The Nature Of True Rest

“‘. . . and I will give you rest’” (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus promises genuine, unsurpassed spiritual rest to every person who turns to Him in repentance and humble faith. God’s rest is a key scriptural theme, and the writer of Hebrews warns we must not take it for granted and miss it—especially if we think we’re safe and yet do not believe, much as the Jews:

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Heb. 4:1–3)

The dictionary provides us several definitions of “rest” that remarkably parallel God’s spiritual rest. First, rest is a cessation from activity and exertion. By analogy, divine rest means stopping all efforts at earning salvation. Second, rest means freedom from all that wearies or disturbs. And God’s rest gives believers freedom from every worry.

Third, the dictionary calls rest a fixed, settled quality. Likewise spiritual rest means our eternal destiny is secure in Christ. And finally, rest means someone can be confident and trustful. The spiritual parallel is the assurance that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

Ask Yourself

Are you suffering from a lack of rest and contentment in your life? What are the main culprits for this? Even if your current circumstances were to change very little, is it possible that God’s brand of rest could still settle down among it all?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008.