Roman Catholic Rest?

Matthew 11:28

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jesus commands that those who come to Him, He will give rest. This rest is a knowledge and realization that He is God, that He is sovereign in complete control of the good, bad, indifferent. This rest is a realization that He is your Lord and Savior, that whatever happens eternal life is the hope and security.  The Christian realizes instantly this security and behaves accordingly in total peace and rest in Jesus Christ.

As a former Roman Catholic, I can attest to the rest in this world religion is NOT in Jesus Christ but rather in one-self.  The preaching of free-will to salvation has led Catholicism as well as other world religions on this self-righteous path. Can there be any rest where sin dwells? The answer is no!   Catholics for example are at peace for an hour a week if that when they enter the structure of their religious place where they believe God dwells. The confines of stained glass windows, incense, an altar, organ music, other self-righteous sinners behaving piously, adds to the deception of this false rest. Outside these walls there is uncertainty, anxiousness, sin, depression, anger, etc. Or in other words there is really no rest.

The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”  He is reminding the Corinthians of the rest they should be in. They should not behaving as old creations and blending into the world around them, but new creations in Christ where His rest is realized.

Roman Catholicism’s teaching of free-will, “to thine own self be true” has led billions into the rest of the highly flawed imperfect person in the mirror.  They also prop up a pope whom they believe is their standard bearer for rest in Jesus Christ, but he too is a highly flawed sinner.  The bottom line is in discernment and based on my own personal experience of 40 plus years in the Catholic system, there is absolutely NO rest in Jesus Christ.  There is complete INSECURITY where there should be SECURITY.  Ask a Catholic in their 70s or 80s where they will end up upon death, and all of them if they were honest would need to say “I hope in Heaven but I am not sure if I have done enough”.  Meaning, if they have participated in the right amount of sacraments with a good heart, done enough good works to maintain and secure their salvation.  When all along, Jesus was offering a rest in eternal life to be realized here and now!

A plea to Roman Catholics, place your faith in Jesus Christ alone. Repent of your idolatry of that world religion you practice and realize the rest that Jesus promises.  Pride never saved a soul! Not one good deed you could do could ever come close to the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with your whole heart, soul, and mind and you shall be saved and with that you will come to place of peace and rest only know to His own.

Boasting in Salvation?

Galatians 6:14

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Are you guilty of a boast in your salvation?  It goes something like this. On January 1, 2005 I was saved when I came forward in church to offer my prayer for repentance of sins. Notice the words “I came forward” and “my prayer”, the boast is in yourself that you did something to enact God’s salvation through Jesus Christ.  Another boast might be “I accepted Jesus as my Savior” or “I asked Jesus into my heart”.  Again when you claim to have done something, you are boasting.  I know this ruffles some feathers especially with the sentiment of the church in America where this is done time and time again.

As Paul distinctly states, the boast can only be in the cross of Jesus Christ. We boast in His work done on our behalf. A better way to express salvation is to say “I humbly say that I am saved by no part of myself, by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the Cross”.  Because without this, there is NO salvation.

Some also boast in rituals such as baptism which is only the outward expression and result of the cross of Jesus Christ, not anything you are adding to His completed work.  Some boast in keeping the Sabbath, boast in good works, boast in church attendance, boast in other religious activity, intelligence of Scripture, NONE OF WHICH can ever compare to Jesus Christ’s completed work.  Self-righteous attempts to share the gospel will fall on deaf ears. The focus should always be on the person and work of Jesus Christ, not yourself.

Stop Boasting and Humble Yourself!

Go back to the cross if you feel prideful and want to boast in your salvation. View Jesus Christ on that lonely cross who was there because of YOUR sins.  Yes just one sin put Him there, the perfect lamb of God from all eternity who could of easily stayed on His heavenly throne came to die for your putrid rotten sins.  I ask how could one boast in anything but the cross?  It is rather humbling when you actually contemplate what Jesus did on your behalf.  You didn’t ask Him, you could not make yourself redeemable, but He gave up Himself for you.

It is quite awesome and emotional to realize salvation from Jesus Christ. But never lose sight it had nothing to do with what you did or proposed to do or thought of doing, it had everything to do with what a loving God planned before the earth’s foundation.  (Ephesians 1:4).  A dirty rotten sinner as yourself with a ticket to hell was redeemed by God’s only Son Jesus Christ.

Boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ who was punished, tortured, and crucified on your behalf satisfying God’s eternal wrath on your sins. So if you are saved, rejoice in this, share this Good News always with the cross in mind.  Don’t get caught up in your witness with pronouncing dates and times without the cross, because without the cross it has no effect on the listener and the boast could be seen in self-righteousness not in the cross.

It is rather tempting to pound an unbeliever over the head and boast in your salvation and their demise, but were you any better than they?  So don’t do this!

Ephesians 2:But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

What is your Calling?

1 Corinthians 7:15

But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.

When you read the title to this article, what came to your mind?  If you were honest, possibly trying to answer your place in the church or maybe your career came to mind or possibly you did not know.  The emphasis here is a general calling, this calling would either to continue on the road of sin which leads to turmoil, rebellion, evil or the calling to be at rest in Jesus Christ, a realized peace without understanding.

