Friday, September 20, 2013

"Rest Well, Work Well"

(Part 3)

   A final and vital aspect of our consideration regarding resting in the Lord Jesus Christ involves the inevitable consequences of such grace.

    "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works" (Titus 3:8).

    The Apostle Paul wrote this mandate because of the first century error known as Gnosticism.  Early in the church, this deception arose due to the Greek philosophical influence on born again believers who lived in the culture of their day.  Gnostics emphasized knowledge, often to the exclusion of a corresponding life and lifestyle.  These deceivers taught that so long as the believer possessed an inward spiritual and intellectual experience of Christ, it did not matter how he lived outwardly.  Moreover, they did not believe in the reality of matter.  Spirit alone was considered as "real," thus exacerbating the error of viewing mere knowledge as enough to suffice in relating to God.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and many believers were misled into a grievously damaged spiritual understanding and practice by the emptiness of "faith without works" (James 2:20).  The same error plagues our generation among professing believers, and we must be careful to strongly affirm both faith and its effect on our faithfulness to God's Word.

    Any supposed experience of  resting in Christ that does not lead to an increasingly consistent life of active faithfulness and obedience to God must be held suspect.   A trusting dependence on the Lord Jesus connects us, as it were, with the dynamic power source of godliness that dwells within us.  The Holy Spirit who bears witness to the all sufficiency of the Savior in freely justifying us also proclaims the same Savior's presence and power for the enabling of growing godliness.  As we suggested at the outset of this consideration, good rest leads to good works.  In fact, the truth of the matter is that if we are having difficulty regarding doing the will of God, we can be sure our deeper challenge involves our need to better know and trust the Lord Jesus.  "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

    The more we "grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," the more we will experience genuine motivation and enabling to do the will of God (II Peter 3:18).  We will not achieve perfection of attitude, word, and behavior in this lifetime.  We can, however, acquire an ever increasing knowledge of our Lord's perfection in providing an all sufficient salvation.  Thereby will we grow, both in faith, and its corresponding "works of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11).   Yes, if we rest well, we will work well.

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!"
(Romans 6:1-2)

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