Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, 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. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:1-7
The one thing that keeps people from turning toward is a heart harden towards God. Maybe they had a bad experience in a church or more likely they had a bad experience with a well meaning or not so well meaning Christian. Now they may claim that they reject God based on rational ground and a well throughout philosophy but even when faced with evidence for God they refuse to believe.
Not much has changed over the centuries. The Israelites hardened their hearts against God on many occasions not just during the exodus. In today’s verses the writer of Hebrews is caution the Jewish Christians not to harden their hearts to this new revelation from God. That all we need to be reconciled to God is Christ Jesus. No one need turn to the old ways and the old religion.
Our relationship with God does not rest on a religion or a church or a specific building. It rests on Christ alone. He did all that was necessary to bring us back to God. When Jesus said it is finished, He meant it. We do not need scripture on our forehead or circumcision or going to a building one day a week. If religion was the answer then the Pharisees and Sadducees, Levites and priests would have not been rebuked by Jesus. They knew the Jewish scriptures and traditions better than anyone. But they were so wrapped up in traditions and their own interpretation of God’s Word they missed the greatest event in history.
Jesus wants us to gather together in His name but He also wants a one on one relationship with each of us. We follow a personal God a God who wants to hear from us directly. We do not need a priest or pastor or elder or anyone else as a go between. Jesus is our direct link to God, God with us. We each need to work on our own relationship with God and then we can help others find theirs. But, we need to take a lesson from the medical profession, first do no harm.
I believe many more would come to God is we didn’t get in the way and mess things up. It is not our job to remind others of their sins. That job is God’s. We definitely do not need to be in the judgment business. Once again that is God’s job. We need to be in the helping business. Helping each other find the path to God.
Have a blessed day,