Hebrews 4:11

I. THE EXHORTATION TO EARNEST ENDEAVOR TO AVOID FAILURE AND SECURE SUCCESS. The believers to whom these words were addressed were halting between two opinions. The question was whether they should go back to the synagogue and the temple, and thus evade trial, or go forward in the brave and successful profession of Jesus Christ, and each should say, "Let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." No other subjects could approach these in importance, because they related to the life of the spirit, its power and safety now, and its eternal happiness in the life to come. The alternative is imaged by the fall and overthrow in the wilderness, and its lost labor, and the happy and successful entrance into the Promised Land. It was not a vain thing; it was for their life. The writer urges believers to labor, which term sets forth the arduousness of the enterprise and involves the exercise of watchfulness against the approach of foes, resolute self- repression, frequent prayer, and an ample and constant use of all divinely prescribed means for the preservation and furtherance of the spiritual life. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." With this view agrees the counsel of Paul, who reminds us of the strife of men in the arena for an earthly and fading crown, and hints at the severe training through which the runners pass, the rigor of their effort, which taxes all their strength of limb and speed of foot; and therefore believers should, in view of an immortal prize, labor to gain the approbation of the Judge, and realize the blessedness of Divine success. II THE SOLEMN FACT WITH WHICH THE EXHORTATION IS ENFORCED. This is the weighty and all-concerning truth, that the Word of God with which ancient Israel had to do is the Word which affects the life and career of all Christians. It is believed by able expounders of the Scriptures that as every word must have a speaker, it is reasonable to apply this passage to Jesus Christ, who is the Word, and out of whose mouth there goes the sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 1:16). It is quick, or living, because it is the abiding and unchangeable will of our Lord, and, when written, represents his mind concerning God, our sinfulness, our opportunity of salvation by believing in him, and our prospects of eternal life. Men die, and the prophets, apostles, and confessors are removed by death; but the Word of the Lord endureth forever. It is active and power- ful, and produces changes of view and life. It awakens prayer, and elicits cheerful and efficient service for Christ. The Word which dwells richly in believers awakens melody in the heart as unto the Lord. It is divinely penetrative, and enters into the secret places of the soul. There is an impressive example in 1 Corinthians 14:24, where "one unlearned enters the assembly and "he is convinced of all, he is judged of all and thus the secrets of his heart being made manifest; and so falling down on his face he wilt worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth." This passage has an admonitory aspect, which is drawn from the history of Israel. The word of condemnation was spoken, and the unbelieving generation died in the wilderness, and funeral after funeral passed through the camp to the wilderness beyond; and Moses said, "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance" (Psalm 90:8). It reminds of some truths regarding ourselves and our condition of exposure to the constant observation of Jesus Christ, with whom we have to do. It declares to thoughtful minds that while we are what we are only as we appear to him, and that we should be content with his perfect knowledge of us, there is to be a final and solemn appearance before him to whom we must give an account. Apostles, evangelists, pastors, and all Christians must appear before him, to present our life for his inspection and final decision. If we have sought first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; if we have been merciful to his poor and persecuted followers; if we have maintained our hold of the gospel amid changes of public opinion; if we have been faithful stewards of the manifold grace of God, - we shall give up our account with joy and not with grief. - B.







Let us labour therefore to enter.
In these words there is, first, an exhortation; second, a motive pressing it. In the exhortation we may consider —

1. The dependence of it upon what goes before, intimated in the particle "therefore;" showing that it is an inference from some preceding doctrine. In the latter part of the third chapter, he shows that unbelief kept the disobedient Israelites out of God's rest; both out of Canaan, and heaven typified thereby (chap. 4.).(1) He lets them see that they had an offer of that eternal rest as well as the Israelites in the wilderness had; because both had the gospel, only the Israelites in the wilderness did not believe it.(2) The great thing which we are to have in our eye, that rest, namely, of which David speaks (Psalm 95:11); that rest which remains (ver. 9).(3) What we are to aim at in reference to that rest; "to enter into it," that is, to be partakes of it.(4) The means to be used, in order to our entering, is labouring. Heaven will not fall down into our mouths while lying on the bed of sloth.(5) Observe the order of the labour and the rest. In the way of God's appointment, and of godly choice, the labour is first, then comes the rest. It is quite contrary with the wicked. They begin with a day of rest, and end with eternal toil; the godly begin with a night of toil, and end, or rather continue in eternal rest. Oh, that we may follow God's order!(6) Observe the end and design of this labour: it is rest. Men work in their young days, and lay up that they may rest in old age. So does the Christian. The wicked also labour that they may rest; but there is a vast difference both betwixt their labour and rest. Their labour is in sin, and their rest is there; but sought in vain, "for in the fulness of their sufficiency they are in straits." But the godly have their labour in grace, their rest in glory, and between these there is an infallible connection; who, then, would refuse that labour which ends in that rest.(7) The persons exhorted to labour; us, which includes the apostle and all the Hebrews, whom he exhorts to-day to hear God's voice, so that this exhortation belongs to all the visible Church, godly and ungodly. Some have entered the avenue leading to glory, some have not; both are called to labour to enter.

