Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Most agree this is a beautiful invitation to salvation. This is the “first rest.” But then Jesus continues, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29-30). Christ moves beyond initial salvation to the Christian walk. The word “yoke,” used twice, does not refer to salvation, but discipleship, in keeping with the word “learn.” A disciple is a learner. When you yoke up with Christ’s will in simple faith, He enables you by imparting His own strength to you, and so carries the weight making His yoke “easy” and “light.” This is the “second rest.” Or is it?
In the first phrase “I will give you rest,” the word “rest” is in the verb. In the second phrase “ye shall find rest,” the word “rest” is the noun of the verb used earlier. Once you receive the rest Christ gives in salvation, you may “find” or access that rest for sanctification and service. Is this a “second rest”? Technically it is not, but practically it is. Technically, you are finding the rest you have already received. But practically, you are accessing a second phase of that rest. Referring to the unbelief of the children of Israel who refused to enter the promised land of rest, the Scripture plainly warns New testament believers, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb. 4:1). After further warning, the Scripture plainly states, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9). If a rest remains for God’s people, then at least practically speaking, there is a “second rest.” The Scripture makes this clear.
This brings up “second blessing” terminology, which is in many cases different. Second blessing theology sometimes speaks of receiving a once-for-all second blessing, which places you on a new stage spiritually never to fall back to the former stage. However, scripturally (and experientially), believers can alternate between two conditions of either walking after the flesh or walking after the Spirit. Second blessing theology often demands a second event. However, you were given the whole package at salvation and may access the whole blessing immediately (and some do). But many, often due to a lack of understanding, do not until later. Even then, it is not a second blessing, but a second, and a third, and a fourth, and so on. Second blessing theology sometimes teaches you are being given something you do not yet possess. But in reality, you are accessing your first blessing—Jesus. Yet, when you have not accessed the provision of the indwelling Christ for quite some time, when you do, it is like a second blessing, even though technically it is not.
The big point is we must access the supernatural provision for living. Is this a second blessing? No, depending on how you define the terms. Is this a second rest? Practically speaking, absolutely! Have you found that rest?
John Van Gelderen