GOD’S OFFER OF REST
‘REST’ is a significant theological word in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, there is an emphasis on rest, the loss of rest, and rest given again by God. Rest is from God. Rest is tied to the Promised Land. Rest can also mean Heaven. The lack of rest is equated with the lack of God’s presence. Rest is a complicated word which has variations of meaning depending on the context. When we understand the theological roots of rest, we understand more about human life and the rest to which God calls all human beings.
Rest is a significant thought in Hebrews 3:7-4:13. This thick theological passage begs the believer in Jesus Christ to look back into the Old Testament through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to see the emphasis God the Father makes on ‘rest’ and how it relates to the People of God. The author of Hebrews says it related to the believers he was writing to and to the people who received the Old Testament. It applies to us now.
COLOSSIANS: REST IN CHRIST
In the Book of Colossians, we have an explanation by the Apostle Paul about ‘rest’ that does not necessarily mention ‘rest.’ He explains some Christian thought behind what brings about biblical rest, of which Jesus Christ is the source. Paul explains the philosophy of ‘rest.’ Paul explains the Christian motivation to seek God in Christ and to have the blessing of rest/life in Christ. Paul is explaining what Jesus offered in Matthew. “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
In Colossians 2, Paul instructs the believers established in Christ (2:7) to follow Christ and trust in Him and in so doing, they will have rest. Paul wants Christians to be able to accept the ‘available rest’ offered by Christ. Acting religious does not lead to rest. Rather, following Jesus Christ leads us to “rest” by the living hope found being alive in Christ (see 2:6-15). Following Christ is a lifestyle of abiding in His way of being, “GOD’S lifestyle if you will.” Christians ‘rest in Christ.’ Following rules and regulations (see 2:16-17) will not lead to rest. Those things lead to busyness and acting religious.
The idea of ‘rest’ is the finished work of Christ in believers. The idea of the Day of Rest for the Jews (Sabbath) has become an everyday spiritual reality for those in Christ.
A SONG: ‘Holy Day’ Toil fades as the night gives way To the rising light of the seventh day. Time, we wear like a violet robe God shares with us his restful abode Where provision is of no mind, In tasting of God's end design Set apart God to know Through His Name All life bestowed LORD, we rise with you Higher than the sun. Blessed under your loving gaze, we live in your glory ablaze. Sabbath, is a muse to the soul. Drawing us to breathe deep, at the Father's footstool. Prophecy, in the blessed flow of time what's Holy declared in creation’s design. Set apart Christ to know Through His Name All life bestowed LORD, we rise with you Higher than the sun. Blessed under your loving gaze, we live in your glory ablaze. Upheld, by the Sovereigns way Knit to humans, In Christ sustained. Living bread beyond toil’s pain. In the Son of Man, freed from strain Present hope for all who cease, to share in God’s holy peace LORD, we rise with you Higher than the sun. Blessed under your loving gaze, we live in your glory ablaze. Forever, we rest in a Holy Day