For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,Hebrews 3:14(NASB)
Much of the book of Hebrews admonishes Christians not to fall into the same attitude of Israel's rebellions unbelief, after having been redeemed from Egyptian slavery. They did not enter their promised rest because of unbelief, and a hardening of their hearts towards the God of their salvation. Instead the nation, which had been redeemed from Egypt, spent the rest of their lives wandering aimlessly through a barren wilderness.
They had witnessed amazing miracles through the unrelenting plagues that God sent upon their slave-masters.. They saw the Red Sea part so that they crossed the sea on dry ground, and they were present when the voice of God trumpeted from the top of the smoking Mount Sinai. But instead of rejoicing in the God of their salvation and trusting His Word.. they fell into murmurings, unbelief and defiance of the Lord. Instead of living by faith with thanksgiving.. they lived by unbelief with complaining. Instead of trusting God to keep His Word, they suffered the consequences of unbelief. They were redeemed from Egypt, but fell short of their promised rest. They were saved.. but lived a barren life and did not fulfil God's purpose for their lives.
Israel's physical redemption from Pharaoh's slavery in Egypt, mirrors the Christians' spiritual redemption from slavery to sin in the kingdom of Satan. Israel was saved from Egypt because they believed God and carried out His instructions - so that by faith.. the angel of death Passed-Over the believing Hebrews. But sadly, they did not continue to live by faith. Instead they began to doubt the goodness, grace and faithfulness of the God Who redeemed them.
Christians likewise are spiritually redeemed from Satan's bondage, when we believe God's Word. We are likewise saved.. through faith. We are redeemed from bondage to sin when we believe that Christ died for our sin, was buried and rose again the third day, to pay the price for our sins. However once we are saved we are charged to live by faith.. to trust God's Word and to rest in Christ.
Israel however, instead of continuing to live by faith after their salvation from Egypt, started to murmur against God. They moved from salvation by grace through faith to living according to their own will and not by adhering to God's perfect plan. They were saved by faith but did not continue in faith.. And the same can be said for many Christians, who are saved by faith.. but try to live by works - and this displays the spirit of unbelief.
God had purposed that Israel would exit Egypt and enter the Promised Land of rest, within a few short weeks of their escape, but unbelief caused the entire generation to die in the wilderness without experiencing the promised rest in the land of Canaan.
As Christians, we too have a promised rest. However our rest is not in a land but in a PERSON - and our rest is not simply a future rest in our heavenly home but a present day rest, here on earth.
Jesus is the Christians' promised Rest. The Lord Jesus is the Rest that Christians, in the age of grace, have been promised. As Christians, we were united with Christ at salvation, and became partakers of Christ from that day forward. We were redeemed by Him through faith.. and by God's grace were made one with Him. Christians are covered in His righteousness.. and as members of His body, we have access to every spiritual blessings, because we are in Christ - and one of those promises, is God's promised REST.
Although the Israelites were saved from Egypt they forfeited their rest through unbelief. Similarly although Christians are saved by grace through faith in Christ we can forfeit our spiritual rest throughout the rest of our life.. if we do not hold fast to our assurance - and we do this by faith. Christ is our promise, and we gain that rest by believing.. by trusting what God has said in His Word. To fail to live by faith is the same spirit of unbelief that was seen in Israel - and it is this spirit of unbelief against which believers are warned, in Hebrews.
We were saved by faith.. and as members of this body we have become partakers of Christ.. But we are also to live the remainder of our life by faith. We are not to enter into the same sort of murmuring and unbelief as the Israelites. We are to hold fast to our faith.. to our life's end, as we abide in Him.. rest in Him and trust Him in all things.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your word. Help me to take to heart the example of the Israelites who forfeited their rest through unbelief. Keep the eyes of my heart focused on Jesus, Who is my promised Rest - by grace through faith. Thank You in Jesus name, AMEN