Christ Our All (1935)

by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 8 - "My Peace I Give Unto You"

"...Ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matt. 11:29-30.
"...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..." John 16:33.
"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 Christ.

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 Blood.

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!

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