Eternal Rest

“His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will appoint you administrator over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”  Matthew 25:21


This is taken from a parable taught by Jesus.  For the purpose of this article, we are only going to focus on the precept taught by Jesus to hear the ‘well done’ by being a good and faithful servant, eventually entering into eternal rest with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.


There are a lot of people who have hard lives, some more obvious than others.  When we go downtown or to known trouble areas of the city, handing out tracts and Bibles, we witness first hand the very hard lives of those who have obviously been captivated by the devil and are on the broad path to destruction (Matthew 7:13).


The other day we were making a round and after speaking to several people, handing out a drink and a snack, we were nearing the end of our resources on hand and heading back.  We still had a few more drinks and tracts and decided to cross a street where there was some sort of problem playing out.


Unbeknownst to us, a domestic dispute had just occurred.  There was a man with his hands up, ready for police intervention, he had just beat his wife, though no police were yet arriving.  There another man was trying to get him to move along, threatening to and then eventually calling the police over the domestic dispute.  His wife laying next to him on the ground, passed out, not from the unseen beating that had occurred, but from drugs.  Yet there was another woman not far away, trying to get up, but crawling, then collapsing, then crawling, up a little hill, under the effects of drugs.


As this was a situation we were going to avoid, but happened to get briefly caught up in the middle of it, I went up to the other woman, the one trying to make it up the hill and handed her a Gatorade and a Bible tract booklet.  She looked over and instantly started crying, yet there was hope, I gave her the Gospel in a tract, that she might read it when she sobered up and no longer be this pathetic individual, part of God’s Creation, addicted to drugs, doing the will of Satan, on her way to death, as fast as the devil can get her there, securing her eternal destination.  No!  There must be hope, there must be an opportunity for this individual to be broken free from sin, to be released from the devil, from the prison that she is in, though no walls are seen, so that she might instead inherit eternal life, no longer serving the devil, but serving God, through Jesus Christ. 


This example and others, as what is deemed the invisible people, those who most never talk to, but we all see them when we drive by, in cities across the United States and the world, is just one example, an extreme example of the battle the envelopes the world, one where when the door is shut (Matthew 10:25) and the Rapture happens, the line in the sand will have been drawn, these who survive until that time, will have been Judged by Christ (2 Timothy 4:1), but will still have the opportunity of Salvation during the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), better known as the Tribulation. 


“For He says: In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  2nd Corinthians 6:2


Looking back at the rest, received when a Saved individual, one who has repented towards God and by faith believed into Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (Acts 20:21), that eternal rest that a Christian receives when they enter into the joy of their Lord, Jesus Christ. 


There is a battle that engages humanity, God’s Creation, one that started in the Garden of Eden and continues until this day (Romans 5:12; 3:23; 6:23) and those who serve God are not immune.


“Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though something unheard of was happening to you; but rejoice in so far as you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also rejoice with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. According to them He is blasphemed, but according to you He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a meddler in other people’s matters.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this regard.  For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?  Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”  1st Peter 4:12-19


Samuel was a prophet and servant of God.  When Saul called up Samuel from the dead, where was he?  He was alive and well in God’s rest.


“And the king said to her, Do not be afraid. What have you seen? And the woman said to Saul, I have seen a god-like one ascending out of the earth.  And he said to her, What is his appearance? And she said, An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he bowed down with his face to the ground and prostrated himself.  And Samuel said to Saul, Why have you disturbed me to bring me up?”  1st Samuel 28:13-15a


This battle envelopes all of those who are truly Saved, especially those who are actively participating in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), in some form or another, serving Jesus Christ, as an active solider in this war that is raging, one that a Believer can see the effects of, but not be privy to what is happening behind the scenes, as God has intended it. 


