We come across some hard words in today’s Bible reading from Hebrews 4. It’s a good reminder that not everyone who followed Moses out of Egypt made it to the Promised Land. As a matter of fact, only two did: Joshua and Caleb. Even Moses was denied entrance.
The writer of Hebrews warns believers to be careful to not grow hardhearted and therefore to fall short. He wraps up the chapter with
Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 CSB)
On one hand, the writer tells us that we can boldly approach God’s throne of grace, yet he says earlier in this chapter (and in the previous chapters) that we need to strive to enter His rest so no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11)
So how does that work? On one
Think about it. You probably love your children more than anything in the world. You’d do anything for them and give them anything they need. But where does obedience figure into that? Will you withhold something from a disobedient child? Of
Later, the writer will tell us that the discipline we receive from our Heavenly Father demonstrates that we are His kids. Disciplining our own children demonstrates our love for them. And even when they’re disobedient, we still love them and will do whatever we can for them. Our love is grace or undeserved favor we give them by virtue that they are our children.
All believers have received grace and mercy from our Father. We didn’t do anything to get the favor He has shown to us. And because we didn’t do anything to get it, His continued favor is not dependent on our behavior. However, the more we know our loving Father, the more we will want to return His love and the more we will want to please Him with our obedience to His commands.
If you’re not interested in changing your behavior to obey God’s commands, you might want to check your spiritual state: Are you really one of His kids or not?
All of His children will enter His rest. Those who don’t enter His rest are not His children.
Some of the scariest words in the Bible are,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’ (Matthew 7:21–23 CSB)
Jesus points out that behavior doesn’t promise eternal life. Knowledge of Him and knowledge by Him does. (John 17:3) Knowing and being known are the key; they signify a relationship with Him.
And that’s what it’s all about.