“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28
The gospel breathes life into every believer’s weary spirit primarily in three ways:
- It provides freedom from the past
- It provides power for the present
- It provides hope for the future
1. Freedom from the Past
All of us carry around some sort of wound, baggage, things that we’ve done, mistakes that we’ve made, sins that we’ve committed. Even if we’ve repented of these things, sometimes we don’t feel forgiven, or we feel like we can’t escape from under the shadows of our past.
The gospel comes in and says that what you were does not define you. You are who God says you are in Christ. Understanding the rich truth of justification gives us great freedom from the past.
2. Power for the Present
In the gospel comes the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We really do have the Spirit working according to the Father’s will to make us more like Christ . We do have the power to obey.
But when we fall short—as we often do—we know that we have the grace to forgive us so that we’re not defined by our worst deeds. We really do have the Spirit’s empowering presence for our present work and effort. We can work joyfully knowing we don’t have to earn God’s favor and knowing the Spirit is willing and working within us for God’s pleasure.
3. Hope for the Future
The harsh truth of living in a broken and sinful world is that we have no guarantee of security; Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
But we do have the guarantee that our hope is secure in the gospel. The hope that we have in Christ is not the same hope that we often refer to in everyday language (e.g., “I hope something good will happen.). Our hope in Christ is a sure hope—a secure hope.
Every Christian can wake up in the morning with fresh mercies and with the understanding that whatever happens with our health or our finances or in our families or churches or wherever, he or she is united to Christ and therefore as secure as Christ himself is. Now, how secure do you think Christ is?