Work. Webster defines it as activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. So many people think work is the key to eternal life. They mentally weigh themselves on the merit scale and consistently find the balance in their favor. Their heart clings to the idea that being a “good” person is good enough.
This kind of thinking is common to every person in every place in every religion.
• Buddha once said, “Salvation… demands strenuous effort and practice. So work hard and seek your own salvation constantly.”
• The Quran reads, “To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward.” (Surah 5:9)
• In the document produced by the Council of Trent the Roman Catholic Church declared: “If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified… by faith alone… let him be anathema.” (Canon 14).
•Hindus believe that salvation is attained through 1 of 3 ways; works, knowledge, or personal devotion to a god. They believe that life is lived through karma which is the Hindu word for “works” or “deeds.” Good karma, or works, will produce good rewards, bad works will produce bad rewards. With enough good works, you will reach a state of Nirvana.
Everyone has a plan that includes works along the path of salvation. But Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who labor (who work), and I will give you rest.”
Rest. To end work; a period of ceasing to engage in any effort or activity. Every religion in the world promises reward for effort, but Jesus promises reward for resting. Why?
Because no matter how hard, how long, or how sincere we work, it would never put us in right standing with God. Sounds hopeless, doesn’t it?
But here’s the good news. God knew that we would never, on our own strength, be able to work our way into his good favor. He would have to punish each of us for failing to measure up to his standard. Unless, there was someone who was perfect. Someone who had done all the work perfectly. Someone who worked on our behalf and earned all the favor of God for us. And that someone would not only take all the punishment that was rightfully ours, but would give to us all the credit for the work that was rightfully his. That Someone was Jesus. And he freely offers us all his work, if we would rest in him, and him alone.
Resting our hope on his effort, makes his effort our reward.