Introduction | Table of Contents | Chapter 7

Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees were constantly accusing Jesus of breaking the Jewish law of the Sabbath? How could He have such a disregard for the Jewish laws and traditions governing the keeping of the Sabbath, and still be without sin? The answer is simple. He was able to heal on the Sabbath and obey His Father and do His works seven days a week because He is the Lord of the Sabbath. If He could say of man, "Man was not made for the Sabbath, but rather the Sabbath was made for man," how much more was this true of the One who came down from heaven, who made all things in six "days" and rested on the seventh?

Jesus was born by the Spirit in a natural body, yet He never left His heavenly position before the Father. He only did those works He saw His Father doing and only spoke the words He heard His Father saying. He did His Father's works not by obeying the dead letter of the law and the voluminous traditions of the elders, but by walking in the Spirit of God Who instructed Him moment by moment. Mankind was locked into the sixth day of creation by sin, but Jesus walked in the seventh day of God's eternal rest. The letter of the law did not bind Him.

The Lord of the Sabbath gave the law. The same Lord of the Sabbath fulfilled the law and completed it. He filled-up the law's just requirements in the body of a human being, thus accomplishing what no man before or since could ever do. Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17 AMP).

As we abide in Christ and not in the fleshly ways of Adam, we fulfill the Law in Him, not by our fleshly efforts to be perfect, but by abiding in His perfection within us. Paul wrote, "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3-4 RSVA). Just as it took a spotless Lamb to take away the sins of the world, so it took this same spotless Lamb to end the offense of law keeping and set all men free.

Paul wrote, "The law of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).. He who is free in Christ is free indeed. Our deeds have been set free as we walk as His earthly Body, doing not our works, but His, fulfilling the just requirements of the law in us, not by our might or power, but by His Spirit.

Paul wrote another place, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10 KJ2000). God long ago ordained certain works for Christ and His body to walk in according to His eternal plan. As we walk in those works that He has for each of us individually; we walk as His sons according to all righteousness. How? By listening to and obeying His indwelling Spirit. These are not our works, generated by our "good" thoughts, but His. He gives us the pleasure, power and privilege to walk as obedient sons.

As long as we walk in the rest of the Father spoken of in Hebrews 4, we will manifest the will of the Father among men, regardless of what the law says we must do. Peter and John understood this when they were forbidden by the Sanhedrin to speak in the name of Jesus. "Whether it is better to obey man or God, you be the judge." The Spirit always trumps the flesh, even the rules of fleshly religious leaders. His rest is found in the seventh day of God where He abides. Though the letter of the law might be broken, if we obey the Spirit of God the spirit of the law is never broken.

A good example of the Spirit leading a righteous man to do things contrary to the law is found in the life of the prophet Elijah. After calling for a drought over the land of Israel, God told him to hide himself. It was not long before hard times set in over the land. Livestock were dying and men were desperately searching for food and water. At first God fed the prophet from the mouths of ravens. These are considered "unclean" birds because they feast on dead things. Yet, Elijah ate what they brought to him as he camped in the wilderness. Later the brook he camped by dried up and God told him to go live with a Gentile widow in Zidon, where he ate her food. Jewish law forbade Israelites to eat Gentile food or even enter their houses (See Acts 10:28 where Peter also broke this law at the Spirit's bidding.) Obeying God's voice will often cause us to go cross grain with the sensibilities of the religious, but He desires obedience rather than sacrifice, and to hearken to Him is better than offering up the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).

We obey His voice from a position of resting in Him. We, like John, recline with our ear against Jesus' chest. Watchman Nee wrote about this in his book Sit, Walk, Stand.

Adam, we are told, was created on the sixth day. Clearly, then, he had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end. God's seventh day was, in fact, Adam's first. Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed his Sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the Sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter into God's rest, and then alone can he work. Moreover it was because God's work of creation was truly complete that Adam's life could begin with rest. And here is the Gospel: that God has gone one stage further and has completed also the work of redemption, and that we need do nothing whatever to merit it, but can enter by faith directly into the values of his finished work.

Adam's first day was God's seventh day. As the final act of God's creation, Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. You might say Adam was "born" into the rest of God. It took the temptation of the serpent to pull Adam and Eve back into the sixth day of unrest and doing. God never called man to add to what He had created. Only the creative works of His Son are pleasing to God, never our own. Jesus put it this way, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing" (John 15:4-5 KJ2000).

God's Son made everything in all creation and only in Him could God say, "It is good." Adam and Eve could not add to what was perfect, yet this was the very temptation that Satan set before them when he said "You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4-5 KJ2000). Satan was saying that their state of being was not good, but that with his help they could tweak themselves a bit and make it complete. There was no consciousness of good or evil in the perfect rest where God had placed them. They were blind to such a thing. There was only a simple, rest-filled abiding in their Creator.

Eve was tempted to be as God by eating the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. She was tempted to become "wise" apart from His wisdom and choose for herself what was good and what was evil. Yet, both Adam and Eve were already living and walking in God's seventh day of rest, doing only the works that their Father had foreordained from the foundation of the world that they should walk in (See Hebrews 4:3). They were only "as God" as they walked in His rest with Him, doing only those works that He alone gave them to do.

Keeping the law as opposed to walking by the abiding Spirit of God can only bring us to a point of interpreting for ourselves what is "good" and what is "evil." The Jewish book called the Talmud is filled with the traditions of the Jewish elders. The Talmud added traditions to the original law to the point that the laws of God were of no effect (See Mark 7:10-13). The natural old man of Adam within us is still trying to be his own god, relishing in his knowledge of good and evil and lording it over everyone around him (Romans 2:15). The result is always the same. We look at ourselves and see our own nakedness and begin to cover ourselves with the self-righteous fig leaves of man-made religion. When we do this, we bind ourselves into the sixth day of unrest and carnal doing. We attempt to be our own god and add to what God has already finished in righteousness.

Introduction | Table of Contents | Chapter 7

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