“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Paul the apostle, writing to the new church in Galatia
In his letter to the Galatian believers, he is setting them straight regarding how we are found to be pleasing to our God. It is not by works of religiosity, but by faith in our God to make us righteous and holy. How does our God accomplish this? As Paul stated in the quotation above, it is by the life of Christ Himself live in place of our own lives. Righteousness cannot be gained by obedience to the law or any other religious activity. It is the result of surrendering our own rights and prerogatives so that the Spirit of Christ live in and through us
In this absolute surrender is our freedom from work of duty or law. In this surrender is our Sabbath rest in God. Our God has already made us righteous with the righteousness of Christ through the Atonement. He intends to do to the work of holy living and spiritual formation in us by His Spirit as well. The righteousness of Christ will become our functional righteousness in us each day. When we rest in full surrender, He works by the life of His Spirit in us.
This is true rest for our souls. This is the pathway to the fastest and deepest work in us. Graham Cooke stated it this way: “Partnering with the Holy Spirit and Jesus produces a strong conviction of the power in a new and living way. Your Father is faithful to Jesus in you. So is the Holy Spirit. In partnership you partake of the same faithfulness and that is how you remain true to God. He gives you what you need to have. And you become those things by receiving the gifts and learning from the Holy Spirit how to walk in them.”
Our full surrender allows us to partner with the Holy Spirit of Jesus in us. It is how our God wants to accomplish holiness in us. In this partnering is our spiritual formation as well. It is how he wants to bless us with the abundant life promised by Jesus, the Springs of living water that He said would flow out of His followers. This is how He joins us into His Sabbath rest. All the promises of the Christian life come to us through our full surrender to our God, through our partnering with the Holy Spirit and with Jesus.
I have found this in my own life: The more I am surrendered to my God and seeking intimacy with Him every day, the more quickly has His work been done in me. I was conversing with my friend, Gerry, on a recent trip to Fargo. We were talking about this surrendered life, and how everything has changed for us and for so many others now that we have given ourselves over to it. Things we never imagined before are happening in our lives and the lives of those around us. Through our Sabbath rest in Him, we are seeing the life of Christ, not the life of Gerry or Tim living out in us more consistently. We are experiencing more of a consuming love for our God as well. These gifts are priceless.
This is His Sabbath rest. He is offering to live it in us, for us, and through us by His Holy Spirit. This is what it means to walk by the Spirit. This is how we gain true holiness in this life. This is the rest for our souls that our God has always intended for us. And it is ours in our full surrender to Him.