2. The motive pressing the exhortation. It is taken from the danger of not labouring. Consider here —(1) That of which people are in danger, and which will come upon them, if they labour not to enter, falling; that is, falling short of heaven, and missing salvation.(2) The great cause of ruin, that is, unbelief or unpersuasibleness. Unbelief is the great cause of the ruin of the hearers of the gospel, and that which cuts the sinews of true diligence, so as people under the power of it cannot labour.(3) A confirmation of the certainty of their ruin: "after the same example of unbelief."(4) The universality of the danger: any man.

I. IN WHAT THE CHRISTIAN'S LABOUR CONSISTS.

1. The mind must be intent on the business of salvation. This imports —(1) An impression of the weight of that matter upon the spirit. No wise man will labour for a trifle.(2) An habitual minding of that business. Religion is the believer's trade — hence his conversation is in heaven.(3) The heart's being set upon salvation (2 Corinthians 5:9). The scattered affections of the soul arc gathered together from off the variety of objects which the world affords us, and are fixed here (Psalm 27:4).

2. In this labour there is painfulness and diligence. The man labours for salvation, as working for his life itself, for indeed he sees his all is at stake. No opposition will make him give over. There is such a faintness in all the endeavours of many for heaven, that with the fearful who have no heart, they are excluded (Revelation 21:8).

3. In this labour there is haste. Our work must be done speedily, for the time proposed for our labouring is but "to-day." There is an unbelieving haste, that will not wait God's time; but this true haste is not to let his time slip.

4. There is this labour carefulness and holy anxiety about salvation, in the managing of the work (Philippians 2:12). Nosy this implies —(1) The turning of the soul from anxious cares about the world, to a holy solicitude about the salvation of the soul.(2) A fear of falling short of heaven.(3) An earnest desire to be set and kept on the way to heaven.(4) A fear of mismanagement in his work. The labourer for heaven should work, and doth best work with a trembling hand. It was the fundamental maxim of the heathen moralists, Have confidence in yourself. But I may say the Christian maxim is, Have no confidence in yourself. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.

II. FOR WHAT WE ARE TO LABOUR. To enter into the heavenly rest. This is that which we are to have in our eye, and to which our endeavours are to be directed. We are not called to work for nought; but as heaven is attainable, we are to labour that we may enter into it.

1. Show some Scriptural notions of heaven, to which this of entering doth agree.(1) Heaven is held out under the notion of a garden or paradise.(2) A house.(3) The temple typified by that at Jerusalem.(4) A city glorious for magnificence and beauty (Revelation 21.).(5) A country; even a better country than the best here below (Hebrews 11:16).(6) A kingdom (Matthew 25:34); a kingdom that cannot be moved (Hebrews 11:28).

2. Show what it is to enter into the heavenly rest.(1) There is an entering into heaven by the covenant. The covenant of grace is the outer court of heaven. Of this everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, David says, "this is all my salvation and all my desire." Surely, then, heaven was in it.(2) There is an entering by faith.

(a)In so far as faith lays hold upon Christ, and unites us to Him (John 6:54).

