Friday, January 19, 2018

Did you enter the Sabbathismos?

May 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

Did you enter the Sabbathismos?

The book of Hebrews was written for Jewish Christians. It was written to show them that Christianity is superior to Judaism.

The book list certain things as much better or superior in the new covenant:

Jesus himself (Hebrews 3:1-6). New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6). New covenant law (Hebrews 7:12) Jesus’ sacrifice (Hebrews 9:23). Heavenly Temple (Hebrews 9:11). God’s promises (Hebrews 8:6). Resurrection (Hebrew 11:35). Blood atonement (Hebrews 12:24).

There is another thing the author of Hebrews mentions: a Sabbath. He says it this way:

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest (Greek:Sabbathismos) for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9, New American Standard Bible).

This Sabbathismos or Sabbath however is not the seventh-day Sabbath, Christian Sabbath (Sunday) or a physical day of rest as we will soon see. Neither does this text do away with the need for a day of worship, rest and fellowship (Hebrews 10:25).

Since this rest remains or stands for the people of God, we need to know how to enter this better Sabbath rest in the new covenant.

Note how we enter this Sabbath rest and how we don’t. The following points will also show that this better Sabbath is not the seventh-day Sabbath.

First, you enter this Sabbath rest by believing:

For only we who believe can enter his rest” (Hebrews 4:3, NLT).

Two, you can keep a physical day of rest and still not enter this Sabbath. Israel who were keeping the seventh-day Sabbath rest didn’t enter this Sabbath rest:

Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come” (Hebrews 4:8).

Three, you can enter this Sabbath rest when you stop trying to earn salvation by your own works. Works here does not refer to good works that a Christian does by faith.

For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors (own works of salvation), just as God did after creating the world” (Hebrews 4:10).

Four, you can enter this rest Today. You don’t have to wait for the weekend.

“So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today” (Hebrews 4:6, 7).

Fifth, entering this Sabbath rest is associated with the good news or the gospel:

“So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today” (Hebrews 4:6).

What is the gospel or good news if not salvation by trusting and believing in Jesus alone? Paul wrote:

We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us” (Romans 3:22-25).

When you gave your heart to Jesus, you entered this Sabbath rest.

“For only we who believe [in Jesus] can enter his rest” (Hebrews 4:3, NLT).

This Sabbath rest is a spiritual rest of grace, acceptance, forgiveness we experience in Christ. It is also a rest from guilt, sin, and its penalty.

Jesus promises this Sabbath rest today for anyone who comes to Him:

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Some do not enter this rest for at least three reasons.

First, they do not know about the gospel, the spiritual Sabbath rest and what Jesus has accomplished for them.

Second, they do not enter this rest because they do not believe completely in Christ’s finished work and His power to save them.

Third, they do not “make every effort to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:11, NIV) in response to the good news, thus making allowance for Satan to challenge their trust in Jesus and His finished work.

Have you entered this spiritual Sabbathismos?

Still not sure. Remember who you are in Christ.

You are: Reconciled (Rom. 5:10). Dead to sin (Rom. 6:11). Freed from sin (Rom. 6:18). Released from law’s condemnation (Rom. 7:6). Conqueror through Him (Rom. 8:37). Sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13). Saved through faith (Eph. 2:8). The dwelling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:22). Chosen in Christ (Eph. 1:4). Qualified to share in the inheritance (Col. 1:12). Transferred to His kingdom (CoI. 1:13). Chosen to be like Christ (Rom. 8:29). You have: the living presence of Christ in you (Phil. 2:13). A Helper to encourage you (Rom. 8:26). You: serve in the newness of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter (Rom. 7:6). Received a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12).


John Mendis is an evangelical Christian living in Sri Lanka. His passion is to share the new covenant gospel of grace in simple terms with people of all ages.  He also runs his own blog Gospel Reflections:

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