Hebrews 4:9-11 NET

Consequently, a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. 10 For the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. 11 Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.

What is "God's rest"? (v10)

What effort must one make to enter that rest? (v11)

  • The captivity in Babylon lasted 70 years, which corresponded to missed sabbaths for the land. Wouldn’t our rest, in one way or another, also have something to do with the sabbath? Dec 14, 2020 at 22:48
  • Constantthin: At the end of each of the six figurative days we read the expression "And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." (Gen. Vs1:23, 31) However, on the 7th day, we read: " Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." (Gen 2:3) Paul urges Christians to try and enter this day of rest:"Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest" Also read John 5:16-17 Thus, Jesus implied that as regards the earth, God’s great Sabbath day of rest, the seventh day, had not ended in his day. Dec 15, 2020 at 20:14
  • Jesus, and other people like Martha’s sister Mary, seem to be fasting frequently. John 4, for instance speaks about a tired Jesus, weary of being without food, staying put at the well, And Mary is often seen sitting, presumably tired due to fasting. Could it have been on the Sabbath they were fasting? As an anti-thesis to the reason for the Babylon punishment. Dec 15, 2020 at 23:02
  • God gave Sabbath laws to the Jews, the Bible also speaks of a different kind of sabbath that Christians are to keep, verse 4:9 (read Hebr chap 3and 4 More than 4,000 years after the seventh day, or God’s rest day, commenced, Paul indicated that it was still in progress. At Hebr. 4:1-11 he referred to the earlier words of David (Ps 95:7, 8, 11) and to Genesis 2:2 and urged: " Therefore let’s make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience." Heb4:11 NASB biblegateway.com/passage/… Dec 16, 2020 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


The "rest" spoken of in Hebrews chapter 4 is God's particular rest for his children who will enter into glory. Ch.2 vs.10 introduces the concept of the Son of God "bringing many sons unto glory". He delivers from the fear of death, and from bondage, so that those "who are partakers of the heavenly calling" (ch.3.vs.1) have the belief that enables entrance into God's "rest". All of chapter 3 shows that it was unbelief that prevented most Israelites from entering into God's rest, i.e. entering in to the promised land. This is used as a parallel for Christians to grasp how belief is key to entering into God's rest, which has moved on from living on an earthly parcel of land to being in glory - heaven.

Chapter 4 enlarges on this. You ask particularly about verses 9-11 which clearly show that the topic has moved on from anything earthly to that which is spiritual. Rest is given by Christ Jesus, to those who believe in his finished work of redemption, that it now applies to them who believe only in him (Luke 24:21). Thus they can "cease from their own works". Their own works can never earn them redemption, or glory, or peace. Christ redeems spiritual Israel, and they know it. That is how he gives peace, but not as the world gives peace (John 14:27 & 16:33). But if they rest by faith in the peace that Christ gives, they experience spiritual rest even now, for their hearts are no longer troubled while on Earth. They will experience peaceful rest supremely when they enter into heaven where all striving has ended, as stated here:

"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus... Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:12-13

The answer to how one enters into that rest is in verses 2 and 3:

"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [the gospel]. For we which have believed do enter into that rest." Hebrews 4:2-3 - emphasis mine


The whole chapter expresses the need to abandon works with a view to earning salvation. Beginning with a story about OT peoples who had opportunity to enter a physical rest - via the Sabbath and the promised Land, the same principle plays out in NT with the Spirit of God now active in His people, and a focus on Jesus, instead of law. The preceding chapters speak of the centrality of Jesus and his role as High priest, his sacrifice and the benefits that flow from God's loving plan

let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it... because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest

and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, (and disbelief)

10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

11Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

No one can stand by keeping a law - God's word sees deeper within us than we do in our inflated and deceived view of ourselves as being somehow good enough. Jesus has accomplished all necessary for true life and in that life - rest - trust - peace - assurance...

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

This has nothing to do with a 'day' or a 'Sabbath'. These are the shadows of what was always coming - true life only through Jesus the Christ with the Father. The Sabbath was a time of rest every week - God offers through Christ a rest that is permanent and everlasting - only by GRACE. (not by works as they are part of the law - the law and sin bring death)

What effort must one make to enter that rest?

To believe, to trust, to obey - not the law per se, but God's spirit dwelling in us as a deposit only in this life - trusting in what Jesus accomplished on the cross and the resounding victory won for all people.

It might be summed up by - 'seek first the kingdom'. Which is to do as Jesus always did - even at great cost and anguish, to put God's will before his own. Then, the rest will be ours forever.

  • user48152: A very good answer,( read my comments to costantthin ) And I ask you: "What was the purpose of the seventh day, and when will that purpose be fully realized?"Genesis 2:3 explains: "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."The purpose is for the earth to be inhabited by obedient men and women who will take care of it and all life upon it. (Gen. 1:28) It is toward the realization of that purpose that both God and Jesus Christ, the “Lord of the sabbath,” have “kept working until now.” (Matt. 12:8) Dec 15, 2020 at 20:36
  • user48152 Christ's Law, the "Law of Liberty" (not the Law of Moses) is comprised of several essential factors including: 1) belief in Christ, 2) repentance, 3) confession, 4) baptism, and 5) sustained obedience to God. That last point includes worship consisting of prayer, communion, songs, and biblically-sound studying and teaching. Belief is a work (Jn. 6:29), confession is a work (Matt. 10:32), and repentance is a work (Acts 26:20). It is vital to understand that faith w/o works is dead (Jas. 2:26). The "rest" we enter into, our sabbath is, indeed, eternal rest with God in heaven.
    – Xeno
    May 4, 2021 at 5:53
  • Yes, but you are over reaching with 'works'. We are by NO means saved by works, but we are not saved without them either - but the former is foremost. The rest is because we are not striving to accomplish anymore - this victory over sin is won, we already share in that and so we rest in Christ and the works are a consequence of our salvation and newly forming life.
    – Steve
    May 4, 2021 at 5:58
  • I fully agree with everything you said about our "rest." But we differ in our definition of "faith". Again, faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:26). Indeed, James devotes the entire 2nd-half of his Letter to works: "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?... Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself" (Jas. 2:14,17). Those are not my words. Allow me to ask: What do you mean by "but the former is foremost"? Former what?
    – Xeno
    May 4, 2021 at 6:04
  • 1
    agreed - hence my statement - we are not saved without them either! they go hand in hand, but keeping a law or marking some kind of discipline as a credit to ourselves amounts to nothing - but may even detract from God's saving work in Christ.
    – Steve
    May 4, 2021 at 6:08

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