Since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Hebrews 4:1
Early Christians chose the first day of the week as their worship day. They called it the Lord's Day, for on it the Lord Jesus rose from the dead.
The Old Testament believers also had their Lord's Day, the seventh day of the week. It was called the Sabbath, which meant rest. Freed from daily work, the Israelites had the opportunity on this day to meditate on God's Word, individually and as an assembled congregation. It was on the seventh day that God rested after creating the world.
The Sabbath of rest gave promise of God's goodness in providing not only bodily gifts but also of the perfect peace and rest for the world through the Messiah. God had made provision for what the epistle to the Hebrews calls the "Sabbath-rest." This peace or rest consists of all that Jesus Christ has earned: forgiveness of sins, salvation, peace with God, and eternal life. This eternal, heavenly peace is still available, for the writer urges that his readers heed God's invitation and enter into God's rest.
To accept God's Sabbath-rest invitation does not require that we still keep Saturday as our day of spiritual rest. The laws of the Sabbath and the other once-prescribed holy days in the Old Testament have been fulfilled with the coming of Jesus as the Messiah. Saint Paul states that these days and occasions were "a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ" (Colossians 2:17).
In fact, then, Christ is our true Sabbath-rest. Through Him God conveys freedom from the Law, release from the many do's and don'ts of the Old Testament ceremonial law. Saint Paul explains to the Colossians how this release came about, for in Christ "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:14). As the Israelites were delivered from bondage in Egypt and were given promise of eternal rest in heaven, so God "has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves" (Colossians 1:13). It is fitting for the Son to invite us, who are troubled, to find our rest in Him.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for granting me rest and peace Christ, now and for eternity. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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