"For we who have believed do enter that rest,... For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His." (Heb 4:3, 10).
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;" (Phi 2:12).
I have discovered that the way of working in Christ is resting. The principles you find in Christ is very much different from that in the world. Yes, work is rest and inability to understand the connection between this two has caused us to misinterpret the bible. Many are finding it difficult to reconcile Paul's and James teaching about faith. You see, all over his letter Paul kept saying, "by faith and not by works". But James on the other hand teaches that faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Yeah, these two teachings may seem contradicting but they are in perfect harmony. Yes, faith is without works because faith is rest but at the same time faith is works.
To have faith means to rest (rely) in God; you quit relying on your efforts, you stop doing things by your own power and you just rest on God. You quit your works to rest but as you rest you would find yourself in another kind of work — this time, not your works but God working through you. This is similar to what Paul wrote in his latter to the Galatians;
"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." (Gal 2:20)
'It is not I living but Christ living through me', sounds the same as, 'It is not I working but God working through me'. All this while you have been living your life, doing things by yourself, relying on your sufficiency. But when you came into Christ you died; you can no longer live, you are dead to everything, dead to your works. Christians continue to fall into the assumption that we are only dead to sin, we do not realize the scope and the all-inclusiveness of the cross. The cross put everything to death — yes, it puts sin to death but it goes beyond that. When you died in Christ you died to everything; you died to your wisdom, you died to your skills, your sufficiency, your abilities, your talents, your way of doing things — yes, you died to your works, you died to everything about you.
You did not get saved from sin so that you can try not to sin anymore. That's not how it works, that's is an abridged version of Christianity, a very limited and incomplete Christianity. You got saved from your life so that you can start living His life. You got saved so that you can stop living, "no longer I who lives" that is the cry of a saved man. Salvation put an end to you; it puts an end to every of your works but the bad ones (sin) and the good ones. No matter how good your intentions may be, if you try to do anything by your own effort it is condemned in Christ. If you try to please God by your effort it is bad; if you try to be righteous by your effort it is bad; if you try to do the work of God by you effort it is bad; if you try to save the world by you effort it is bad; if you try to win a soul to Christ by your effort it is definitely bad. You were saved not to live but to die. It is only when you die that you can begin to learn to live by His life. What I'm saying is that your works must died in other for His works to begin.
The truth is that we are called to enjoy the rest (Sabbath) of God. We are called into a divine romance with divinity. We rest in order to allow Christ work through us. Man has failed, we are incapable of meeting God demands and we are not qualify to work for God. Therefore we are not to work, God doesn't want us to work, for our works are dirty and unholy. We are to rest, trust in Him completely and watch Him work through us.
Many a time, when God calls somebody and give them a ministry, they take that ministry from God's hands and continue to do it by their own sufficiency. They feel that God has given them a work and it is now left for them
Extracted from my upcoming book, "The Sabbath".
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