Rest In Grace
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world”
1 John 2:1‑2 (NIV UK)
Jesus was once asked why his disciples weren’t fasting like the Pharisees and the disciples of John. You can read the story in Mark chapter 2.
Jesus answered that for his disciples to fast while he was still with them would have been like pouring new wine into old wineskins—it wouldn’t have made sense. New wine required new skins.
Today, it’s still easy to try to pour the new wine of the gospel into the old wineskins of the law.
It seems that grace makes us uncomfortable. We prefer to have some tangible way of measuring where we stand with God.
The gospel tells us simply to trust God, that he loves us and has forgiven all our sins for the sake of Christ. That’s pretty simple, but we often want something more tangible than that.
So we fall back on the law. If we work hard to keep the commandments, it might help us feel better about our relationship with God. But if we are relying on our own works of righteousness, we are leaning on a broken cane. We need the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote in Romans 3:20-24: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Good behaviour, of course, righteous living, is the way we naturally desire to live when we have fellowship with God. When you love Jesus, you want to be like him. It’s nonsense to say that since God loves me and has already forgiven me for the sake of Christ, I can therefore live a sinful life.
When we trust in Christ, we don’t want to live a sinful life.
If we believe God means what he says, then we can rely on him to forgive us, clean us, and work in us through his Spirit to become more like Jesus.
In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Faith gives us rest. It transforms godly living from a duty or a chore to a joy – to a way of taking part in the spiritual contentment and inner peace that God wants us to have with him in Christ.
Only God can provide that, and it’s worth infinitely more than physical riches.
I can sure use a good rest. I’ll bet you can too.
Help me, Father, not to trust in my own forms of righteousness but to rely on Christ to cleanse me and work in me through the Spirit.
Study by Joseph Tkach