Yet rarely do most professing Christians speak of these things.  Their lives for the average bench warmer attendee at some sort of church, under various denominational names, seems to be absent of this battle and the effects that cause a Believer to seek comfort in the Lord (Psalms 23:4), as they wait on Him (Psalms 27:14) to provide relief and aid, according to His will (1 John 5:14)


The reason being is that not all who call themselves Christian are Christians (Romans 9:6).  Satan does not have to spend very much effort on those who are not truly Saved, those who may have professed belief in Jesus, as the demons also do (James 2:19), but have not truly repented and by faith believed unto Salvation (Romans 10:10-17; Acts 17:30-31).  They are not yet inheriting eternal life, so while the devil will try to ensure that they don’t, even stealing and truly biblical messages that a pastor preaches out of their hearts (Luke 8:12), there is no reason for the enemy to use additional resources on one who is truly on its side.  They remain prisoners, unknown to them, of a tactic where they are told and believe they are going to Heaven, that they are truly a Christian, yet there was no contrition of heart (Psalms 51:17), no true belief, simply oftentimes just an apostate church, a cult or some sort of repeat-after-me prayer that will turn out to be worthless at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), where they find their name not written in the Book of Life. 


During times of war, those who are captured by the enemy side are placed into POW camps.  They are prisoners of the enemy.   Yet what the far vast majority of people around the world fail to recognize is that they are sinners, already captured by enemy.


There have been many dramatic movies made of a group of elite soldiers setting free those who have been imprisoned during war and are deep in enemy territory.  We have an elite soldier, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross for our sins, one who holds the keys (Revelation 1:18), one who can set your free and release you from prison.


“For Jehovah shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.  He shall turn toward the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer.  This shall be written for the following generation, that a people yet to be created may praise YAH.  For He has looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from Heaven Jehovah has looked upon the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to set free the children of death, to declare the name of Jehovah in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples and kingdoms are gathered together to serve Jehovah.”  Psalms 102:16-22


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free with deliverance those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”  Luke 4:18-19


“Then Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you continue to abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.  They answered Him, We are Abraham’s seed, and have been in slavery to no one at any time. How can You say, You will be made free?  Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Everyone practicing sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not remain in the house forever, but the son remains forever.  Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall truly be free.”  John 8:31-36


The battle doesn’t stop there, but it continues, yet we must press forward, we must push on as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3), doing His good bidding, spreading the Gospel, becoming holy, as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16), separating ourselves from the things of the world (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), the weapons of the enemy. 


If you are without Christ as your Savior, you are captured, your soul is imprisoned and your eternal prison, hell, awaits, one that far exceeds the worst punishment that the world can place on an individual.  For the world can only focus on the body, but God is the carer of the soul.


“And when He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Mark 8:34-37


“And do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who has power to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”  Matthew 10:28


Our focus, those who are truly Saved, is to continue on, pressing forward, even when it is very difficult, knowing that we have an eternal rest through Jesus Christ. 


“There remains therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.  For he who has entered into His rest has himself also rested from his works as God did from His.  Let us therefore be diligent to enter into that rest, that no one fall according to the same example of disobedience.”  Hebrews 4:9-11


If our focus is not on the world or the things of the world (1 John 2:15), but rather to serve God with all of our heart (Mark 12:30) then the things of this world will grow ever so more dim and the glorious rewards that await us, the riches found in Christ (Philippians 4:19), will become our focus more and more. 


For there are many around us who seem to not have troubles, who already appear to be at rest, enjoying their lives, working towards retirement.  The problem is that we are all in these bodies of corruption, even if one manages to have what appears to be a life at ease, there are no guarantees of health when they expect to enjoy those fruits of their labor.  Rather even if they do enjoy them, as they intended, they still have the same common problem of every man, from the woman trying to climb the hill, to the billionaire in their mansion:


“For that which happens to the sons of men also happens to beasts, even one thing happens to them. As this one dies, so that one dies; yea, they all have one breath; so that a man has no advantage over a beast; for all is vanity.”  Ecclesiastes 3:19


What those who have been set free by Jesus Christ, those who are inheriting Salvation (Hebrews 1:14) do not have in common with the lost is the eventual eternal rest of the Saved.  For those whose names are written in the Book of Life will enter the joy of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will enter into eternal judgment. 


“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.”  Revelation 20:15