I am so concerned about people who consider themselves Christians, but who have found themselves locked into salvation by works. They are found in all traditions but mainly in legalistic denominations, and cultic ones. Instead of resting in Christ, they are all bound up in traditions of “doing”. It is all about behaviour.
It’s about what you wear (or don’t wear)….jewellery, particular clothes, all about what you eat (or don’t eat). All about going to church one day in seven, and you must be careful to go on the right day. It’s all about what YOU do. Not what Christ has done.
There are two aspects here. It is not what we DO. It is about what Christ has done. And it is about what we ARE. We ARE sinners. We are born into a sinful world, and right from birth, we are sinners. We don’t have to do anything particularly bad, we ARE sinners. And here we are, rotten to the core in God’s eyes, and we think that what we DO is suddenly going to make us right with God.
Well no. Doesn’t work that way. We are sinners. Our works are as menstrual rags. We cannot change any of this, it is just the way it is. We’re stuck with this state of affairs…..except…….for what Christ has done.
God knew before He made Adam and Eve what would happen. He knew the world would descend into a mire of sin. But He loved us. We were the pinnacle of His creation. And He loved us so much He allowed His son to pay the price of sin for us. And He died an agonising, humiliating, torturous death, so we could receive His grace.
Grace is a treasured gift. It is not given so you can keep the ten commandments. It is God’s unmerited favour, so that we can have eternal life as His children, adopted heirs with Christ, His only begotten Son. By His grace Christ imputes us with HIS righteousness, so we can appear before God as righteous as Christ. We do not appear with Christ’s righteousness over the top of ours, masking our sins. Our sins have been forgiven, and removed far away, and forgotten by Him. We are cleaned by His blood and so can wear His robe of righteousness.
And we are seen as righteous. And we cannot earn this.
All because of what Christ did, that day on Calvary. Now there is no need for us to DO, only to BE. Christ has invited us in Matt 11: 28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We rest in Him, we do not have to DO, only BE. We who were sinners are now forgiven, and seen as righteous. He has taken our burdens onto Himself. We have rest for our souls. And while we are resting in Him, while our souls are resting Him, He is performing miracles in our lives. He makes us a new creation, and gives us a new heart, on which is written His law of Love and Liberty.
He does not write the words of an obsolete covenant, He writes the eternal yet always new Law: Love. It was love that created the world, it was love that saved us. It is love that now works through and in us, doing the works that He wants done. He wants us to love, as He loved us, as in His new commandment, and in so doing people see that we are His disciples. He is glorified. He cannot be glorified by our unrighteousness, our deeds of filth. But He is glorified when we are His Hands and Feet, when we carry out His will.
So now, because we rest in Him, we have our BEING in Him, He DOES through us. We have no need to DO our own works. He is DOING in us. He is DOING His will, not ours, while we REST in Him.
We who were sinners, are now forgiven. We cannot do this. Only He can DO so that we can go from BEING sinners to BEING righteous in God’s eyes. Jesus invites us all.
Come and see, come and see
Come and see the King of love
See the purple robe and crown of thorns he wears
Soldiers mock, rulers sneer
As he lifts the cruel cross
Lone and friendless now he climbs towards the hill
We worship at your feet
Where wrath and mercy meet
And a guilty world is washed
By love's pure stream
For us he was made sin
Oh, help me take it in
Deep wounds of love cry out 'Father, forgive'
I worship, I worship
The Lamb who was slain.
Come and weep, come and mourn
For your sin that pierced him there
So much deeper than the wounds of thorn and nail
All our pride, all our greed
All our fallenness and shame
And the Lord has laid the punishment on him
Man of heaven, born to earth
To restore us to your heaven
Here we bow in awe beneath
Your searching eyes
From your tears comes our joy
From your death our life shall spring
By your resurrection power we shall rise
Copyright © 1989 Make Way Music,