"...Ye shall find rest unto your souls."
"...The truth shall make you free... If therefore the Son shall make you
free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:32,36.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you." John 14:27.
"These things have I spoken unto you that in me ye may have peace..."
"Peace be unto you." John 20:19,21,26.
These passages give us the key to another
feature of the resources of Jesus Christ, namely, a secret rest and liberty. The
life of our Lord Jesus was marked by a peacefulness of spirit and a real rest of
heart. There is no doubt about that, although there was a great deal in His life
to make it otherwise. Often He was in storms, but very rarely the storms were in
Him. The demands upon Him were great. There was much to be done. But He was
never overwhelmed by it, never distressed. He went through it all in peace and
rest of heart. Someone remarked quite rightly that it is never recorded in
Scripture that the Lord Jesus ever ran. He was never caught by shortness of
time. His whole life was marked by rest and peace within.
If we study this matter we see that the Lord
Jesus enjoyed that rest and peace in three realms. In these three realms He was
different to all men.
Firstly in the realm of personal sin He
had perfect rest. He was never distressed by the matter of personal sin. His
peace was never disturbed by sin within. There was no sin in Him. He was often
pressed to take a wrong course. But He never yielded to the temptation. And
because He was capable of suffering, He was tempted to spare Himself. That
temptation came one day through Peter - an attempt to turn Him aside from the
path of the Cross - when His disciple said to Him: "Be it far from thee,
Lord; this shall never be unto thee!" Because He was capable of suffering He
could be tempted by the enemy. It was a temptation from outside. But it could
not disturb His inward peace because He was abandoned to His Father's will. His
loyalty to the Father frustrated the temptations. The secret of His peace was
His union with the Father.
Then there was the realm of His own being
and nature. Christ was a united personality. His soul was a united soul, His
mind was one mind. There were no double reasonings in Him in conflict with each
other. There was no conflict between His own reason and that of His Father. His
heart too, was undivided. He did not have two sets of desires in war with each
other. Again, His will was one and steadfast. There was no conflict between His
will and the will of the Father.
All the temptations He went through were to
provoke Him to get away from His Father; to have desires, reasonings, volition
which were not altogether of His Father. But such an attitude was out of
question for Him. There was no deviation in the least degree from His Father's
will. Behind it all was a perfect faith in His Father and His faithfulness. When
He suffered, it was according to the will of God, and not because He was in
conflict with His own will. Suffering marked Him, but never distracted Him.
There was no strain, no inward controversy with God in His life. He was
perfectly restful and harmonious - a united personality.
Much of the lack of peace in our lives comes
from our lack of unity. We are in conflict with our own reasoning, our desires,
our will. We are torn in two directions, disturbed because of things at war in
us. So often we are like two persons fighting each other, in a state of unrest.
The same occurs in our relationship with God. Our thoughts and desires are in
conflict with God's thoughts and desires. How utterly different in the case of
the Lord Jesus! He knew the meaning of an inward peace.
The third realm in which the Lord Jesus enjoyed
perfect rest and liberty was the realm of legal obligations. The law with
its 'thou shalt' and 'thou shalt not', and the countless things to be done and
not to be done, all the regulations and observations of the Mosaic law to the
Jewish people, was a great burden. To offend on one point of it was to be guilty
of all. Then there was the interpretation and application of the law by the
Scribes and Pharisees, to whom the Lord Jesus said: "Yea, ye bind heavy
burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders."
In that realm the Lord Jesus was perfectly at
rest. He was never in bondage to the law. He lived in the accomplishment of the
law with such assurance and certainty like none other. Why was the law given?
For what purpose? It was for one purpose only: it was intended to secure God's
place and God's rights. Now, the main point of the law was against idolatry.
Idolatry is very comprehensive. It is the line along which the devil seeks to
get his ends to rob God of His place. Covetousness is idolatry, that is, wanting
things for oneself. Irreverence is idolatry; the worship is taken from God.
Lust, the gratification of the flesh, is taking God's place. There are many
forms of idolatry. If you look at those 'thou shalt' and 'thou shalt not', you
will see that every one of them has to do with idolatry. It is taking God's
place and rights.
