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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Christian Obedience JULY 22


Therefore, a sabbath rest still awaits the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest, rests from his own work as God did from his. Heb. 4:9, 10, N.E.B.

God gave the Sabbath as a sign of that rest that follows His work both in the creation of our world, in a completed redemption, and in our own hearts. Ultimately we will enter into the eternal Sabbath rest of God.

The children of Israel did not rest by faith in God's promises to give them the land of Canaan. They sought it by their own works. Had they looked to Him as their righteousness, God would have fulfilled His promise of rest. "Israel made great efforts after a law of righteousness, but never attained to it. Why was this? Because their efforts were not based on faith, but (as they supposed) on deeds" (Rom. 9:31, 32, N.E.B.).

Truly our own works to gain favor with God and to attain to our own righteousness are a great grief and burden. We double the load on our backs. The effort we put into living the Christian life, effort that never gets us any nearer to the ideal, is discouraging and painful. To work for our salvation is beyond our strength. There is no rest. There follow only fear, anxiety, and condemnation.

We are to live in the atmosphere of God's love. We are to trust and depend entirely on Christ and His righteousness. We find rest and spiritual refreshment in fellowship with Him. Only through the merits of Christ can we find this rest. This is how we prepare for the rest in heaven.

The Christian life lived within the rest of God is delightful. The rest from sin, the rest from our own efforts to achieve righteousness, is one of the great gifts God can bestow on us here below. Paul calls all this a Sabbath rest. For it reveals what it must have been like when God finished His work of creation and rested on the seventh day. Everything in the world was perfect. The only thing left to be done was to enjoy it. Rest in the new earth will he like this.

The Sabbath is a day of well-being and well doing, a day when everyone is made better and happier. We have turned over the responsibility of living the Christian life to Him. The Sabbath rest is always to be the best day in the week.

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