(originally posted 9/19/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
Rest from what?
Rest from sin.
How do we enter into rest from sin?
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:30)
What is our yoke and burden under Christ?
Faith and obedience.
–“…come after Me” = yoke of faith
–“…deny himself and take up his cross” = burden of obedience
Don’t be like me. Don’t waste so many years of your life being comfortable in your faith in Christ, only to find out that your faith means nothing if it isn’t paired with obedience. By Jesus’ OWN WORDS, He instructs us that our faith in Him as savior MUST be validated by our obedience. I am not preaching a new Gospel, I am trying to explain the one we have already been given.
We live in a time of hyper-grace and our Christian brothers and sisters are living lukewarm lives, wading up to their waists in the world, thinking as long as they don’t get their hair wet they are still good with God. Our garments are washed white by the blood of Christ when we put our faith in Him as Savior, but our garments are KEPT white by obedience when we surrender to Him DAILY as Lord of our lives.
Salvation happens in a moment– the washing of our spirit happens at the moment of accepting Christ as Savior. But our sanctification happens over a lifetime– the cleansing of our soul is done through our obedience to God’s word (James 1:21). We keep our spiritual garments clean when we pick up the cross of Christ and surrender our lives to His Lordship and His word, daily.
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” (James 2:17).
We are not saved by good deeds, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8). However, genuine faith and genuine salvation are evidenced by our actions of obedience. Jesus tells us, “If anyone would come after Me….” So, how do we “come after”, or pursue Christ? By faith. But then what does Christ tell us to do with that faith? “…deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” That’s an action of obedience.
Perhaps many have lost a true understanding of what salvation actually is. If someone hands you a parachute and you take it from them, it still won’t do you any good unless you put it on and wear it. So what exactly is salvation? Jesus tells us in His own words, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matt 16:24) According to Jesus, true salvation is to pursue Him by faith, then follow Him in obedience.
Now is the time for all believers to decide whether to continue following their own version of God, or Who God has revealed Himself to be in His written Word to us.