Friday, March 16, 2012

The Sabbath

Therefore you are to observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.  Exodus 31:14

The author of Hebrews brings us full circle, linking salvation back to creation:
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. – Hebrews 4:9-10

This is why the consequences for breaking the Sabbath in ancient Israel were so severe. The Sabbath-rest of the Old Covenant was intended to be a picture, a foreshadowing, of the spiritual rest we now have in Christ. And so work was absolutely prohibited on the seventh day of every week, upon pain of death. Why the seemingly extreme punishment for someone who just wanted to be a little more productive? Because it was essential to stress the fact that salvation is entirely by grace, that there is nothing whatsoever of our works involved. It cannot be earned, it can only be received as a gift by those who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. And when we observe a day of rest, we are acknowledging the basic fact that everything we have – our salvation, our forgiveness of sins, and eternal life – all of those things come to us from God as a gift. Listen to the words of Christ:

Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ’The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’ – John 6:28-29

That’s all. Just believe. That’s the only so-called "work" we have to do, or indeed can do, to be saved.
Do you value times of rest? Do you plan for them, schedule them, and protect them? Do you plan for regular times alone with the Lord? Parents, do you ensure that your children have times of rest, times when there are no demands on them from school work or sports? Do you plan time away with your family, time when you can be together without distractions from work and school? And most importantly, are you resting in Christ? Have you given up all attempts to earn God’s love and acceptance, and have you come to trust in Christ alone for salvation?

One of the greatest gifts God has given us is permission to rest in Him.  It is sad that we seldom take Him up on it until we are worn to a frazzle.  Of course, then if feels even better - like a soothing balm to a gaping wound.  Don’t wait until you hit rock bottom.  Take time to rest now and enjoy the sweetness of the moment.  Teach your children to rest and teach them the benefit of being still and knowing that He is God. 

Scripture to Claim:
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. – Isaiah 30:15 

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