A family friend of ours is dying of cancer, and she is a lifelong Roman Catholic. Will she “Rest in Peace” if she dies trusting in the Roman Catholic teachings?
Near to where I live, each July thousands of people stream into Palmyra, New York to see the Hill Cumorah pageant put on by the Mormon church. The festival goers are being drawn into the promise of eternal godhood – the possession of a planet and the peace of the celestial kingdom. Will these fine people find their rest in the doctrines of the prophet Joseph Smith and his scriptures?
Recently my wife and I had a married couple of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to our house for a discussion about the Bible.
They smilingly shared with us of how Jehovah God is creating a paradise earth for all who will obey him and keep fellowship with their religion only. Will these sincere people eternally harvest corn, fruit, and soybeans on the new earth?
I’ve known scads of professing evangelicals who are relying on their own sincerity and obedience to God in hoping they can pull it off – hoping they might be good enough Christians (stay away from bad movies, respect your elders, and don’t drink alcohol) to please God and be found faithful on the last day…
And another example of people seeking rest, the new atheists have appropriated Christian morality while rejecting any form of higher authority who gave it to them. They evangelize about as fervently as the JWs and Mormons, yet they hope to rest in the soil of the earth from which they believe they spontaneously sprang, never to be conscious again. Will they rot in peace, feeding mother universe with their corpses?
Instinct to Find Rest
All of these people and more are seeking the rest that is only available in the perfect work of Jesus Christ. The form of rest they imagine is distorted, yes, but the goal is similar: make it through this life a good person, and enter into the rest at the end…
Yet sadly, there is no rest for those who will not take the Sabbath that God has provided.
There will be no joining with the saints for those who have trusted the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church; there is no godhood awaiting the earnest Mormon churchgoer; those colorful fields of grain on the Watchtower tracts are vain dreams; the moralistic evangelical hoping to offer his obedience as righteous before a holy God will find himself holding up dirty diapers; and the atheist will be devastated to be resurrected from the grave only to be cast into eternal, conscious torment.
And all of this because we sinfully refuse the Sabbath rest provided in the true Jesus Christ.
And what is that Sabbath rest?
A group of people asked Jesus “what shall we do that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28). In other words, how do we get in good with the big guy upstairs?
Jesus’ answer is all too simple: “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).
-Believe in who Jesus is, and what He has done according to the Scriptures-
That is the Sabbath of God. That is the justifying righteousness that Roman Catholicism tries to augment with strenuous efforts. That is the slate-cleansing perfection that Mormonism tries to “complete” with the blood and sweat of its people. That is the glorious grace of free forgiveness that the Jehovah’s Witness never knows they can have by grace alone through faith alone. That is the simplicity that many nominal evangelicals cannot trust, and the supernatural sovereign authority of the God that atheists deny by the breath He has given them to breathe.
Why are we so set on making our own nest, perched in mid-air over the pit of hell when just a few feet away the branches of the kingdom of God beckon us by the blood of Jesus Christ, shed by love and given by grace to those who simply believe in Him?
What does Jesus say?
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)
Come to Him, all who are wrapped up in false Sabbath hope. Jesus Himself is the great fulfillment of the types and shadows of a day of the week set aside to rest – He is the eternal life we all long for, He is the forgiveness of sins to all who repent/turn away from their previous works of sin, self, and false Sabbath rest.
He is the pure love of God, given for sinners, the one who paid the penalty of human sin, and the destiny of all who believe in Him as their Sabbath rest.
Please join me in following Him. Turn from your sins and place your trust in who He is and what He has done to reconcile you to God. Send me a private message to discuss further, if you wish…
Thanks for reading,