(b)In so far as faith lays hold on the promise in which heaven is wrapped up.(3) There is an entering by hope (Romans 8:24). Faith goes out as a conqueror, and hope divides the spoil.(4) There is an entering by obedience. "I know," said Jesus, "that His commandment is life everlasting." There is a personal way to heaven, that is, Christ. "I am," saith He, "the Way." Also a real way to heaven, that is, the commands of God, called everlasting life, because they certainly land the soul in heaven, and there is an infallible connection betwixt true obedience and glory.(5) There is an entering into heaven by actual possession, which in respect of our souls is at death, and in respect of our bodies will be at the resurrection, which is the full and final entry, to which all the rest are subservient. This entrance is that solemn entering into the king's palace (Psalm 45:15), which shall also be most joyful.

3. Mention some steps in the way by which we must labour to enter.(1) We must labour to get grace; this is the first step. "Let us have grace," says Paul, "whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."(2) We must labour to exercise grace in the gracious performance of duties.(3) Growing in grace.(4) Assurance of grace and glory.(5) Perseverance in grace to the end.

4. Consider this labouring to enter, as it has a respect to our preparation for that eternal rest in heaven. The man that is to go abroad is a busy man, putting all things in order for his voyage; and he that is making for his night's rest in bed, is not idle; and he that is to enter into the possession of eternal rest, has much work on his hand preparatory thereto. And thus to labour to enter into the heavenly rest implies —(1) The solid faith of eternal life, even of this truth, that "there remaineth a rest for the people of God."(2) A sincere desire to be partaker of that rest, after this troublesome life is over.(3) Resolute endeavours to enter there, by God's own way, which has already been described.(4) Frequent thoughts of that eternal rest.

III. HOW WE SHOULD LABOUR

1. We should labour willingly and cheerfully.

2. Diligently.

3. With all your might.

4. Resolutely.

5. Constantly.

6. With fear and trembling.

7. Quickly.

8. Refusing no piece of work God puts into your hands.

9. Evangelically.

IV. THAT WE MUST LABOUR IN ORDER TO OUR ENTERING INTO THAT REST.

1. Consider the several notions under which the Christian's life and the way to heaven is held forth, all of them implying true pains and labours. It is a working, "Labour not for the meat that perisheth" (Greek, "work"), (John 6:27). Here he that works not shall not eat. Yea, it is a working out of our own salvation; a bringing the work to perfection, otherwise what is done will be lost (2 John 8). It is compared to the work of the husbandman, which you know is not easy, ploughing, sowing, reaping (Hosea 10:12), especially considering that they are both the labourers, and the ground that is laboured. The Christian is a spiritual soldier, he must fight (2 Timothy 4:7); yea, and overcome (Revelation 3:21). Heaven has a strait gate by which to enter in, and therefore cannot be entered with ease. Men must press into it (Luke 16:16); and take it by storm; yea, put forth their utmost strength as they that agonising. The apostle says (2 Corinthians 5:91, "we labour"; the word signifies to labour most earnestly, as an ambitious man for honour; and what will not such do, to gain their point?

2. Consider how the way to heaven was typified under the Old Testament. Canaan was a type of heaven, and to what labour were the Israelites put before they could reach that land, though it was promised to them. Another eminent type of it, was the ascent into the temple, which was seated upon a hill, even Mount Moriah (1 Kings 10:5). Many a weary step had some of them ere they got to Jerusalem (Psalm 84:6, 7); and when they came there, they had to ascend unto the hill of God (Psalm 24:3), the mount of the Lord's house, a type of heaven.

3. Consider how the Scripture supposeth this labour (Romans 7:24; Galatians 6:5).

4. Consider how the Scripture represents the sluggard and his temper to us, as most hateful to God, and as one that is lost by his sloth (Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 20:4, and Proverbs 21:25). The sluggard is the unprofitable servant (Matthew 26:1-34).

5. Whom God intends for heaven, in then] He puts an active principle of grace. It is as natural for grace to bring forth good works, as for a good fruit tree to bring forth good fruit.

6. To enter heaven without labour is a contradiction; and so impossible. Heaven is a reward, and necessarily pre-supposeth working. Moreover, it is a rest which is a relative term, and has necessarily labour pre-supposed to it.

V. WHY WE MUST LABOUR IN THIS SPIRITUAL WORK, in order to our entering heaven. Negatively; not because by works we must merit heaven, for the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our working is the way to the kingdom; not the cause of our reigning; Christ's working was that. But we must labour, because —

1. It is the command of our great Lord and Master, whose command we are not to dispute, but to obey.

2. The glory of God requires it.

3. Because there is an infallible connection betwixt labouring and the rest. Labouring is the only way we can attain it. There is no reaching the treasure of glory without digging for it.

