Believe and Enter God's Rest
Did you succeed in earning your salvation today? Were you, through performance of the law, able to become righteous? How about you on the bicycle, with the tracks in one hand and a Greek and Hebrew dictionary in the other. Were you good enough today? I suspect not, for the book of Romans makes it pretty clear that no one is righteous.
Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one
Now, may I ask, are you tired? Are you worn out from your attempt to become righteous? Do you need rest from your labor? If you are working to gain something from God, to get his attention, or to prove your righteousness to yourself, other men, or to God. Please stop before you decide to give up on this whole God thing altogether.
There Is A Better Way!
I love the Roadrunner cartoons on the Bugs Bunny show. No matter what kind of brilliant plan he comes up with, poor Coyote never seemed to be able catch that roadrunner. One of my favorites is the one with the giant bow that is supposed to shoot Mr. Coyote as fast as an arrow. His plan looked good on paper, but alas, something went wrong. As always, he falls short of his goal.
Like Wile E. Coyote Super Genius, anytime we use our own righteousness as a means to earn our salvation, we too, will miss the mark every time. Amen?
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
As If Jesus Hadn't Died
For most of us, this is a forgone conclusion. However, there are those who say to me, “I get it, my works don’t save me”. Yet despite their understanding, they continue to offer God their good works as payment for their sin. Out of guilt, they attempt to supplement the blood of Christ by being super Christians. These are the folks who have taken a good look at themselves. They know their sin and the wickedness of their heart and have a hard time believing that they are saved simply because they believe on Jesus. Their unbelief keeps them laboring away as if Christ had never died.
Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
This is understandable, their own conscience condemns them. They see their propensity toward sin and how often they fall short. As a result, they begin to question their salvation and once again, they turn to their works to prove they are saved.
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Philippians 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.
Grapes from the Promise land
Hebrews 3:16-19 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
It’s like those Israelites who came to the Promise Land all excited until they realized there were giants in the land that had to be conquered. Like the Promised Land, when we come to Christ, we too have giants in our lives that must be conquered. Simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, does not immediately remove all our sinful habits and carnal desires. A battle must be waged. Many new believers are like the children of Israel, they have a faith problem. Rather than remaining confident that Jesus has completely saved them, they continue to look to their own abilities. They don’t believe what Jesus did on the cross is enough. Like the Jews standing at the gates of the Promise Land, their unbelief keeps them from entering the rest that is found in Christ Jesus.
When we use our good works or acts of obedience to supplement the blood of Christ, our faith is less on Christ and more on our ability to be obedient. It is impossible to be good enough or obedient enough, our conscience will never be appeased for the law can not be fulfilled by Humanity's will to be good. All attempts will fall short, breeding condemnation, stealing the joy in serving God. It is my prayer that we all will enter God's rest by grasping the reality that through faith and by God's grace, we are in Christ. That is, we are righteous because Christ Jesus is Righteous. He fulfilled all of the law for us.
Fear of the physical blinded them to the reality of the spiritual
Sadly, the Children of Israel simply did not believe God could save them from those terrible giants. Despite all that God had done for them along the way, they allowed their fear of the physical, those giants in the land, to blind them to the reality of the spiritual, which is the fact that God could and would save them. Their disbelief became rebellion as they allowed their fear to keep them from obeying God’s command. They refused to go and take the land. Their unbelief kept them from entering the Land of promise and kindled God’s wrath. Sadly they realized too late that there would be a consequence to their disobedience. They ended up laboring and working for another 40 years in the desert until everyone in that faithless generation had died with the exception of Joshua and Caleb
I find it interesting that the Israelite’s unbelief was considered disobedience. For us living today God has ordained only one way to be saved. Those who reject Christ, or continue to put their faith in the flesh after they come to Christ, are in fact, walking in disobedience to God’s Word and they too will never enter God’s rest.
Psalm 95:8-11 Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,As in the day of trial in the wilderness,When your fathers tested Me;They tried Me,though they saw My work.For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
Psalms 95 7-11, Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 are all a warnings against unbelief. They make it clear that placing your faith in anything other than Christ Jesus is comparable to rebellion and will force you to labor all the more keeping you from an assurance of salvation, that resting place for your soul.
Rest For Your Weary Souls
There are several denominations out there that believe that their works play a role in their salvation. They do not believe that faith in Jesus alone will save them. Catholicism, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormonism and Jehovah witnesses all are works based faiths that will not be entering God’s rest. If you are a part of one of these or some other works oriented faith, Let this be a warning to you. People who use their obedience to scripture as a means of payment, or for impressing God, will only impress themselves. These faiths produce legalistic, self righteous, critical and Judgmental people. You will literally wear yourself, and those around you, out. If you wish to find rest, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
Romans 3: 21-26 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Place your faith firmly on the Lord Jesus for He is enough to save you. Enter His rest and stop trying to earn your righteousness. Yes, there are those giants that must be conquered; there is still a battle to be fought. Don’t allow your fear of the physical, to blind you to the reality of the spiritual. Fear not! Go and take the land as God has instructed. You can rest assured that while you are fighting your salvation is secure and that God himself is fighting for you. Amen?
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
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