Tim Keller (via graciouslysaved)
We need the Gospel daily.
I don’t know what made yesterday different from the usual, but I was intentionally going to the Word telling myself, “This is God’s Word, and it is living and active today.” So I was actually believing that whatever I was going to read today is what God is saying. Usually, my heart is like molasses when it comes to believing true things.
So anyways I read what was next in my Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 12. I saw Abraham being afraid of men killing him even though God had just told him that he would not die because he promised that his offspring would receive the land of Canaan.
Then was Matthew 11. I saw Jesus pronounce woes on cities that did not repent. Even though this was specifically directed to the cities that did not repent even when Jesus performed signs in them, it’s very clear that unrepentance is generally not a good thing regardless of the situation you’re in.
And then Jesus thanks the Father that repentance had been hidden from the wise and granted to the children. And called all people to himself to find rest because his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
Then was Nehemiah 1. The man was confessing sin. Saying things like “We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.” And he recalls a promise of hope to trust in and to base his request on.
And then Acts 11 ended with the Jews admitting that God truly must have granted the Gentiles repentance unto life.
I’m a Gentile. The hope of life is a reality for me. And I have acted very corruptly against God and have not kept his commandments. I’ve been irrationally ruled by the fear of man like Abraham was. I’ve been unrepentant and wise in my own eyes, and I more than likely have not been coming to Jesus to find rest if God planned that I read this passage.
It was just very clear from what God had me read that I had sinned against God, particularly through the fear of man, and it was irrational, and I needed to repent, and it wasn’t like I couldn’t repent, seeing God has actually granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles. And this was all quite effective in making me reconsider how I was living my life.
But what magnified it a lot was this Francis Chan sermon I watched shortly afterwards. He was giving a message to college students and one of the biggest things he advised the students to do was to work very hard to live biblically. He felt like his life in college most days took no faith at all. It took no faith for him to wake up and to go eat lunch with his friends and then go back to his Christian dorm and hear about the Bible in his classes.
He gave two practical, easily understandable examples of what he meant to live biblically. He talked about how he was reading Matthew 25 and about how Jesus is going to separate everyone into two groups of people: people who cared for the least of these and people who did not. And the people who did not would go out into eternal punishment. If we really believed that, we would not hesitate to care for the poor, visit the imprisoned, look after the sick, clothe the naked, etc. etc.
He also talked about how if we seriously believed in hell we would not be so hesitant to tell people about the Gospel or even to just love them. Of course it’s absolutely necessary for someone to hear the Gospel and to believe it in order to be saved, but we can’t even LOVE them! We can’t even serve them by driving hours or taking time out of our schedule to tutor them or bearing with their shortcomings or giving them what they need or even just washing the dishes. But if we seriously believed in hell and in the Gospel we would not only sacrifice all of our selfish desires for their sake but also explicitly share the Gospel with them.
So I was just rocked. It was crazy. I had to take like a 2 hour studying break to pray and confess and wrestle because honestly, the two emphases that Francis Chan mentioned (out of several more that also needed attention but were not mentioned due to time constraints) were the two things that I struggle with most deeply. I had to come to terms with the fact that I don’t love people. I don’t care for those in need. I don’t even want to treat them well. I don’t want to share the Gospel with the people around me. I don’t want to hand out tracts. I don’t want to be set apart.
And I really needed to go to God because seriously, I just loved my own comfort and acceptance and reputation too much. And I couldn’t even go on in Scripture because what I had just read was already HUGE and I need to apply it and stop being so selfish and unfaithful and look to Christ and believe that I’ve been loved with the greatest love, that a friend laid down his life for me and suffered the punishment that I rightly deserved so that I would be saved and adopted and sanctified from this very sin. The Gospel is what will give me faith because faith comes through hearing the word of Christ.
And I’m still working and wrestling and it’s a very painful process because I love my sin and my idols so much. But it’s something that has to be done because I’d rather suffer pain and discomfort right now than to be punished eternally and to see the people around me perish eternally because I was too afraid to talk to them about the Gospel.
So I also pray that you would consider these things and consider living by faith and whether the things you are doing now require any faith to do. Because considering how I’m living most of the time, I am not living my faith. I’m living by what makes me comfortable and happy, like going out to eat and hanging out, etc. But truly trusting in Christ (which is being a Christian) should make us live biblically.
I think there are at least two compelling and biblical reasons for why the Sabbath was not somehow cancelled out by the Gospel. I believe they’re biblical reasons why present-day believers in Christ are called to keep the Sabbath. I keep emphasizing the word biblical because the Bible is a Christian’s ultimate authority. If God says it to be true in the Bible, then it is undeniably true.
The first reason:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
(Genesis 2:1-3, ESV)
God made the seventh day holy because on that day he rested from his creative work. What Jesus accomplished did not undo the fact that God rested on the seventh day. The Gospel does not make God create more things on the seventh day. So the seventh day is still holy, and it is holy because God rested on that day.
The second reason:
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery…
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
(Exodus 20:1-2, 8-11 ESV)
The first reason is reiterated in verse 11 (the last two sentences). The second reason is found mainly in verses 1-2. God prefaces the ten commandments by reminding his people that he is the one who freed them from slavery in Egypt. Because of this good news, God commands his people to keep the Sabbath day holy by resting.
The story of God saving his people through Moses points to the greater salvation of his people which came through Jesus Christ. God reminds us that he is the one who freed us from slavery to sin. Because of this good news, God commands us to keep the seventh day holy by resting. What Jesus Christ did in the Gospel is a reason to keep the Sabbath, not a reason to ignore it.
So I pray that we would all keep the seventh day holy. Many times we do not because we do not work as hard as we ought to during the week. Many times I have not kept the Sabbath holy because I love my sleep too much to wake up at 5am the next morning to prepare for my exam. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ should move us to repentance! Christ’s love must control and compel us!
Plus, it’s just so great to have a day set apart for resting in Christ. Seriously… how could I survive without it…
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool."