I know its been a while since my last blog, so I figured it would be ok if I sent this out early this week. I hope everyone had a great Labor Day and enjoyed some down time with friends and family. It is important to take the time to recharge and relax, and as I thought more about this today I was reminded of Jesus’s words on this topic.

  • Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

We often interpret these encouraging words to mean that we find rest in Christ – that in the midst of our trials and tribulations, He is there to lighten the load for us. But His words point to a desire to remove more than just a physical burden. At the heart of Jesus’s words is His central purpose: to take the burden of our sin upon Himself. It was His desire to die for us from before time began. The Bible says that He was slain from the foundation of the world, and that while we were still sinners He died for us.
In this passage Christ was telling His followers that they would no longer be burdened with striving to earn salvation and righteousness. Today, Christ is calling out, encouraging those who may have been working fruitlessly for years to make up for time lost away from Him. So often, we hear the words explaining God’s grace, but we still work to earn the favor they represent. We look at our own past, our own sin, and believe we must be punished. Whether we’ll admit it or not, these actions say that we believe Christ’s sacrifice was not enough.
We cannot continue living this way. Working to earn salvation will only lead to spiritual burnout frustration. God’s grace is free. There is nothing we can do to earn it. There is nothing beyond its reach. There is no reason for us to spurn it in the hopes of earning God’s favor based on merit. Scripture is abundantly clear; there is no hope based on our own pitiful works. No matter how good they may seem to us, they are filth in the eyes of Holy God.

  • Isaiah 64:6: All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.
  • Romans 3:10: There is no one righteous, not even one.

These words set the playing field. They let us know where we stand in and of our own strength. But thanks be to God that we don’t have to stand that way in front of Him. Jesus came so that we don’t have to stand alone. He came to plead our case and point to the scars on His hands, feet, back, and side and proclaim that our debt has been paid.

  • Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • Romans 3:23-24: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

This grace colored Paul’s writings throughout scripture, and if anyone understood the concept of grace it was him. Paul was confronted by Jesus Himself while on his way to persecute Christians. And in that interaction Christ called him for the purpose of sharing the gospel. Paul knew more than the theory of grace, He knew what it meant to have that grace applied to his life.
This grace emboldened Paul to unashamedly proclaim the truth of the one who saved him. And this is what we must do as well. We must be heralds for Christ, proclaiming the truth about what God has done for all of us. He saved us from eternal punishment in hell, but also from a life of empty and fruitless striving to earn God’s favor. Rather, we stand knowing the magnitude of God’s love and we must “in view of God’s mercy, offer our lives as a living sacrifice to God” (Rom 12:1).
So, who do you see everyday that needs to know who Jesus is? What can you do…what WILL you do to introduce them?

In His Service,
John McRae