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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Pressing Into God's Rest, #3
And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Philippians 3:9—NIV)
Paul compares faith with the righteousness obtained by keeping the letter of the Law of Moses ("not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law"). We enter the rest of God through faith. Faith is our unwavering belief that God is good, that He is seeking to bring us to joy, and that He has the power to bring us to joy. When we add courage, hope, persistence, and obedience to unwavering faith we are able to press into the rest of God.
When Paul was desiring to know Christ, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, Paul was desiring to enter the rest of God.
To enter the rest of God is to attain to the resurrection from the dead. If we would participate in the resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of God's holy priests, we must first attain to the resurrection of our inward nature. The resurrection of our inward nature is accomplished as we let go of all our accomplishments and press into Christ, into God's rest.
Paul's goal as a Christian was to attain to the resurrection from the dead, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears. This must become our goal also. The Lord has no intention of catching up to Himself Christians who still are living in their adamic nature. Such are not prepared for glorification or for participation in the work of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The Book of Hebrews is one long exhortation to experienced Christians to press into God's rest. These Jewish believers, who had been saved, had received the Holy Spirit, had tasted of God's Word and the powers of the age to come, were not moving forward to God's rest, to the fullness of God's Person and will. They were rebuked severely by the writer of Hebrews and warned they would die in the wilderness of unbelief.
All of their spiritual accomplishments were regarded by the writer of Hebrews as milk, as elementary principles of salvation. We of today have not as yet arrived spiritually at the level of those Jewish believers. In other words, we still are in kindergarten.
The writer of Hebrews does not content himself with encouraging them to be nice and keep on being good Christians. He warns them of the danger of falling into the hands of a God who has been angered by their unwillingness to press forward in Christ.
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31—NIV)
I understand many Bible scholars will not accept the fact that the above verse applies to believers. They do not reject this interpretation from sound principles of biblical interpretation but because the verse conflicts with their understanding of the role of grace in our salvation. They are incorrect and the moral stature of the Christian churches is suffering as a result.
Hebrews begins by telling us of the high calling that rests on the Son of God and the sons of God, and then sets the tone for the epistle:
How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (Hebrews 2:3—NIV)
To be continued.