The concept of grace is so foreign to the legalistic mind that sometimes it is difficult to comprehend Him. That wasn’t a misplaced word at the end of the previous sentence. Yes, grace is a Him. Grace is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not a force, a special favor, some “it” that is working for you while you slip into passivity. No, grace is much more personal then that. Grace is Jesus and Jesus is Grace. The Gospel of Jesus is the grace of God.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
When Acts 20:42 is run parallel to Galatians 1:6 it is crystal clear that the Gospel is grace and grace is the Gospel (the message of who Jesus is and what He has done).
The Gospel invitation is amazing - "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
“For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:10-11).
Labour to enter rest? The call of Christ to enter rest is one of religions greatest contradictions. Rest is a foreign concept these days. Our smart phones, laptops and tablets were designed to work for us but they have enslaved us to work. We live in a society were people can no longer go to the washroom without their cell phone let alone take a real vacation.
The legalistic mind will sometimes try rest without a personal revelation of grace. What you end up with is a temporary form of spiritual passivity that has nothing to do with grace or the finished workings of Christ. This shallow interpretation of grace is like a good book; it will end soon. Unless the music is on the inside of you all you have are grace lyrics with no rhythm. A new concept with no ties to the person of grace. The old country song, “Jesus take the wheel” is not grace.
Grace is not giving up the driver seat and slipping into the back. Thats spiritual passivity. Grace is Christ and when you know this you will rest in Him and trust Him to express His life through you. Grace is Jesus living His live in you. It’s not that I take my hand off the wheel, but rather Jesus is driving the car through me. My colleague in ministry once said, “If Wayne Gretzky were to live in you would you try and improve your hockey game or let ‘The Great One’ play his game through you?”
To rest in Christ is to trust Him to express His life through you. Again, don’t mistakenly think of grace as some sort of passivity. Resting in Christ simply means trusting Him to be our Life-Source, depending upon Him to empower our actions with His strength and direction.
-Pastor Shawn Annis