All Christians are called to this rest in Jesus Christ. Some while being born-again behave as if they had not been by clinging to the turmoil. Being faithful in the promises of God, but not fully in that you still find drama and conflict appealing.  The desire is to blend in with your old life, you know its wrong and feel terrible, but its there. Does it mean you are not saved? Not necessarily in that despite this behavior, you are greatly striving to repent of this.  With each new situation or issue God puts on your plate, you are learning to be at total rest in Jesus Christ.  In other words a saved soul will realize growth and maturity, an unsaved sinner departs as 1 Corinthians 7:15 says above which is in reference to marriage, but can also be applied to every sinner.

What is this rest and peace that Scripture speaks about?  In Jesus Christ, a saved Christian will realize first and foremost that He is sovereign. That your sins have been paid for and your citizenship is not of this world, but in Heaven above now.  There is absolutely NO turmoil, no conflict, no drama, in Heaven so the striving is to behave this way here and now. Imagine being in the presence of God in Heaven, knowing that everything is under His control, would you worry, would you be anxious, would you question Him? The answer would be no, so then ask yourself why aren’t you behaving this way right now?  What is the wait?  Are you saying that only those in Heaven can trust God? If so, it speaks to little faith, not lack of faith, but little faith.

How do we grow our little faith into bigger faith?

1. By staying in the word of God. Studying it, feeding on it as if it was your only food or drink, living by it as your ultimate authority for faith and practice.

2. By communing with God always, praying without ceasing which means always looking for Him in everything.

3. Jesus says in Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

This means trusting God in everything!

4. By asking God to help your unbelief just as the man asked Jesus inMark 9:24

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

There will be highly trying times in your life, these are the times when we should always turn to God first in our life. Cry out to Him, He will help your unbelief.

5.  By stating publicly your witness and testimony in Jesus Christ. This will grow your faith as you see others who are drawn to your witness and will fellowship with you.

6. By sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in truth, boldness, and conviction. You will see the promises of God played out right before your eyes.

7.  By always exalting the name of Jesus Christ, not just name dropping, but His person and work, praising Him, thanking Him, glorifying Him.

8.  Doing ALL things to the glory of God!  Removing yourself from the equation of what you accomplish and rather giving the glory to God alone in ALL things, not somethings, but ALL things.

9. Striving for holiness and repenting from the evils of your life.  Removing yourself from the evils of this world and seeing your faith as God-centered not man-centered will surely grow your little faith into big faith!

If we practice these 9 items daily as a discipline, our faith will surely grow. And it will also mature into more of a realized rest in Jesus Christ that you have ever known.

A Public Ministry

Matthew 10:33

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

We are called to share our faith in Jesus Christ. If you have been born-again as Jesus describes in John 3:3, you now see the Kingdom.  Are you publicly describing it to others or is it something you still do not see.

Many world religions congregations are a private type of faith.  They would prefer not speaking about Jesus for fear of alienating the listener or offending a lost soul.  God showed me upon my rebirth that faith in Jesus Christ is PUBLIC, it is not private. The person who witnessed to me read Scripture out loud in a busy restaurant.  At first, I will admit I was embarrassed.  I was a Catholic for 40 plus years and had to ask myself why in the world would I be embarrassed at this point.  Catholicism like many world religions indoctrinate a self-centered private faith, where if one didn’t see your car parked outside a church they would not know you are a “Christian”, but are you?  I knew at that point, God was telling me to “WAKE UP!”  I was dead in my sins and trespasses, my “faith” was private. This “faith” really was not in God but in my sins and trespasses and is why this was private.

John 3:19 says in reference to this privatization of sins  “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” 

A born-again Christian realizes the tremendous debt Jesus paid on their behalf. They shout it from the roof-top as to what Jesus did for them.  Those nasty little sins, rotten BIG sins, and that putrid dirty sinful life are no longer in a private domain, but just as the Cross was very public, they are as well. You are more than willing to share with others what Jesus did on your behalf!

Be specific!  Just saying to others “Jesus paid my sin debt” is one thing, telling others specifically what this means is another.  What were the sins you were practicing and now repented of by granted repentance?  State them publicly to the people who you want to grasp the Good News.  Stating this also shows humility.  Humility is a trait definitely lacking in the church today.  We see all sorts of Christians expounding on Scripture, showing wisdom of biblical hermeneutics, but at the same time showing no humility.  Stating and describing sin in your former life publicly definitely will ground you.

If you do not have a former life to speak about, are you living a new life in Jesus Christ?

How do we know you actually have been saved when we don’t know what Jesus saved you from?  I know plenty of folks who have a wonderful grasp of the Good News but are highly guarded in a personal witness or testimony in Jesus Christ.  You are calling the lost to repent and believe the Good News, yet they are confused by your own example!

Publicly declare Jesus is the Lord and Savior without fear of losing friends or family or your job.  What really is more important than this in your life!  If you still are fearing losing a friend for example, you have placed them above Christ in your life, thus it is called idolatry.  Rather, let you friends and family and the public at large KNOW you are a Christian, they should see the cross you carry and how ardent and diligently and also joyful you are to carry it!   Let them see the rest they need in Jesus Christ!