4. Because otherwise we pour contempt on the heavenly rest. It was the sin of the Israelites (Psalm 106:24, 25).

5. Because it is difficult work you have to do, and therefore we should set ourselves to labouring, for it is heart work.Motives:

1. Consider that in other things you do not refuse to labour. You are not such as live idle and at ease. Now God is putting a piece of work in your hands; will you labour for others, but not for Him?

2. Your profession and your vows call upon you to labour to enter.

3. Your time is short; ere long all of us shall be in an unalterable state.

4. Your time is uncertain, as well as short.

5. The devil is busy to keep you out of that rest.

6. You have weighty calls to this work and labour.Lessons:

1. You have the call of the Word and ordinances. Wherefore has the Lord sent you His gospel, but for this end.

2. You have the call of providence.

3. The call of conscience.

4. If you labour not, you will never see heaven.Now to make this labour easy to you, I would recommend —

1. To keep the encouragements to the work in your eye; particularly such as these, the example of those that have gone before you, and have got safe to the journey's end. These have made it appear the work is possible, and the reward certain.

2. Live by faith.

3. Labour to get and keep up love to Christ.

4. Look upon that labouring as your interest as well as your duty.

5. Be constant in that labour.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

How calm and beautiful to the servant of God is the close of a Sabbath day! It has, if he has used it aright, helped to allay all his cares and soothe all his woes; to brighten earth by the reflection of heaven. How endearing and animating, then, the blessed link, that knits the passing Sabbath of earth with the interminable Sabbath of heaven! — that makes the best and brightest day in the seven, to be to the child of God at once the pledge and the antepast of the everlasting "rest that remaineth for the people of God!"

I. "Let us labour to enter into that rest"; FOR LABOUR IS NEEDFUL, IF WE WOULD ENTER. Most true it is, that eternal life is from first to last " the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Death we win — it is the wages of our service; life we receive — it is the free boon of boundless grace. Purchased, but by the blood of God; given to us "without money and without price." But it is not less true, that though it be the gift of God, it is given to us in order to, and in connection with, toil, struggle, self-denial, self-subjugation, a warfare unremitting, a perpetual maintenance of " the good fight of faith, against the flesh, the world, and the devil." We see, in the history of God's saints in every age, that to enter the glorious "rest " was a task of stupendous difficulty — was a pursuit for unremitting earnestness and energy — and called for and cost them all their devoted powers. Says not the Scripture everywhere the same? " Strive," said the Saviour — agonise — "to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

II. We must "labour to enter into that rest," because IF WE FAIL OF THAT REST, WE FAIL OF ALL REST FOR EVER.

III. "Let us labour to enter into that rest"; for IT IS WORTH OUR UTMOST LABOUR. It was beautifully said by a heathen wise man, that the noblest thing on earth is a noble object nobly pursued. That man, in his sentiment, was "not far from the kingdom of God." Oh! had he possessed the lamp that lights us, to reveal to him the glories prepared for them that love God, he would have seen at once, that the only noble object for immortal, responsible, rational man — the only noble object to be nobly pursued, in faith, in love, in self-denial, in holiness, in obedience, in patience, in indomitable resolution — is the kingdom of God's dear Son.

IV. "Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest"; for EVEN HERE HOW MUCH OF THIS REST MAY BE OURS, WHILE WE TOIL AND TRAVEL AND CONFLICT BELOW! The apostle beautifully says in the preceding context, "We which have believed do enter into rest." There are first-fruits brought from heaven to the wilderness, as there were first-fruits brought from Canaan to the desert.

V. "Let us, therefore, labour to enter into that rest"; for our LABOUR IS " NOT IN VAIN IN THE LORD." In this race none fails through inveterate ignorance, if that ignorance be not of choice and of obstinacy; none comes short through want of talent or opportunity or advantage, if he makes the most of such as God gives him; none fails because of extremity of poverty or misery or desolation of earthly circumstances; none comes short because there was not mercy in God, there was not efficacy in the blood of Christ, there was not freeness and fulness in the Spirit of grace, there was not room in heaven, there was not amplitude in the gospel of peace. Every man that fails and comes short, "cannot enter in because of unbelief"; because he " would not come to Christ that he might have life," or, coming to Christ, he would not have life in the way of ,'working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, because it was God that worked in him to will and to do of His good pleasure."

