History of Redemption: Blog Post 30
(Jesus said) I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no ones comes to the Father but through Me. 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. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. (He said) I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. - John 14:6 NASB; Matthew 11:28-30 NASB; Isaiah 55:2 NASB; John 10:10 NASB; 1 John 5:12 ESV.
The first verse above from John 14 is a kick in the face to our culture today. I suspect it was a kick in the face to the culture of Jesus’s day as well. It is absolutely shocking that Jesus would say that NO ONE gets to the Father but through Him. Make no mistake about it, this claims absolute exclusivity as the only path to heaven, which is where God dwells in the fullness of His glory. Why do we need Jesus to get to the Father? Why can’t He just “let us in”. I believe the reason we need Jesus to get to the Father lies in the fact that God is holy, and we are not. I think we have a very deficient understanding of God’s holiness. I admit that I have a very deficient understanding of God’s holiness. But I know that whatever it is, when confronted by it, in my earthly flesh, I will be utterly demolished. God’s holiness is so pure and so perfect, so unstained by sin, that nothing unholy can enter into His presence. And so, Jesus Christ came to clothe us in His holiness, by taking on our sin, and imputing to us His righteousness, and so now we who receive this gift (and it is a gift, unmerited and undeserved) get to stand before a holy God, because we have been made holy by the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. This is why we need Jesus. Without Him, we cannot stand before a holy God.
The call to accept this gift does not come with a list of rules, which we must meticulously follow to gain or to keep His acceptance, as many might think. It is made clear throughout scripture that “no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12). And so, we are free to enjoy the good graces which God has lavished upon us. The call to follow Jesus is not a call to a life of denial and toil, but it is a call to a life filled with delight, and rest, and abundance! How prone I am to forget this. How quick I am to think that if I labor harder for the church, I will “impress” Him. How many weeks do I neglect to Sabbath, believing that if I don’t finish off my to-do list, the whole world will crumble around me? God has not called me to a life of performance, but to a life of rejoicing, and delight, that I may have life and have it abundantly, and that I may rest in the finished work of His Son upon the cross.
John Piper coined the phrase “Christian Hedonism”, which finds it’s definition in the phrase “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him”. We are called to a life of satisfaction and joy. The root of our joy, however, needs to be faith in the great gift we have been given through the gospel. This is the greatest gift we could ever receive, and it should fill us with such unspeakable joy, so that we could not be more satisfied by any earthly treasure. The “good life” does not start once we die and get to be with our savior in heaven ... it starts now! God has called you to delight yourself in His countless graces upon you. Be thankful, and live the life of joy that you have been called to.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).