By: Noah Skillman, Resonate Ellensburg
Imagine waking up each morning and before you even lift a finger truly believing in the truth of the gospel: that you are forever forgiven, forever righteous in our Father’s eyes, forever saved. Imagine that freedom. The love and gratitude. The rest.
Well here’s some good news for you today: I’m telling you that you can rest in this truth. Every moment of every day.
Two summers ago I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which, for me, means I consistently battle obsessive and intrusive thought patterns. In my walk with the Father this has largely looked like fear-based and obsessive legalism taking root in my life. For example, there have been times where I have sat in my room and struggled to get each of my words right in prayer - repeating sentences in order to ensure my prayer is “satisfactory.” I have battled this burdening lifestyle for much of my life. However, in these past few years Jesus has led me to this abiding rest in His gospel that I am urging us to take part in. I have found so much freedom in claiming the gospel truth that Christ has given me an unconditional yes - that I have full assurance of salvation because of His work on the cross. Fear has no place in our lives.
This may seem like the simple gospel that we “all have heard before” but I would venture to say that many of us are walking around spiritually exhausted because we are running the race while (sometimes subconsciously) working for our own justification. In a recent sermon one of our pastors stated that one of the leading reasons for our need for rest is so that we can remember that our salvation is based on the finished work of Christ not our own works. Claiming the beautiful good news of the gospel is essential if we want to experience the abiding rest that Christ has designed for us. I want the draining lifestyle of earning God’s love to die in the body of Christ. I want our family to walk in freedom. And the beautiful truth is that Jesus Christ wants you to walk in this freedom as well. When He said “It is Finished,” He sent the burden of earning our own salvation to the grave.
In order to be people who effectively abide in Christ in a way that brings rest to our souls - we must remember the truths of the gospel.
In Ephesians 1 Paul expounds upon these truths and what they mean for us:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-9)
This passage reminds us of the essential truth of who we are in Christ because of His finished work on the cross:
We are holy and blameless in the eyes of God. (v 3-4)
We are chosen children of our Loving Father. (v 5-6)
We are entirely forgiven. (v 7-8)
1. We are holy and blameless. Christ has imputed his own righteousness upon us so that when God looks at you and I He sees perfect children. He no longer sees our sinful and broken selves. He sees us as holy and blameless because of His perfect son that has died in our place.
2. We are chosen sons and daughters of the Father. We have been adopted by Him through the power of the gospel - fully accepted and loved without contributing any of our own efforts. We are even shown in this passage that God’s motive in this is love. Our God is a loving Father that desires an intimate relationship with you and I. He has bridged the expansive gap of sin that laid between us and His perfect self in order that you and I can be his children.
3. We are forgiven of all of our sin past, present, and future. Shame and fear no longer have any place in our lives. Because of God’s abundant undeserving grace we have been completely cleansed by Christ’s blood. We are now as white as snow.
This is who you are right in this very moment, believer. This is who you are in every moment of every day. I believe that if we claim these truths daily we will experience an intimate abiding relationship with our savior.
Abiding rest leads to the utmost catalytic action.
If we believed these truths every day how would our joy be different? How would we interact with our sin and guilt differently? How would we pursue this broken world around us differently? Letting yourself rest in these truths of immense grace does not mean complacency but rather means powerful works motivated by love, gratitude, and security for what our Savior has done for us.
In “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart” JD Greear states that “Only the security of knowing God has accepted you can free you to seek God for his own sake. Apart from that assurance, you can fear God like a slave master, but you’ll never love Him like a Father. That’s what true obedience is - beyond merely adhering to a set of regulations; it is doing so because you deeply and truly love the One commanding you.” (Greear 17).
So again, right now imagine waking up each morning and before you even lift a finger truly believing in the truth of the gospel: that you are forever forgiven, forever righteous in our Father’s eyes, forever saved. Today, claim these truths for yourself. Rest in the freedom that Christ has won for us. And allow this freedom to compel your life to be a powerful force motivated by the utmost love for our Father.