Saturday, January 29, 2022

Relief from Law-Keeping (Matt. 11:28-30)

I want you to be encouraged as we continue with our journey of faith, especially in light of new forms of legalism arising. This was my Bible passage this morning. It's a very well-known text:

Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will rest you. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is kind, and my burden is light. 

The literary device used here is called a chiasmus, where you have A and B, then B' and A'. 

Maybe I can try and reproduce this in the following manner:


A. pePHORTismena



A'. PHORTion






Notice that when we come to Jesus, life doesn't become burdenless. No, he simply replaces his burden for ours. The burden we bring to him is explicitly identified for us in Matt. 23:4. It is the burden imposed by legalists who seek to oppress others with their rules and regulations, obedience to which "earns" us salvation. Christ urges people weary and burdened like this to come "to him" -- that is, to rely totally upon him, leaving our entire salvation in his hands. When we do this, the result is both rest and relief from law-keeping as a means of earning our salvation. A new burden replaces the old burden. Yes, it involves obedience, but an obedience that comes out of gratitude for the complete work of salvation Christ has accomplished through his cross and imparted to us by faith alone. 

I recently heard someone say that the gospel is not enough. We need, he said, the "full" gospel, whatever that means. That is nonsense. There is only one gospel, only one message of salvation. Sadly, it seems that nowadays the gospel fares much better against outright opposition than against frivolous legalism. Better a world that fights the gospel than a church that trifles with it. I have never preached a "full" gospel and I never will. We do not have to bow to the world to win it. 

Beware of those who would have the church conform to the age and be squeezed into its mold. Beware of any deals to get the kingdoms of this world by a shortcut. The only way is by the cross, and we travel it together with our Lord.