Resting in Calvary

By Dr. Ken Matto

(Mat 11:29 KJV) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

The word for “rest” in the Greek is “anapausin” which carries with it the meaning of “cessation from labor, refreshment, stopping.” The 1828 Webster dictionary defines it as “quiet, repose, or a state of reconciliation unto God.” One of the most egregious lifestyles among the religious community is that they are never resting. Religion compels them to go on and continue to do good works so Heaven may be earned by merit. It is a never ending life of works and slavish obedience to some religious system. In Matthew 11:29, the Lord Jesus Christ stated that if we learn of Him, then in Him, we can find rest for our souls. There is nothing more sorrowful than a soul which is continuously searching for rest by doing incessant works. That is not rest.

When the Lord Jesus Christ was on the cross on Calvary, He made the statement that “it is finished.” (John 19:30 KJV) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The sacrifice was now completed for the sins of the Elect of God. Religion teaches that a person has to go beyond the sacrifice of Christ to find peace and that is accomplished with more works. If one sits down and analyzes that statement that Christ made, that it was finished, then how can you add to something that is already finished. It is the pride of man which teaches him that he can be the master of his own salvation and it can be achieved by works.

This was the great mistake made by the nation of Israel. The national leaders, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Priests thought that by keeping the law of Moses, even with what they added to it over the years, then that would guarantee them Heaven, especially since they thought that they were the chosen people of God by the covenant of Sinai. The law given at Sinai was given to show that it was impossible to keep the law and that every day a person sins and would have to offer a sin offering to atone. The law of Sinai offered absolutely no rest for the soul of any person.

Unfortunately, that same mindset has trickled down to today, 3500 years later man still believes that he has the ability to gain Heaven by the works of his own hands. (Gen 27:22 KJV) And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. A principle is found in Genesis 27:22 which needs to be heeded. Jacob and his mother Rebekah were getting ready to deceive Isaac so that Isaac would give the blessing to Jacob instead of Esau. Isaac had much trouble with his eyesight so he was unable to tell the difference between Esau and Jacob. Isaac then states that the voice is of Jacob but the hands are of Esau. Here then is the principle. Jacob is associated with the believers in the Bible because it was through his lineage the Lord Jesus Christ came through the tribe of Judah. Esau was associated with being a profane person. (Heb 12:16 KJV) Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. The deceit of working for one’s salvation is that we tell others we are doing it for God and that gives us some kind of status in the eyes of others. Thus we have the voice of Jacob which is heaping religious accolades on our works and even deceiving ourselves that we are being obedient to God but in reality, those works are the hands of Esau. (Prov 21:27 KJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

To attempt to go around the cross and get into Heaven by your works is actually a slap in the face of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. If many paths lead to Heaven, then what would have been the necessity of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary? The works which a person does with an unsaved, unregenerate mindset is never going to be acceptable by God the Father. He only accepts one sacrifice for sin and that is by His Son. (John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 is probably the most important verse in the Bible for those who think they can get to Heaven by works. The words “no man” is one word in the Greek and it is in the Cardinal form. The Cardinal form is a specific number such as one or two or three. We are being told that not one person will ever come to the Father without coming through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why the souls of those who are religious or works oriented will never find peace in their lives and never gain Heaven.

This is the essence of the grace of God. When a person becomes saved, their souls are hidden in Christ. (Col 3:3 KJV) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Our souls are now in the grip of not only the Lord Jesus Christ but also the Father. (John 10:9 KJV) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. Here Jesus reiterates the fact that He is the door to salvation. The law is not the door to salvation but Jesus Himself is. Salvation is by grace alone. Once a person becomes saved, they enter the sheepfold which is a metaphor for the body of believers. The believer is now in the Kingdom of God as a child of God represented here as a sheep in the sheepfold of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus says that once they go through the door and enter the sheepfold, they must also go out for pasture because sheep cannot find pasture within an enclosed area. It is like many Christians who limit their ministries to their local church. They need to go beyond the walls of the sheepfold and find pasture, just as regular sheep do. What does it mean to go out? It does not mean that a person can lose their salvation and leave if they want. That is not what is in view. To go out means that the believers will be taken to green pastures outside the pen under the watchful eye of the Shepherd. (Psa 23:2 KJV) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. No longer does the believer live in fear but they are now at peace with God and that is why we can lay down in green pastures and leads us to calm waters which is the Gospel that feeds our soul. The world and its teachings fill a person with the anxiety of the world but the Gospel brings peace to the true believer even in the midst of a world of anxiety. Wherever the believer is sent to minister, they will find pasture in the word of God and from the Good Shepherd Himself and they give us boldness to bring that word because it gives strengthening peace.

I have been saved for over 33 years and since Christ saved me, I have never had a desire to look beyond Him for the satisfaction of the soul. Christ satisfies and once a person is saved, they never have a desire to partake in works based religions nor trying to do a certain amount of works to please God and hope we can become saved. Christ brings a tremendous peace to the soul because the soul can now rest in what Christ did for us. No longer do we have to be anxious and wonder how many works do I have to do to please God or to gain salvation by those works. Once a person become saved, the anxiety of the soul is finished. It is now at peace with God. (Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

When we look around us and see the bondage that millions are in because of religion. The Jews are always doing works and trying to obey the law. The Catholics are always doing what they perceive as good works. The Hindus are always doing chants or Yoga. The Muslims are trying to eradicate Christians in obedience to the Koran. The Mormons are required to be missionaries. The New Age adherents are obeying the dictates of Satan with their spirit guides and crystals. Apostate Protestants are accepting all forms of debauchery such as sodomy. I can go on and on but these few examples shows openly what happens when a person’s soul is not at peace. The more steeped in religion one is, the less peace they will have. (Isa 57:21 KJV) There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

We can be very thankful to God that the Lord Jesus Christ went to Calvary and died in our place. When we receive Him as our personal Savior, we immediately rest in Calvary because there is nothing more for us to do for salvation. God has ordained special works for us because within that salvation is also the spiritual gifts which He gives us, empowering us to do whatever He calls us to do. (Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. So Christians, rest in Calvary because it was all done for you and you need not be anxious over salvation. You too will come to a realization that you will never or have never desired to seek anything beyond Christ. It was finished on our behalf and never to be rescinded. This is why our souls can rest. (Psa 4:8 KJV) I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.