Enter His Rest

Living in this world is tiresome for the soul. The weight of our own sins and the sinful world around us is too much for us to bear, and we collapse beneath the load. The world offers nothing to relieve our souls, but instead it only adds more and more to our burdens.
Thankfully, Jesus offers us the rest our souls so desperately crave. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus offered His invitation to tired souls:
"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.”
The Lord's offer to all souls is a proposal for a trade – we may trade our loads for His yoke. A yoke is the device used to harness beasts together in order to pull a load. In the Lord's invitation, He used a yoke as a figure of what we must do to receive His rest. As we take His yoke upon ourselves, we learn from Him how to wear His yoke and bear His load, for we must become as He is, gentle and humble in heart. This is a good trade for us, for we give up a load that we cannot bear in exchange for a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.
To benefit from the Lord's open invitation for rest, sinful souls must take the action to come to Jesus, take on His yoke, and learn from Him. Only then will they have their burdens of guilt taken away. Sinners must come to Jesus by believing and confessing their faith in Him (Rom. 10:10, 17). They must take on His yoke by obeying the Lord's will, which includes repenting of their sins and being immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). They must learn from Him and becoming like Him (1Cor. 11:1; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:3-7; 1Thess. 1:6). These things comprise an easy yoke and a light burden when compared to the unbearable burden of sins. This is a good trade indeed.
When sinners do these things, their burdens of sins do not disappear, but rather they are taken on by the Lord Himself – "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1Pet. 2:24). By bearing our sins in His own body, Jesus has made propitiation and atonement for them (Heb. 9:11-14; 1John 2:1-2). This means that by His death He satisfied God's justice and paid the required price for our sins ("the wages of sin is death” – Rom. 6:23).
Sadly, most sinners do not accept the Lord's gracious invitation. In most cases, the sinners want the rest that Christ offers, but they refuse to comply with His terms. They are like the nation of Israel who sinned in the wilderness and lost the opportunity to enter the rest of the promised land of Canaan. About them, God said this:

"For forty years I loathed that generation, and said they are a people who err in their heart, and they do not know My ways. Therefore I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My rest.” (Ps. 95:10-11)

They are also like the nation of Judah in Jeremiah's time, which was taken out of Canaan into the captivity of Babylon. About them, Jeremiah wrote this:

"Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.' But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.'” (Jer. 6:16)

These ancient examples stand as a warning for us today. If we want to receive the rest that Jesus has offered, then we must comply with His will. Israel could not rest in Canaan because of their disobedient, hardened hearts, and we will not enter into the rest of the Lord if we follow their examples. This is the message of Hebrews 3:7-4:13. Notice in particular the message of Hebrews 4:11 – "Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” This is the same message given in Christ's invitation – take on His yoke and bear His burden (be diligent, work hard for Him – 1Cor. 15:58), and you will find rest for your souls.
So then, if you are sin-sick, weary, and tired, heed the invitation of Christ. There is no need for you to carry your load of guilt any longer, for Christ had died to be your Savior. Trade your unbearable load for His easy yoke and His light burden, and you will find rest for your soul.

Stacey E. Durham


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