RESTING in the SUFFICIENCY of CHRIST
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(It Is Well with My Soul by Horatio G. Spafford)
RESTING in the SUFFICIENCY of CHRIST for your SALVATION
The transforming impact of the Christian life begins with the discovery that Christ's death is sufficient for eternal salvation over sin and death. The following verses of Scripture remain foundational to a true Christian belief system which allows one to once and for all put to rest all efforts and attempts to earn salvation.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8ESV)
He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
No one can earn what Christ accomplished as our substitute on the cross. Oh what relief is ours once we surrender the futile hope of trusting our efforts to achieve eternal life and finally embracing the work of Christ that is more than sufficient to satisfy the debt of our sins. Have you experienced such relief? An absence of this relief may be an indication that you are still trying to earn salvation rather than enjoying rest from laboring for eternal life. If you are that person, I would suggest that you ask yourself if you have truly come to that point in your life where you fully put your trust in Christ. Salvation is not a wage to be earned but a gift to be received (Romans 6:23).
It is also possible that you have received the gift of salvation but are suffering from a lingering sense of guilt due to a previous religious belief system that drilled into you that salvation was earned by obeying a set of laws or rules (Galatians 2:16). There is a third possibility; you may be experiencing a lack of relief because you have not celebrated the work of Christ in your life. Just as ancient Israel was given the Sabbath as a weekly celebration commemorating the end of captivity and hard labor in Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15), so all believers are to enter Sabbath-rest because they have ceased working for salvation and now trust the work of God (Hebrews 4:9-10). In other words, times of rest are assigned as times of celebration rather than the end of earning deliverance and salvation.
RESTING in the SUFFICIENCY of CHRIST for your SATISFACTION
"Our Hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee, O God." (Augustine)
We don't have to wait until heaven to experience the sufficiency of Christ. His sufficiency is not limited to our heavenly hope. He is able to satisfy the most common or complex cravings stimulated by ancient or modern cultures. God in Christ remains the answer to the restless soul's searching for satisfaction, security, success and significance. After wrestling with these issues in their own lives, the following individuals found lasting satisfaction in God/Christ on earth.
Moses, the Man of God
(Psalm 90:1, 14)
Asaph, the Psalmist
David, the Shepherd King
Paul, the Apostle
(2 Corinthians 9:8)
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
It is noteworthy that Paul said "I have learned" contentment. I must admit that after many lessons on contentment, I am still leaning to resolve my restless syndromes by returning to the reality of sufficiency in Christ. Please join me by marinating your heart, soul and mind in the passages listed above.
"In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us—that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything and for whom God is enough. That is the root of peace. We have that peace when the gracious God is all we seek. When we start seeking something besides Him, we lose it."
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
(Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2005), p. 46.