The Christian life from beginning to end is to be a life of faith and dependence on God and His grace provisions for us in Christ. The fallen world we live in and the flesh undermines dependence on God making us think we are sufficient of ourselves. The flesh is that indwelling spiritual principle, inclination, or force in all of us to operate out of our own provisions independent of God to meet our needs. The flesh is the opposite of trust in God and it is a spirit of independence and faith in self. Christians are not only saved by faith but are to live by faith. Our faith allows us to depend on the power of God’s indwelling Spirit and our new nature to live in this fallen world (Galatians 5:17).
Real faith is a rest where you are not struggling, frustrated, or anxious, but trusting in the finished work of God for man (which is His grace). The Christian’s rest comes out of the concepts of the Sabbath rest introduced in the OT but keeping in mind that it was only a shadow of good things to come. The reality would come with Jesus.
It is resting in faith based on a finished work like God’s Creation Rest (God ceased from His work Genesis 2:2,3), an advance provision made (rest on the seventh day because the Lord gave the bread of two days on the sixth day Exodus 16:23-30), and a defeated enemy (Joshua 21:43-45) all made available due to Jesus’ work in redemption.
It is not the potential of a Sabbath day of rest, but a Sabbath life of rest. In the Sabbath under law, man was to cease from his own work for one day in seven. In the Sabbath under grace, the Believer is to cease from his own work, constantly, as he wholly yields to Jesus’ finished work in redemption every day Ephesians 1:7. He is to rest in the advance provision of God who has already blessed us in advance with all spiritual blessings in Christ Ephesians 1:3. He is to rest because our enemy has been defeated Colossians 2:15.
The Sabbath rest under grace is a life that is delivered from all works of the flesh, self-effort, struggle, striving, and free from every dependence on the flesh. No burden was allowed to be borne on the Sabbath day under the law. Under grace, every burden is to be cast on the Lord every day, producing a burden-free life. The Sabbath of the law was a day of “rest for self.” The Sabbath of grace is a life of “rest from self.” It is a life lived to the praise and glory of another, which is Jesus and the work He did. This potential rest is not entered into by being passive and it is not automatic as we can see from the following exhortations and warnings:
- God’s grace must be entered into (Hebrews 4:9, 10).
- God’s grace can be frustrated (Galatians 2:21).
- We can come short of God’s grace (Hebrews 4:1).
- We can fall from or fail God’s grace (Hebrews 12:15 and Galatians 5:4).
- We must labor to enter into this rest (Hebrews 4:11; labor – Grk. “spoudazo” to make effort, give diligence, study; translated “study” in 2 Timothy 2:15).