Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Grace or Death"

      "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death" (Exodus 31:15).

    The severe stricture and consequence regarding the Jews' sabbath day foreshadowed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, wherein we discover the vital link between rest and relationship with God.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).
He that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:10).

    Many works characterize and confirm a genuine experience of God.  None, however, comprise the heart and essence of this Life of our lives.  We come to Him by grace, we remain with Him through grace, and we labor for Him with grace.  "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works... As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him... I labored more abundantly than them all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 2:6; I Corinthians 15:10). 

    As in Israel of old, "death" ensues when we work on the sabbath, as it were.  That is, when we fail to remember and affirm that "
through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved," we "die" in the sense of being able to rightly relate to God during the duration of our deception (Acts 15:10).  Every moment of both time and eternity involves a freely given gift, purchased by the highest cost ever remitted, namely the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross.  Certainly, we will labor much as the result of such grace revealed in our hearts and lives.  Never, however, must we mistake our works as the root of grace.  Christ's labor rather provides such freely given life and relationship with God.

    The sabbath rest of Israel presaged the sabbath rest the Lord Jesus is to all who trust in Him.  Through Him, we enter into freely given experience of God.  Through Him, the experience abides, accompanied by "the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11).  Only when we allow ourselves to be distracted from grace does our Heavenly Father chasten us with the "death" of inability to know the wonder of life in the Christ whose gift of salvation and relationship with God can only be experienced as we remember that it is, in fact, a gift.

"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift."
(II Corinthians 9:15)

Weekly Memory Verse

   Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.
(Psalm 25:5)

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