15 November 2006

Place of Rest, III

So what exactly is rest and how we live and teach from it? I don’t think Andrew was referring to physical rest (although a nap sounds great!). I think he’s referring more to peace. So that brings us to the question: what is peace? Let’s start with what it’s not. Rest on the outside with turmoil on the inside is no peace at all. Peace is not an entity unto itself, but rather fruit of the gospel at work in our lives.
“[T]rue peace is far more than the absence of active conflict. At the same time, peace is not permanent, unbroken relational serenity. It is not a destination at which we can arrive. ... Biblical peace is ... a lifelong focus, a process, a journey, a heart attitude, a matter of regular and careful attention. In its progressive, ongoing nature, peace is a lot like sanctification, to which it is inextricably bound.”
Love That Lasts, pp. 106-107
As I learn to apply the gospel to all of life, remembering that I am a vile sinner and God’s grace expressed in Christ through his death for me on the cross, my heart begins to change. This transformation frees me from focusing on myself and liberates me to think of others first. Others’ small sins against me are put into their proper place when I weigh them against the enormity of my own sin against God.

When I get upset, angry, or hurt, that points to a log in my eye, which must be dealt with before I try to tackle the speck in my husband’s or children’s eyes. This is an obvious reminder to me to stop and pray, asking the Lord to show me the sin at work in me, before I lose my temper with another.

Becoming more aware of my own sin doesn’t sound like it should lead to peace. But the bigger my view of my sin becomes, the bigger my view of the cross becomes. God’s grace is bigger than my sin, so this awareness shouldn’t lead to condemnation - there is, after all, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

This is completely contrary to the feel-good, self-esteem teaching so prevalent today, not just in the world, but in the church, too. How can this lead to peace? It sounds like utter foolishness. Ah, ha! It is foolishness and it’s this kind of foolishness that God uses to humble the wise ones in the world and to show his power.

Once we have a more accurate view of our own sin, we can see the cross more clearly and accurately. As we apply the gospel to all of life, we begin to know peace. And we must always remember that Christ is our peace (Eph. 2:14). Knowing him and his glorious good news of our salvation better, will bring us greater levels of peace and rest in him.

And, no, I haven’t arrived yet. As the Ricuccis said above - peace is a process and a journey, intimately tied to sanctification. I won’t arrive until I stand before the Lord face-to-face, but what a day that will be!

No comments:

Post a Comment