Tag Archives: gospel

The Burden of the Gospel

“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 WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  – Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus calls all those who are tired and burdened – perhaps by the law, the teaching of the religious establishment of His day –  to Himself to take on a different burden, one that He gives in gentleness and humility, one that is light and easy to carry, one that gives rest to the soul. Perhaps the burden of the gospel, salvation by grace and not works.

The way He teaches us to follow is not without cost. In fact it is costs everything, but it is a burden easy to carry. Under the Law, we carry the load, but under the gospel, we trust God to carry it.

Jesus brought the gospel, the New Covenant, to us gently and humbly, not arrogantly as the teachers of the law did. God did not reveal the truth to the “wise” or “intelligent,” those who thought they knew already. He revealed the truth to “infants” who knew they did not know and had no choice but to rely on Him (v. 25). He reveals Himself to whom He chooses.

Are we so arrogant as to think we already know? Have we become like the teachers of the Law? We must be like the infant, completely dependent on Him – that is His burden, the yoke He offers. It gives rest to the soul because the soul depends on Him entirely.

We must must receive it gently and humbly just as Jesus gives it. Let us never think of ourselves as wise or intelligent but be as the infant with no capacity to care for ourselves.

Have you had the arrogance of the teachers of the Law? Do you trust Him completely?

Trust Jesus. Put down the burden of works, which is heavy and exhausting, and take up the burden of the gospel that is easy and light and gives rest to the soul.

Our works cannot – will not – make us right with Him. When we depend on our works, we aren’t trusting in Him for salvation, but ourselves. Do you think that He doesn’t accept you unless you do all the right things? The truth is that He accepts you when you come to Him knowing that you can’t do all the right things.

We need to be humble. We need to admit that we can’t take care of ourselves and stop trying to. We need to trust Him, to put down the burden of caring for ourselves and take up the easy yoke of the gospel.

God please take away our arrogance, our self-sufficiency, our self-centeredness. Give us the humility, even the wisdom, to know that we can’t take care of ourselves. Only You can. Help us to trust You, to trust Your gospel.

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Deeper Change

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 10:37-39

The one who loves even that which is most precious – father, mother, son, or daughter – more than one loves Christ, one who loves even one’s own life more than one loves Christ is not worthy of Christ. You will certainly lose your life, but if you lose it for Christ’s sake, you will find true life.

God expects everything from us. He expects us love Him with everything we are. Anything less than this is as though we do not love Him at all. No one and nothing is worthy of greater love than He is. He should be the most important thing in our lives – more significant to us than our very lives.

If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we love many people, many things more than we love Christ. We have not taken up our crosses.

We have to submit all of ourselves to Him – every relationship, every possession, every desire, every thought, every breath. Otherwise, we’re not worthy of Him.

He calls me to love Him with everything, and He is worthy of everything.

We think that we’re okay living a life of mediocre faith, but until we have taken up our crosses and followed Him – walked with Him regardless of the risk – we’re not worthy of Him. We must become like Him, and that should be enough for us (v. 25).

We are not capable of this. We need great grace: His grace.

Many of us, even those of us who have believed for most of our lives, have never been like this, never come close. We want to be, but, oh God, there must be deep change in us. Deeper change than we may even be aware of.

 

Freed from the Darkness

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
– Luke 1:68

Bless the Lord! Praise Him because He has come to us and redeemed us, saved us.

God saves. He is merciful. He forgives sins. He guides us into the way of peace. God is faithful to keep his promises. Salvation in Christ comes from God and is the fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham. He, and He only, accomplishes salvation.

We need salvation. We need His mercy and faithfulness and forgiveness. We need His guidance. Before salvation, we sat “in darkness and the shadow of death (v. 79).” Now, He is guiding us on the way of peace.

We should praise Him. Bless Him. He has accomplished salvation. He has kept His promise to Israel and the nations through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

We, His people, are no longer in darkness, under the oppression of death, because He has been faithful to save us by grace through faith in Christ.

We often do not trust in His faithfulness. We often still live like we’re in darkness. We do not give Him the praise and blessing due Him.

We live in darkness though we have been freed from it by God’s faithfulness, mercy, grace, forgiveness. We need Him to guide us away from the darkness, the oppression of sin and death.

It is by His grace we are forgiven – our sin, our old nature is crucified with Him – and it is by His grace that we are raised with Him new creatures, in His image, free from darkness and the shadow of death.

God, You have already faithfully, mercifully done the work required to free us from darkness and the shadow of death. We don’t want to sit in it anymore. Please change us so that we “might serve [You] without fear, in holiness and righteousness before [You] all [our] days (v. 74-75).”

Weakness Is My Strength

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭9-10‬ (NASB)

God’s grace is all we need. Let’s glory in our weakness, be content in it, even when we suffer or face persecution. When we know we’re weak, when we stop pretending to be strong, we can rely on His strength to truly make us strong.

God’s power is best displayed in us when we’re weak, when we’re humbled. When we admit our weakness, His strength takes over.

His grace provides everything we need.

Pride keeps us from truly experiencing the power of God. So, embrace weakness. Acknowledge it. Be content in it. Boast in it.

That’s when God’s power dwells in us.

The Word of Christ

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

(Romans‬ ‭10‬:‭17‬ (NASB)

He gives faith. He gives the word that creates faith. Faith comes from truly hearing (heeding) the Gospel, and the hearing itself comes from Christ.

God is ultimately in control of our hearing and heeding the Gospel. Therefore, He is the source of our faith and salvation.

We owe everything to God. I really don’t control anything.

If we truly hear the Gospel, God will give us faith.

We need God to give me even the most fundamental of spiritual things, even the ability to hear Him.

When we truly accept this truth, we become dependent on God for everything. We have real faith.

Real Love

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

‭1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭14-18‬ NASB

Love for our brothers and sisters is the evidence of our salvation. Hate for a brother or sister is evidence against it. Christ showed us what love is when He died for us. In light of that, how can we go without helping brothers and sisters in need and still say that we love God?

We can’t.

Love in word only is not love. True love is evidenced by deeds.

If we hate a brother, it’s clear that we don’t love God, and we don’t have eternal life. If we close our hearts against a brother in need when we can help, the love of God is not in us.

To hate a brother or sister is a sin. But so is not loving one.

Christ gave us the supreme example of love – He died for us. Love is no less than this. Let His example be the one we follow.

He loves us and gave us the greatest example of love when He died for us.

We need God’s supernatural love in us to give. We’re really not capable on our own. Only by His grace can we have the capacity for real love.

He Will

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

‭Hebrews‬ ‭4‬:‭14-16‬ NASB

Our high priest, our mediator, is Jesus, the Son of God. He’s been through all our temptations. He knows, understands, sympathizes with our weaknesses. This means we can trust Him to give us mercy and grace when we need them. So, don’t be afraid to ask, but ask with confidence, knowing He will provide.

Jesus knows our temptations, but He didn’t give in. Because of this and because of who He is, we can trust Him to give us mercy and grace.

When we’re tempted – and we will be – we need His mercy and grace. We can confidently approach Him, though He rules over all, and ask for mercy and grace when we need them. Believe that you can approach Him confidently when you’re in the middle of temptation. He knows your weakness already.
We can trust Him. He WILL do this.