The rest that remains, therefore, is the earth renewed and Eden restored. The works were finished from the foundation of the world. That is, as soon as the earth was created, it was man's rest. Man was given work to do, but it was not wearisome work. A strictly literal rendering of Gen. 2:15 would be, that God caused man to rest in the garden which He had planted. He gave man rest in the earth that was ready for his enjoyment. The proof of this is found in the words, “And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.”
Then the Sabbath was given to man as a sign that he was to rest to all eternity with the Lord. That is, he was to enjoy spiritual rest,—perfect freedom from all sin.
During the six days God had been speaking the words that brought the earth to its perfect condition. Then He rested. He ceased speaking, and His word, which liveth and abideth forever, continued to uphold that which was created. So God rested upon His word. He could rest from the work of creation in perfect confidence that His word would uphold the universe. So when we keep the Sabbath of the Lord, we simply take the rest that comes from settling down upon the promises of God.
Thus it is that “we which have believed do enter into rest.” And he that hath entered into rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Before men fully accept the simple word of the Lord, everything is from self. The works of the flesh are only sin; and even though men profess to serve God, and have earnest desires to do right, their own works to that end are failures. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). But when we realize the power of the word of God, and know that it is able to build up those who trust it, then we cease our own works, and allow God to work in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Then all our works are wrought in Him, and they are right. This is indeed rest. The rest that comes when we realize that salvation does not come from ourselves, but from the word which made the heavens and the earth, and which upholds them, is the rest which the Sabbath brings to us when it is kept as the Lord designs.
E. J. Waggoner