing this article I am currently fasting. When you fast, you are not doing that to move God. You are aligning yourself with what God has already done for you and eliminating unbelief.