(H. Stowell, M. A.)

We may properly regard this as an intimation that care and trouble are absolutely necessary on our part, in order to the procurement and enjoyment of those things "which God hath prepared for them that love Him." We should never fail to consider this life as a state of trial. In order to the attainment of human perfection, we perceive much labour to be necessary; there is no science, there is scarcely any art or employment in our several vocations in which we can arrive at eminence without industry and toil: exceptions there doubtless are, but this is the rule. We may further observe, that the greatest delight which we experience upon earth is frequently obtained by previous exertion or privation. As it is with the body, and with the attainment of natural blessings, so we have much greater reason to expect that it should be with the soul, with the attainment of those pure and spiritual blessings to which the natural man is averse. We could not expect them to be enjoyed without a previous discipline, without an anxious seeking, without a determined conflict. Not that such discipline and duty, on our part, are to be regarded as effectual in themselves; still less as entitling us to the benefits of the gospel on the ground of desert: we can have no such title but through the merits and for the sake of our blessed Redeemer. Whatever the labour might be — however severe, however unassisted and unrelieved — every wise man, every man who exercised a common judgment and prudence, would thankfully submit to it for a few years as the appointed means of a happy eternity; just upon the same principle as he would gladly submit to the trouble or toil of a day for the sake of procuring riches and comfort and honour during the remainder of his existence upon earth. But the work of the Christian, in the preparation of his soul for rest, is not a labour unassisted and unrelieved; not a gloomy period of service without the light of the sun. There is a heaven-born spirit, an all-sufficient grace, a holy energy and animation imparted, affording much more than a recompense even at present, and making the believer thankful that he has struggled and endured. Nevertheless, the mainstay of the children of God in their infirmities, the refreshment of their spirit in the vale below, is the promise of a heavenly rest at the end of their short pilgrimage, towards which they have the comfort of making a daily advancement: the promise of a final and blissful consummation. An aged Christian, now near this end, commonly says, at every striking of the clock upon his ear, thank God I am an hour nearer to my home and my rest. Such thankfulness may every one of us be able heartily to express!

(J. Slade, M. A.)

We must not think to go to heaven without study, bare wishing will not serve the turn. It is not enough to say with Balaam, "Oh, that my soul might die the death of the righteous, and my last end be like his" (Numbers 23:10). It is not sufficient to all, oh, that I were in heaven, but we must study to go to heaven. Now in all studying these things must concur.

1. There must be the party that studieth, and that is every Christian — high and low, rich and poor, of what estate or condition soever. The king and the subject, the ministers and their people, the master and the servant, the father and the child, the husband and the wife, the merchant and the clothier, the gentleman and the yeoman, the divines, lawyers, physicians, husbandmen, &c., all must study to enter into this rest.

2. There must be a closet, or a place to study in, that is, the chamber of our own hearts.

3. There must be a book to study on. Every, student must have his books. There can be no workman without his tools, nor a scholar without a library. Now the Lord will not trouble us with many books. As Christ said, one thing is necessary. So one book is necessary, the book of books the Holy Scriptures. Let us study that thoroughly, and learn the way to heaven.

4. There must be a light to study by. No man can study in the dark; either he faust have daylight or candlelight. The light whereby we study is the light of God's Spirit, who must enlighten our eyes that we may see the wonders of God's laws and direct us to this heavenly rest.

5. There must be diligence m study. Every student must be diligent. Learning is not gotten without pains. We must not study by fits, a start and away, but we must lie at it, if by any means we may come to this rest.

6. There must be a time to study in. Now this time is the term of our life.

7. And it is worth our study.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

Heaven is a place, or state, of rest. What kind of rest? The rest of inactivity, of absence of occupation, of listlessness, dreams, and luxurious vacuity? Certainly not. This is evidently not the kind of happiness that dignifies, improves, satisfies, or suits man, even here; far less therefore can it haronise with his exalted nature hereafter, which would only be cramped, imprisoned and dishonoured by such uncongenial inactivity.

