Time For Rest
Well claim the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) and wisdom (James 1:5) as we study these powerful promises.
For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Sometimes we feel as though we arent really willing for God to live His law of love in us. We arent sure we want to be completely changed, to have a totally new birth. Peace leaves us; we go through inner turmoil. We arent at rest. The powerful promise affirms that God Himself is willing to work in us, helping us to be in harmony with Him. His Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised us from the Father, pours love upon us until we do want to respond in love to Him, and we become willing. And when we will something, we really want it.
Another kind of will is known as a "last will and testament" which goes into effect after a persons death. The heirs then receive what the person really wanted them to have.
What did Jesus really want His heirs to have, and who are His heirs?
Jesus Expressed His Will
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, female) and heirs. Galatians 3:26-29
This powerful promise indicates that we are Gods heirs.
Now lets read what Gods Son, Jesus, asked for in prayer from His Father. What did He really want in Gethsemane the night before His death? What was His last will and testament?
My prayer is not for them alone, (referring to His followers who were there with Him). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (thats us) that all of them may be one that they be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. John 17:20-23
If that was Gods will, it is Gods promise!
Chosen To Be Holy And Blameless
This was the plan, and the promise, laid out before the creation of the world:
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:4,5
Even before the creation of the world God wanted us to be holy and blameless and part of His harmonious family.
To begin with, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit created man like Themselves:
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. " So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
That account is just like one of Gods powerful promises. When God says something, it is as though it was already done. He said, in effect, "Lets do it", and He did it!
In God's Image
What is Gods likeness, the image in which He made the first humans? There is no adequate human way to tell about God, but here is a partial description:
Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2, KJV
For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice. Psalm 11:7
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:29
None of the heathen could say their gods were holy, righteous, and good.
God wanted us to be like Him, so He made us "in His own image". He had prepared a way for man to become holy, righteous, and good as He was, but the serpent (the devil or Satan, see Revelation 12:9) has told mankind a series of lies from the very beginning.
Still, at the very time of Adam and Eves disgraceful fall, God gave them hope. In the presence of His distrustful human creatures, God spoke a powerful promise and a word of doom to Satan, who was camouflaged by the serpent.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15
God knew humanity needed help. Enmity (hatred) toward sin was established in the human race when Jesus came into the world as a human. Christ received a painful and humiliating, but temporary blow (like a strike at the heel) when He died on the cross. His death was also a tremendous victory for God and humanity that spelled Satans absolute doom (like the crushing of Satans head). Humanity could accept and rest in that promise.
During His life on this earth, Jesus developed the holy, righteous, and good character God wants us to have so we will be "in His image". He sent us His Spirit to help us understand, accept, and rest in what He had done for us already, and what He will give us as time goes on.
Something Very Special
God had given a very special promise long before Jesus came to this earth as a human.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27
What does that have to do with Gods image and being one with Him? The answer lies in determining the characteristics of Gods law that His Spirit would move us to keep.
So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Romans 7:12
This explains how Jesus keeps His promise to work in us by causing us to be willing to obey Him. He puts His loving Spirit in us and brings Gods law within (11Corinthians 3:3). Gods law is just like His character: holy, righteous, and good. In its effect on us, we see Gods original will realized. Jesus death on the cross made it possible for us to be one with Him. Through His loving Spirit in us, Gods image is reflected through His law.
As Gods Spirit comes into our lives, we experience a degree of the same love for His law that He has. We also have the powerful promise of something else:
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165
That is a promise! When we accept the gift of Gods Spirit, we can be at peace. We can rest in the knowledge that we are under the authority of the One who has saved us. We can know that Christs death was an adequate sacrifice for our salvation. We can rest assured that the work done by Him then, and ministered to us now, by His Spirit, is enough to see us through the kingdom. His will then is being done on earth, even as it is heaven!
He Finishes What He Starts
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
We can trust and rest in that promise. God wants us to be "in His image" and "one with Him"; to know that, as we choose to accept His death for us and His creative control now, He has already made the sacrifice needed. He will take care of anything in our lives necessary to prepare us for His Kingdom. We can enter into that kind of abiding relationship with Him that allows Him to call us part of His family, His heirs and His people.
Sealed Because Of Jesus
There remains, then a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for anyone who enters Gods rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9,10
As we choose to allow God to take the burden of our lives, to write His character in us by His loving law, well find rest and peace of mind. Heres a promise guaranteeing well find that rest:
This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16
Lets look at the ancient record a moment, at that very first gift of rest God gave the humans He created on the 6th day of creation week.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:1-3
We know God is holy. In Romans 7:12, He spoke of His ten-commandment law as holy. He has said we are to be holy and, when His Spirit lives in us, we are. In the preceding verse, we read that God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because he rested on that day in recognition of His creation of the world.
Gods character is in His law: holy, righteous, and good. Gods rest day is in the center of His law. (Exodus 20:8-11). God writes His law in us! In honoring the seventh day (Saturday), we recognize Him as our powerful God---the Creator of this world. In Sabbath worship of Him we have rest.
Time For Rest
Gods Spirit gives us this promised gift of rest. The purpose of observing His Sabbath isnt to make us "good enough to get to heaven". We worship God not only as Creator, but as our Redeemer who gives us rest from guilt and sin.
Some thirty years after Christs death and resurrection Gods seventh-day Sabbath was still the sign that man accepted His message of rest and loving power.
And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters Gods rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:3,4, 9-11
Gods seventh-day Sabbath can still be honored today when His Spirit places His law in our hearts. And remembers His law is called holy, righteous, and good!
God has a promise for us so we can have His power when were making "every effort to enter that rest". Heres what Jesus promised:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
It is Gods pleasure to lift our burdens. He wants us to enjoy being one with Him. He wants us to be peaceful and rested members of His family, leaning on Him for the solutions to our problems; remembering He, as Creator, has the power and overwhelming love, or He would never have come and died for us. His will and His promises make provision for our every need.
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this.
First He says:
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."
Then He adds:
"Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." Hebrews 10:10, 15-17
We can enter into Gods rest. We are His!
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