What a strange verbalization one might say. Yet in order to get your attention, I decided to put this question the way you can read it in the headline. So, what does it mean to know the gospel? Is it enough for us Christians to have read the Bible, most commentaries, and to know the majority of answers to theological questions? Should we, then, whenever we meet someone of whom we think they might be unsaved speak up and tell them that we already have what they don’t have (as yet)?
If you read my blogs before, you might know that I could refer to God’s spiritual guidance here and that could be true too. Without being led by Him, I do not dare to share the gospel with anyone. But I want to go one step further here and make ourselves familiar with the thought that knowing the gospel also means having entered God’s rest, knowing God and His endless love, and knowing Christ in whose arms we should rest from all our burdens and worries that refer to our past and to our future. And then…. when we live in the NOW in HIM…. we can…. share the gospel whenever we feel nudged or urged by Him to do so. Without resting in God, however, we tend to be in a (great) hurry to do (great) things for God, something which He does not need at all. And being hurried, I know from my own experience that I cannot hear His voice that clearly. Instead, I tend to act and behave as I always did, treading on these well-trodden paths aka old habits.
In order to deepen this very issue, you might like to read another excerpt from one of T. Austin Sparks’ articles that deals with the question of how to follow God into His rest by (I might add: God-given) faith.
Many of us have not really entered into Christianity yet. What do I mean? Well, for one thing, the very door into true Christianity is the door of rest, the rest of faith. The very simple way in which the Lord put it in His appeal was – “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). That was to a multitude, and those words are usually employed in Gospel messages to the unsaved. The meaning of the Lord in using those words is given to us here in the letter to the Hebrews, a very much deeper and fuller meaning than is generally recognized in the usage of the simple invitation “Come unto Me… and I will give you rest”. There is something that we have to hear, to detect, in the statement – “There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9; A.S.V.).
A Present Entering Into Rest
If you look at the context, the meaning is something into which the people of God had not entered. “They were not able to enter in because of unbelief” (Heb. 3:19; A.S.V.). They could not enter in. Who were they? – the people of God. It is still the people of God for whom the rest remaineth. Do not let us put that into the future, that is not the meaning at all; that afterward, when we get Home to glory, then we will arrive at the Sabbath day rest, we will enter into rest. It is not something for the tombstone – he or she entered into rest. It is something which remains now as a present thing for the people of God, not in death, but in life. The rest remaineth.
You will not think me too elementary, for you know in your heart, as well as I do in mine, that this matter of heart rest, the rest of faith, is a live question continually, it is coming up all the time. One of the things which is lacking in so many of us is this rest, or, to put it the other way, the things which characterize us so much are fret, anxiety, uncertainty, and all those things which are just the opposite of calm assurance, quiet confidence, the spirit and attitude and atmosphere which says all the time, Don’t worry, don’t fret, it is all right. One thing our great enemy is always trying to do is to disturb that, destroy that, rob us of that, churn us up, fret us, drive us, harass us, anything to rob us of our rest or to prevent us from entering into rest.
It is the rest of faith, not just the rest of passivity, indifference, carelessness. There is all the difference between carelessness and carefreeness. There remaineth, there is still to be had, there still obtains, there still exists, there is still preserved a rest for the people of God – for the people of God. We have no right to go to the unsaved and bid them come to Christ and find rest until and unless we ourselves know that rest. Our testimony and our ministry is jeopardized; weakened, limited and discredited if we are not ourselves in rest; and this is the object of the enemy’s activity in this matter – to discredit us by taking from us that very birthright of our union with Him Who is never perturbed, never anxious, never in doubt as to the issue, the One Who reigns. You see, rest is the practical outworking of our belief that He is Lord, and the very Lordship of Christ is struck at by the unrest of the people of God.