About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
While being raised in Evangelical Christianity in the 1950's we rested
on our version of the Sabbath just as we thought God rested on His
Sabbath. Sunday was all about
two church meetings, and for us children, a yawning afternoon of quietness
while mom and dad slept. We
read about God resting in Genesis 2:2 and 3.
seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh
day he rested from all his work.
Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he
rested from all the work of creating that he
"rested" as seen above is translated from the Hebrew word
"shabath." To the
best of our understanding shabath meant to sit down, cease, stop, or
something similar. From a
linguistic and ancient near-eastern cultural perspective God's first day
of rest was not a day where He did nothing.
It was a day He ceased, or rested, from His creative activity in
order to engage Himself in His creation.
The word "engage" implies doing something.
Hebrews 4:1 speaks
of a New Testament rest.
since the promise of entering his rest still
stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short
addresses a New Testament rest which it contrasts to the rest God provided
the Jews of old in the promised land of Canaan.
There, the Jews were expected, not to take life easy, but to engage
themselves alongside God in the process of building a nation that would
represent Him to the nations. Hebrews
4 goes on to compare this New Testament rest to God resting on His
Sabbath, the day He began to implement His plans for creation.
The rest available for us today is our blessed state of salvation
where we are expected to be engaged alongside Jesus in implementing His
will on earth. The Apostle
Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:8 through 10.
"For it is by
grace you have been saved, through faith ó and this is not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God ó not
by works, so that no one can boast. For
we are Godís handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do."
Be assured, we can
do nothing to enter our blessed state of salvation but to trust, or rest,
in what Jesus has already done. Also
be assured that this does not mean we are Christian couch-potatoes.
From a state of resting in God's finished work and ability given to
us we do the work as required.
God's first day of
rest was when He began to implement His will on earth.
God's intent for humans in regard to rest at creation was for them
to be engaged alongside Him in that which He had created.
God's intent for the Jews of old in regard to rest was for them to
be engaged alongside Him in building a nation that would represent Him to
the nations. God's intent for
us as new creations in Christ in regard to rest is for us to be engaged
alongside Jesus in building His Kingdom among the kingdoms of men.
We are not saved so
we can yawn our way into heaven. We
are saved so we can be engaged alongside Jesus and those to whom He has
joined us in the kingdom building activities to which we are called.