God’s Sabbath Rest - The Warrior's Journey®

God’s Sabbath Rest

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,  just as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10) 

There remains a Sabbath-rest for the people of God. But is the writer of Hebrews speaking of observing the first or the last day of the week?  Or is he referring to something that affects every day of the week? 

Paul the apostle states that Christian believers should not feel bound to observe the Old Testament (or Old Covenant) requirement of observing the Sabbath. In Romans 14:5 he writes, One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” And in Colossians 2:16-17 he writes, “do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”  Yes, the legal requirement to observe the Sabbath day was a mere shadow of a greater reality which Jesus brought. What then is that greater reality? What is the true rest? 

It’s this: just as the first man entered into God’s finished work of creation, so the Christian believer enters into Christ’s finished work of redemption. Remember, Adam was the very last thing which God created. So when he arrived on the scene, everything was already completed. Adam couldn’t add anything to God’s creation. He could only enjoy it. True, God did plant a garden in Eden and He placed Adam in the garden to tend it (Genesis 2:8-17). But this was before God imposed a curse on the earth (Genesis 3:17-19). Adam’s work in the Garden of Eden was easy and pleasurable. The ground did not yield thorns and thistles. It cooperated with Adam and made his cultivating a joy.  Adam rested in God’s finished work. 

It’s the same with Christ’s finished work of redemption. When we believe in Jesus we enter into a new creation of which Christ is the Firstborn (Colossians 1:15) – the first to be raised incorruptible (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5). God sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts, who raises us from death in trespasses and sins and makes us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:1-6). As a result, we rest from all our efforts to become righteous in God’s sight. God makes us righteous freely as a gift when we believe in Jesus (Romans 3:21-26; Philippians 3:9). We cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work on the cross. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” He meant it. And though we are called to do good works, God is the One who energizes and empowers us to do them (Philippians 2:12-13). Therefore, Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). His commandments are not burdensome to us (1 John 5:3). 


  • Can we make ourselves more righteous than the righteousness of God? 
  • Do we practice good works out of fear or from the desire God gives us? 
  • Can you see that the believer can work heartily for God from a rest-filled soul? 

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