What does it mean to rest? Now, I’m not talking about “taking a breather” or napping in the afternoon or even sleeping in on the weekends. But, what does true rest look like?
I just noticed the first paragraph looks like the beginning of an infomercial about mattresses, haha. That’s not the point of this post….mattresses I mean. : )
You see, as an American, work is prized as being the measure of a man. If a man doesn’t work, what worth does he have? I actually met an older gentlemen a few months back that wanted to be shot after he had outlived his usefulness…..morbid?…you betcha!
And in the American Christian Culture we perceive the same standards apply. You don’t deliver something morally or spiritually at an expected time and way and you won’t get blessed, go to heaven or live “abundant life”.
I mean, if that’s the best you can do, Jesus ain’t coming for you.
Now, I certainly understand and fully believe in and embrace the doctrine of God’s complete holiness. GOD IS HOLY. There is none more holy than He. He is the measure and standard of good. However, if God really expected us to live up to His holiness by working out our own salvation through keeping laws and reforming ourselves, Jesus would have NEVER had to die. Imagine, the Son of God descending to our level, living as a human being and dieing the most excruciating deaths imaginable. Why would God do such a thing? Wasn’t there another way!?
You see, just like the Israelites needed a savior, a God, a redeemer to free them from the bondage of Egypt, we needed The Savior to break the slavery of sin and the consequences of it. Since only God is truly good and since only He is truly holy, only God could free us from our selfish rebellion against His perfect goodness. But we also needed a man that could relate to us and bear our burdens and sickness. Therefore, “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14).” The God-man, Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, bore our sin on His cross that day so many years ago. He made the only way to be reconciled to our Heavenly Father because only He had the right and the ability to do so. It IS the greatest story ever told.
God offers us His rest which is to trust in Christ. The Lord showed us His undeserved favor (grace) when He died for us while we were still utterly rebellious toward Him and consumed with ourselves (Romans 5:8).
But, it brings me back to the question, what does it mean to rest? I submit it means to stop working and completely relax in full confidence it is OK to do so. To receive eternal life is to know God and to know Christ (John 17:3). To enter into God’s rest (full assurance that He has accomplished all the necessary work for our redemption) is what Christianity is about at it’s core.
Grace truly is magnificent. Selah
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11