“…But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed…”
– Hebrews 10:39
Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
The land was indeed promised to the children of Israel, and God always spoke of it as being their inheritance; but the children had to actually enter into His rest that they might tread upon its soil and so truly inherit the things therein.
They were promised that no man would stand before them – but only if they moved in obedience after HE who went before them to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies, who would not otherwise have feared them. What they hoped for in the promise needed to become substance; and that which was yet unseen had to be known in essence. And this is only possible by faith: that heavenly currency which the hearers of the Word find is all they truly have when they see that every other means is worthless in God’s kingdom.
And by faith we have need to enter into His rest even while here on earth; for it is the place of resting from our own labors and from striving in the flesh, walking obediently instead in the fruitful labors of the very Spirit of God. For whatever we are found obeying, to that we are truly enslaved (Rom 6). Many suppose that because they have been promised something, they have therefore already entered into its substance – but didn’t Jesus say to us, “to whom much is given, much more will be required”? And since He has provided ALL that is needed for life and Godliness, what excuse will anyone have who does not obey the upward call, empowered by the Spirit who gives the power for His righteousness to be revealed in them? “He became sin who knew no sin that we might BECOME the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” So where is the becoming? Or where is the obedience of faith, in which is discovered the Holy Spirit’s unction unto this becoming? That which we do not enter into now, we will not enter into at His return; and that which we have not begun to inherit now, we will not inherit more of in the coming kingdom.
For we have become partakers of Christ, if truly we hold the beginning of the assurance firm to the end; as in the saying, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation.” For hearing, some provoked Him, but not all those coming out of Egypt through Moses. But with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with the ones sinning (present tense), whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did “He swear” “they would not enter into His rest,” except to those not obeying? And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.
To obey the conviction and words of the Spirit is to submit to the will and power of He who gives more grace, by which we may abide in Him. It was to no avail for the previous generation that they had escaped Egypt, since they were still afterward destroyed for their hard hearts of unbelief in disobeying His voice (Jude 1:5).
So if the children will become grown sons, then they must continue to walk in submission to the same Spirit which bare them: not only by whom they can know all truth and delight in the law of the Lord which He has written upon their hearts; but also by whose power the righteous requirement of that law might be fulfilled in them! (Romans 7-8)
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
In the keeping of His word we see at work the power of God unto salvation. But many will say, “I have already known this power of God, because I have been saved and forgiven.” That is very well; but from what and to what are you saved, and are you even now being kept by the power of God? Is there any sin which still entangles, or hindrance that still weighs? God would have you free! For Paul speaks of the gospel of Christ not only as that which you once received; but also as that in which you ought now to be standing and by which you are continually to be “being saved” (1 Cor 15:1-2). The writer of Hebrews speaks of Jesus our intercessor as desiring and being able to save us to the uttermost!
This is the language of inheriting the reward of what has been promised, even by the power of the One who promised it.
Peter wrote that we are saved
“TO an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
And have these final fruits of this salvation yet been revealed? Certainly not! But that for which we hope, we wait for with patience – yet not as ones falling asleep and missing the appearing of the bridegroom; but rather as those having kept their lamps full of Oil, having walked obediently by His divine power through faith. For the gospel is not merely a declaration over us, but is actually in substance the very power of God unto the inheritance of this full salvation to them that believe! And to believe is always a continuing thing which produces the fruit of faith unto God.
We have not been reconciled to linger in inactivity regarding that which is promised, falling short of the command for which He empowers obedience – that is truly to deny God’s grace through faithlessness! We have been called to go and inherit that which has been entrusted to us – which is absolutely possible through the Spirit whom He gives to those that obey Him (Acts 5:38)!
To enter into the “rest” of God is to enter into the labors of that Spirit of life, having crossed over from the wilderness land which is dominated by the law of sin and death because of the weakness of the flesh. And as speaking to this crossing over into rest and inheritance, the account of Joshua was only a type and shadow; but through Christ Jesus we have the truest form by the power of the Holy Spirit to enter into the and inherit the kingdom of God.
The true gospel of Christ is the very power of God by which His righteousness may be revealed in those who live from faith to faith. This means that there are always greater depths of faith yet to be walked in for further progression into His land of promise: which He indeed expects of us, and for which He will enable us if we are faithful in that with which we have already been entrusted. He WILL perform it if we will walk in the part which He has given us. He who promised is faithful! As He said, “so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
“This is the work of God, that you believe…”
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
“Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!”
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”