Christ is Superior to Joshua. 4:1-16
In Christ only we find rest for our souls.
In the Old Testament God has promised rest for His people Israel. God rested from his work on the seventh day. . It is pictured in the Sabbath God instituted for Israel. The author testified that those who have believed in Christ have entered into this rest. Ultimately it was fulfilled in the person of Christ (Matthew 11:28, 29). This rest is the joy and satisfaction of completed work. But when Adam sinned we lost the rest God promised. So a second creation and Adam became necessary. Through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, God made it possible to find rest for our soul. By creation, God established physical rest. By redemption God established spiritual rest. The children of Israel were set free from Egypt through the blood of the Passover Lamb (Ex 12). They were the saved from judgment but came short of God’s best because of unbelief. They did not enter the rest God Promised.
Do not fail to enter His Rest. 4:1-11.
In chapter 4, the author exhorts the readers to consider the experience of Israel. He warns that they should not fall short of God's best for their lives. God is not satisfied with saving them from judgment only. He wants them to find satisfaction and joy in their salvation. They are His workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). The good news was preached to both the children of Israel and Hebrew Christians. But it did not profit them because of unbelief (Heb 4:2). Joshua did not give them rest. David wrote that this rest is still available (Psalm 95:8). We can find this rest not in a place but in the person of Jesus Christ (Matt 11:28). This rest speaks of our blessed fellowship with God. We enter in to this rest when we trust Christ. It is the not the positional rest. This rest speaks of our present spiritual blessings in Christ. We also experience this rest when we live in obedience to Christ (Matt 11:28-30). One day we will enter into eternal rest in heaven (Rev 22-2-5). Now this promise is available to all who believe Christ. Believers should be careful not to miss out God's best for their lives. Many people hear the Gospel, but are not profited because of unbelief. So today if you hear the Gospel, do not harden your hearts (4:7). Warning signs are placed for safety. Israel failed to enter into their rest because of their unbelief. Likewise Christians can miss out the spiritual blessings in Christ. It is the perfect and eternal rest because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. This is a warning passage and it does not teach that believers can lose their salvation. So the writer exhorts believers to be diligent to enter into the rest Christ has promised (Hebrew 4:11).
God’s Word is sharper than two-edged sword. 4:12-13.
The writer explains the importance of word of God and it's power. God uses His word to revel the unbelief and disobedience of our hearts. He uses his living Word to search our hearts and to show us the thoughts and intentions that are displeasing to him. It has the power to transform our lives and root out our unbelief. Only the Word of God has the power to convict us of our sins. God knows the secrets of our hearts and His word reveals them (Psalm 139:7-12; Heb 4:12). Nothing is hidden from God. This is the God to whom we must give account one day (4:13). The Word of God endures forever. It cuts deep in order to root out unbelief in the heart. How important to study the Bible and obey it. That is how we enter into God's rest.
Christ is our Great High Priest. 4:14-16.
The author exhorts the readers to consider the Christ. He is our Great High Priest because He has passed through the heavens into the very presence of God and lives forever (4:14). Every year the Old Testament high priest passed through the veil into the most Holy Place to make atonement for the sins of Israel (Leviticus 16). After sprinkling the atoning blood on the mercy seat, he had to leave that place immediately. But Jesus Christ made one sacrifice and entered heaven once for all (9:28). His sacrifice on the cross was the fulfillment of all Old Testament sacrifices. At that time the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. Christ is the High Priest and believers are priests (1 Pet 2:9). Our Great High Priest is Jesus, the Son of God (4:14). He is human and divine. He entered heaven in His humanity and divinity. In His humanity, Christ was tempted in all areas of life, yet He did not sin. He knew no sin (2 Cor 5:21). He committed no sin (1 Pet 2:22). There was no sin in Him (1 John 3:5). Christ understands our infirmities. Therefore the author exhorts us to come boldly to the throne of grace in times of our needs. Christ is able to sympathize with us because He suffered and tempted like us. His throne is not a throne of judgment but the throne of grace. Christ has become for us "the throne of grace". There we can find grace and mercy in times of need. We are in need of His mercy and forgiveness because we all stumble in many ways (James 3: 2). We also need grace to face temptations and trials in this life (2 Cor 12:9). He is able and willing to help us in our distress. We can approach this merciful High Priest to find grace to help in time of need. What a great consolation and encouragement that, we have a Great High Priest, who can help us in all our needs!