I. A REST FROM DISTRACTING DOUBT. Here there is much sophism which is hardly to be distinguished from truth; in heaven all is truth. Here there is a great battle between truth and error; in heaven the victory is decided, and peace is eternal. Here we know in part, and therefore we can prophesy but in part; there we shall know even as we are known. There we shall rest; rest from the tides and fluctuations of uncertainty, and find a calm shot, and a secure haven. Nothing there can excite in us the least suspicion of the care, the justice, or the goodness of oar Maker, for these will be the visible support of our immortal life.

II. A REST FROM ANXIOUS CARES. In heaven these instruments of our earthly discipline will be laid aside. There will be no thorns in the pillow of that rest.

III. A PLACE, OR STATE, OF REST FROM PAIN,

IV. A REST FROM CONTENTION AND STRIFE. Discord, divisions, and fightings shall cease, and the confused noise of the warrior shall no more be heard there. Such things must not come where the Prince of Peace sits on the right hand of His Father. All rivalry and hate will be extinguished. "There no friend goes out, nor enemy comes in."

V. A PLACE, OR STATE OF REST FROM SIN.

(F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D.)

That is a singular paradox and bringing together of opposing ideas, is it not? Let us labour to enter into rest. The paradox is not so strong in the Greek as here; but it still is there. For the word translated " labour" carries with it the two ideas of earnestness and of diligence. And this is the condition on which alone we can secure the entrance, either into the full heaven above, or into the incipient heaven here. But note, we distinctly understand what sort of toil it is that is required to secure it, that settles the nature of the diligence. The main effort of every Christian life, in view of the possibilities of repose that are open to it here and now, and yonder in their perfection, ought to be directed to this one point of deepening and strengthening their faith and its consequent obedience. You can cultivate your faith, it is within your own power. You can make it strong or weak, operative through your life, or only partially, by fits and starts. And what is required is that Christian people should make a business of their godliness, and give themselves to it as carefully, and as consciously, and as constantly', as they give themselves to their daily pursuits. The men that are diligent in the Christian life, that exercise that commonplace, prosaic, pedestrian, homely virtue of earnest effort, are sure to succeed; and there is no other way to succeed. And how are we to cultivate our faith? By contemplating the great object which kindles it. By averting our eyes from the distracting competitors for our interest and attention, in so far as these might enfeeble our confidence. Do you do that? Diligence; that is the secret — a diligence which focusses our powers, and binds our vagrant wills into one strong, solid mass, and delivers us from languor and indolence, and stirs us up to seek the increase of faith, as welt as of hope and charity. Then, too, obedience is to be cultivated. How do you cultivate obedience? By obeying — by contemplating the great motives that should sway and melt, and sweetly subdue the will, which are all shrined in that one Easing, "Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price," and by rigidly confining our desires and wishes within the limits of God's appointment, and religiously referring all things to His supreme will. If thus we dot we shall enter into rest.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Diligence comprises both the impulse of the bowstring that despatches the arrow, and the feather that keeps it true to its aim. Diligio, the Latin word from which diligence is derived, means I choose, select, or love. To be diligent, therefore, is to resemble an eager hunter, who selects the fattest of the herd, and, leaving the rest, pursues and captures that one. Napoleon the First won his victories chiefly by rapid concentration of his forces on one point of the enemy's line. A burning-glass is powerful because it focalises a mass of sunbeams on one point. So in all departments of activity, to have one thing to do, and then to do it, is the secret of success.

God does not give thee the flower and the fruit of salvation, but the seed, the sunshine, and the rain. He does not give houses, nor yet beams and squared stones, but trees, and rocks, and limestone, and says: Now build thyself a house. Regard not God's work within thee as an anchor to hold thy bark firmly to the shore, but as a sail which shall carry it to its post.

(J. P. Lunge.)

Thwing's Preacher's Cabinet.
Its root meaning is to love, and hence it signifies attachment to work. The habits of literary men illustrate this. Lord Macaulay loved order, accuracy, and precision. He corrected his MS. remorselessly. So with his proof-sheets. "He could not rest till the lines were level to a hair's breadth, and the punctuation correct to a comma; until every paragraph concluded with a telling sentence, and every sentence flowed like running water."

(Thwing's Preacher's Cabinet.)

