Welcome to week 4 of the Summer Hebrews Bible Study, everyone!
If you’re new, I’d just like to say that I’m so happy to have you here, and you’re welcome to join right now, even if you haven’t participated before. I post a new Bible Study installment every Tuesday of the summer, and a regular post here on Saturdays.
For those of you who have been following along, you know the drill. We review the last week’s main points, read the new chapter, read through the study guide, and review the discussion questions, which you can answer in the comments or just for yourself.
Last week’s main points consisted of these:
*Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. He is who makes us blameless.
*While sin keeps us from God, it is belief in Jesus that saves us. Not our good deeds or sinlessness. Our simple trust in Him to purify us.
*In order to enter God’s rest for our souls, we must allow Him to fill that hole in our hearts. How? By believing.
And the weekly takeaway was: “It is belief in Jesus that rescues our souls.”
Previous Posts in This Bible Study
Let’s Get Started!
First things first, of course. Let’s read Hebrews 4 right now. Clicking on this link will bring you to Hebrews 4 on BibleGateway, but flipping open a paper-leather-and-ink Bible will get you to the same place as well. Take your pick!
After you’ve read it, we can move on to the main points.
In order to fully enjoy God’s rest, we must totally accept His grace.
No works. Just belief. (Hebrews 4:3, 8-11)
This is the point that stunned me and left me speechless as I was studying Hebrews for the first time through a few weeks ago.
Have you ever thought about why God rested on the Seventh Day?
This all-powerful God just created the entire universe. While it seems like a huge deal for us, it was literally done by His voice. He spoke everything into being. Because we know that God can do anything, He didn’t need to rest. He wasn’t exhausted and decided to take a nap. He didn’t recline in a Jacuzzi with a book.
And if we see our God as being all-powerful, which He is, that means that He didn’t rest because He was tired – He rested because He wanted to exemplify a lesson about grace for us, and one that would stand thousands of years later.
For years upon years, the Hebrew people upheld the Sabbath as God commanded in Exodus 20:8. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” And they did.
But, remember, just stopping at the Ten Commandments isn’t enough for us. This commandment was given to foreshadow the coming Sabbath Rest that would be fulfilled in Jesus.
“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”
Jesus didn’t come to give us a few life lessons, some moral teaching, and a couple pats on the head.
He came to save us from our sin; to rescue us from ourselves; to show us grace when we had no other hope.
The Sabbath represents us taking a rest from our works – resting from finding our salvation in doing good things, from following rules, from striving to be holy.
Why? Because the grace and salvation that God has given us through Jesus is the very thing that makes us holy, counts us “good,” regards us righteousness.
In order to rest in His grace for all it truly is, we must lay aside our deeds and come to Him without the fanciness, without the high words, without our blue ribbons and medals and trophies on display – but with a humble heart. A believing soul. A spirit of acceptance of everything our God has done for us and an attitude of gratefulness.
This point has practically taken over the entire post, but for good reason: it’s imperative that we believe in Jesus and accept His grace FULLY in our lives. Salvation is Jesus + NOTHING ELSE UNDER HEAVEN.
It might seem awkward of us to not stress the importance of doing good. But that’s the point. It is Jesus’ death alone for us that paid for our sin; the only part we had in it was receiving it. No, of course we shouldn’t live like ungrateful freeloaders after we’re saved – but why on earth would we want to once we’ve seen His amazing grace for us?
Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are – so let us not shrink back from God in fear when we are tempted. (Hebrews 4:14-15)
It’s so easy to, when tempted, hide from God because oh my word He’d never get what I’m going through. But before we make that assumption, have we even read these amazing verses?
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Because Jesus became human, and also is God, He knows exactly what we go through. He knows what it’s like to be tempted to disobey His parents’ rules. He knows what it’s like to be tempted to lie or to steal or to swear. Wait, really? Yes, really.
Instead of hiding from God when tempted to sin, let us approach Him and ask for His strength in resisting sin. And this brings us to number three.
Because of Jesus, we can have a relationship with God – not one of shame and timidity, but one of boldness; for we are counted righteous before God. (Hebrews 4:16)
No matter what we face, God’s Throne is there for us to come to. Jesus made that relationship possible for us, and we are to come to Him confidently.
There is nothing too big for Him, nothing too strong or scary. Nothing too hard for Him to handle or anything that He will turn away from.
We are His children, and He delights in seeing us come to Him with everything, big and small. He wants us to trust Him, because He alone is worthy of it.
Let us not in our fear of God become afraid of God – we can draw confidently to Him, and He will help us.
*In order to fully enjoy God’s rest, we must fully accept His grace.
No works. Just belief.
*Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are – so let us not shrink back from God in fear when we are tempted.
*Because of Jesus, we can have a relationship with God – not one of shame and timidity, but one of boldness; for we are counted righteous before God.
In short? God’s grace secures us a beautiful relationship with God – all we have to do is trust Him.
Questions of the Week:
- When you think of the Sabbath, what first comes to mind? How does that change when you think of grace?
- When you are tempted, what’s the first thing you go to?
- How can you, personally, come to God more confidently?