3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
In verses 3 through 5 we have a description of God’s rest from the point of creation. God’s rest has been available from the foundation of the world, from creation. Therefore, God’s provision of rest is still in effect.
The word “for” justifies the need of faith within the Christian life. “For” is the grounds for verse 2.
we who have believed
The phrase “we who have believed” should be rendered “we who believed.” The reference here is not about Old Testament saints but for believers during the church age.
do enter [present tense] that rest,
The word “enter” in the present tense indicates that Christians today can enter God’s rest (Mt 11:28). This rest is still available and “still stands” for the believer (He 4:1). The entering of rest here is about rest of this life (present tense). The readers were in process of entering the rest by trusting God presently.
as [just as]
The quotation that follows corresponds to the previous quotation in Hebrews 3:11. This is another quotation from Psalm 95:7.
He has said:
God said that unbelief keeps people from claiming God’s rest. Faith is the obligatory qualification for entering God’s rest.
“So I swore in My wrath,
God’s wrath fell upon Israel because they would not believe that God could deliver them upon arriving in Canaan. Instead, they complained, murmured, and gave in to their fear of the people in Canaan.
‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ”
The Greek indicates that they would never enter God’s rest; it is a strong negation. God’s rest is the rest that He enjoys. It is possible that God’s people will not participate in sharing what He engages in.
“My rest” is God’s rest, which He personally enjoys. Rest is not idleness, for He still sustains and maintains creation (Jn 5:17; He 1:3). Rest means God ceased from creating the universe. He completed it all. Christians can enter that rest as well (He 4:10).
The word “although” concedes that “rest” was available to be entered because God’s work was completed.
the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
God finished His work at the foundation or creation of the world. That was long before Israel wandered in the wilderness. This last sentence is crucial to understanding Hebrews 3 and 4. The idea of “finished” is what God has done; it references His grace, His provision for the believer. Hebrews 4:10 also makes this point. The believer can “rest” because God has done the work. We appropriate His grace by faith.
God has done everything necessary for our life as Christians, and we can rest in that.
God expects Christians to enter His rest because He completed everything necessary to step into it. He has provided everything necessary to be effective in the Christian life.