Monday, November 15, 2010

His Rest Part 1

"God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:3).

God blessed and sanctified the sabbath because He rested from all His works on that day. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, declared that "the sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27). Thus, the blessing of the sabbath was God-centered in its substance and significance as Israel was called to remember the Lord's rest after having done the work of creation (Exodus 31:17). Man, however, was the beneficiary of the remembrance through both physical rest, and more importantly, spiritual worship and consideration.

This typifies the born again believer's view of God having rested upon completion of the work of salvation through His Son. "It is finished!" triumphantly proclaimed the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary (John 19:30). Our Heavenly Father requires nothing further to form the potential and substance of salvation because the Lord Jesus has died, risen, and ascended into the heavenlies. He is therefore able to "be just and the justifier of him that believeth" (Romans 3:26). All that remained after Christ's return to Heaven was to send forth the Holy Spirit and the church to bear witness of the free gift whereby the Lord Jesus "is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him" (Hebrews 7:25).

Upon this basis, human hearts are called to end the wicked and mad quest for self deification that began when our forefathers in Eden believed the devil's lie that "ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). God calls us into His own rest regarding the redemption of our souls. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:9-10). "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" furthermore declared the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:26). The work is done. God rests in perfect satisfaction that the atoning sacrifice, the glorious resurrection, and the victorious ascension of the Lord Jesus were more than enough to provide free salvation to all who join our Heavenly Father in ceasing from His own work of redemption by our ceasing from any notion that we can save ourselves.

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us" (Titus 3:5).

Many works will ensue from the saving grace of the Lord Jesus. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10). However, such expressions of Christ's character and nature expressed by us are fruit rather than root. We do not work for salvation, but from salvation as the Holy Spirit "worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Reversing the order results in spiritual deception and disaster, leading to the law of sin in our flesh being stimulated because we have veered from the truth of God's grace received by faith rather than merited by works (Romans 7:5-11; Ephesians 2:8). Indeed, the believer who does not consistently "work the works of God" is also the believer who does not rest with his Heavenly Father in affirmation and application of the finished work of Christ (John 6:28).

Our Heavenly Father is presently and eternally resting in the sabbath of His Son's completely satisfactory work of providing free salvation to all who sing with the hymnwriter: "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling!" We must join Him, both in the sense of the new birth, and in ongoing confidence that "the fruits of righteousness... are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11).

"The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

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