Now God had His perfect place and His rights in
the Lord Jesus. He did not need the law because He perfectly fulfilled the law
in spirit. He was liberated from the law of works by a higher law. His heart was
perfectly at rest in the matter of legal obligations. In Him the law was
established in its deepest meaning. God's place and rights were fully secured in
In the letter to the Hebrews we read much of
rest. It is the rest in Christ. His rest has to be our rest. I am not going
to try to tell you that we must be sinlessly perfect, or that we can never sin
again. But we must recognise that the sin-question has to be dealt with first.
All our sins are put away in Christ. Jesus Christ has delivered us once and for
all from sin. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in
Christ Jesus". No condemnation! Why? Because Christ Himself has dealt
abidingly with the sin-question of the past, the present and the future. All
that which separated us from God because of sin is forgiven, and we are placed
by faith into a position of complete justification before God. Even when we sin
again there is forgiveness which abides. Our redemption is an eternal
redemption, for it is written: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and
righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness",
and "the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us (keeps on cleansing) from all sin".
It is now a matter of our union with Him. If we abide in that union with Christ
we need not be under condemnation for five minutes. If, when we have failed, we
recognise and confess our sins, they will be forgiven us. So the ground of
inward peace and liberty is in Christ. We are delivered through Christ, and in
Him. We have to take the word in Romans 8 seriously. We have to stand on it full
of joy: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ
Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the
law of sin and of death." That is a condition resulting from a
position. "IN CHRIST" there is liberty, there is no condemnation. Just as
Christ abode in the Father and had perfect peace as to sin, so we - abiding in
Christ - can have perfect peace. It is not the peace from sin extricated from
us, but the peace resulting from the continuation of the cleansing virtue of the
But how do we get experimentally over our
divided nature into such a oneness, such a rest, such a peace? The way is just
this: as the Lord Jesus gains the upper hand in our hearts, we become more and
more one with Him. As we more and more surrender to Him, all the conflict of
mind, heart and will ceases. Christ's attitude was absolute abandonment to the
Father. He was holding back nothing, ready to do all His will. There was no
conflict about it. His whole being was one with the Father. As we let go the
self-life, letting Christ get the mastery in us, He brings to an end all the
inward conflict. A heart wholly the Lord's is a heart at rest, a heart conformed
to the image of Christ. The Lord said: "Take my yoke upon you", that is,
"Be perfectly one with Me." A yoke makes two beings into one. That is why it was
forbidden in the Old Testament to use an unequal yoke, to put an ass and an ox
under one yoke, for these two were entirely different beings. The yoke would
tear and hurt them. But we are allowed to be under one yoke with the Lord
Jesus. The yoke speaks of oneness, fellowship, being governed by one will. Thus
we find rest unto our souls.
Then as to the peace in the realm of the law,
the question concerning the keeping of the sabbath did not trouble the Lord
Jesus in the least. God had His perfect place and rights in Him, although the
rulers of the people brought the law continually against Him. Every day and
every hour of His life belonged to His God, to His Father. He completely
fulfilled the law in Spirit. The Pharisees demanded the keeping of the outward
form, the letter, and in doing so they sinned against the Spirit of the Sabbath.
There are many Christians who are under the law and therefore in bondage. The
way out of this bondage is Christ. You never need worry about the Sabbath day if
Christ is LORD in your hearts. The law was given to secure God's place and
rights for Him. If Christ is Lord in our lives we do that. Every day is a
Sabbath day for those whose Lord is Christ! If we are living in the true
spiritual meaning of the law we need not worry about the outward form, the
letter. We may be wrong as to the letter, and yet be right before God. What
matters is the spiritual meaning - the Life - our union with God, allowing Him
to work in us. Christ violated the Sabbath according to the letter, but no one
in the whole universe fulfilled the law so perfectly as He did. He said: "Ye
shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Christ is the
truth, and transcends the mere letter. If Christ is dwelling in us we can live
in His rest and peace. Thus sin shall have no power over us. We need not worry
about ourselves; we need not be afraid to fall short in our daily life.
Christ is our peace. Christ is our rest. Rest
and liberty always mean strength. If we are without rest we are without
effectiveness. Christ is our sufficiency, for all our resources are in Him.
May the Lord lead us into His own peace!