The other day I met a friend noted for a fretful and anxious disposition; and seeing that his face was cheerful and his step elastic, I said, "Well, old friend, you look as if things were going pleasantly." He replied, "Oh yes; my relatives have bought an annuity for me in the Assurance office, and until I die I shall have £200 a year to live on. You see, my future is provided for, and I have no need to worry myself about it as I used to do!" Like that man, some people imagine that when they believe in Jesus, there is a something done which makes them safe for ever, without any further trouble to themselves. A man who buys a railway ticket, gets into the train, and feels he has nothing more to do except sit there comfortably until the train arrives at the journey's end. But the Christian life is much more difficult. It is true that through Jesus Christ is preached unto men the forgiveness of all their sins; but it is an error to preach that Christians have nothing to do except believe, Jesus demands a faith in Him which shall constrain us to do.

(W. Birch.)

Calvin, even in his dying illness, would not refrain from his labours; but when his friends endeavoured to persuade him to moderate his exertions, he replied, "What! shall my Lord come and find me idle?"

Never think that God is going to make a Christian out of you with. out effort of your own. When the lion crouches down before you, and his eyes glare upon you, and he is about to spring, you need not expect Providence to fire your gun for you; you must do it yourself or die. 'Tis kill or be killed with you then. God has already done His part in the work of your salvation. If you don't choose to do your part, you will perish.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Fall after the same example of unbelief
This implies —

1. There is danger and an evil to be feared.

2. The evil is falling.

3. All and every one is in this danger Lest any fall."

4. Lest any should slight the danger, he instanceth in the Israelites, who fell by unbelief.To fall may be a sin or a punishment. If a sin, it is apostasy. If a punishment, it is exclusion out of God's rest, with all the miseries that accompany it. So it seems here to be taken. By this, as by many other places, we easily understand how we must conceive of examples, and what use we must make of them. If they be examples of punishments, we must account them as executions of God's laws, and especially of His comminations. The use that we must make of them is, to avoid those sins for which they were inflicted, and to be the more careful in this particular because by them we may easily know that God's laws are not only words and His threats only wind. It is not with God as it is often with men, who will threaten more than they will or can do. Thence the saying, "Threatened men live long." But here it is otherwise. God's word is His deed, and His punishments, threatened against apostates are unavoidable. They are not made unadvisedly, and out of rash passion, but according to the eternal rules of wisdom and justice. And let every one know that that God that spareth neither men, nor angels, nor His own chosen and beloved people, will not spare us. Therefore, as we desire to escape this fearful punishment, let us labour to enter into that rest which God hath promised.

(G. Lawson.)

Disobedience is the root of unbelief. Unbelief is the mother of further disobedience. Faith is submission, voluntary, within a man's own power. If it be not exercised the true cause lies deeper than all intellectual ones, lies in the moral aversion of his will and in the pride of independence which says, "Who is the Lord over us?" Why should we have to depend upon Jesus Christ? And as faith is obedience and submission, so faith breeds obedience, and unbelief leads on to higher-handed rebellion. The two interlock each other, foul mother and fouler child; and with dreadful reciprocity of influence the less a man trusts the more he disobeys; the more he disobeys the less he trusts.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

People say that it is arbitrary to connect salvation with faith, and talk to us about the "injustice " of men being saved and damned because of their creeds. We are not saved for our faith, nor condemned for our unbelief, but we are saved in our faith, and condemned in our unbelief. Suppose a man did not believe that prussic acid was a poison, and took a spoonful of it and died. You might say that his opinion killed him, but that would only be a shorthand way of saying that his opinion led him to take the thing that did kill him. Suppose a man believes that a medicine will cure him, and takes it, and gets well. Is it the drug or his opinion that cures him? If a certain mental state tends to produce certain emotions, you cannot have the emotions if you will not have the state. Suppose you do not rely on the promised friendship and help of some one, you cannot have the joy of confidence or the gifts that you do not believe in and do not care for. And so faith is no arbitrary appointment, but the necessary condition, the only condition possible, in the nature of things, by which a man can enter into the rest of God. If we will not let Christ heal our wounds, they must keep on bleeding; if we will not let Him soothe our conscience, it must keep on pricking; if we will not have Him to bring us nigh, we must continue far off; if we will not open the door of our hearts to let him in, He must stop without. Faith is the condition of entrance; unbelief bars the door of heaven against us, because it bars the door of our hearts against Him who is in heaven.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

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