“In The Sweat Of Thy Face Shalt Thou Eat Bread, Till Thou Return Unto The Ground” – Genesis 3:19
As a result of man’s rebellion against God and fall into sin, he is resigned to a lifetime of hard work. Mankind was given a life sentence of hard labour for his crime. Therefore we should resign ourselves to it, and accept it as our just due, without complaint. Nothing in this life will come easy to us. Everything will be hard won. Though some think to get things by their wit rather than work, it will quickly be lost, for “wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase” (Proverbs 13:11). Wealth obtained by lottery, litigation or speculation, is quickly spent and easily lost. Let this be a lesson to all, particularly the young. Nothing comes easy and if it does, it will just as easily go. Only things that are hard fought and won, things earned by hard work, are kept, appreciated and sweet. Why, the whole book of Ecclesiastes tells us of the necessity and value of hard work! And what an illustration of the gospel all of this is.
The false gospel being preached today would have us believe that the salvation of a soul is as easy as deciding between brands of detergent or something. Why, with just a simple choice or decision by us, and all the “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places” are defeated, turn tail and run. And someone “dead in trespasses and sins” . . . “captives to Satan” . . . “in the darkness of ignorance” . . . “no soundness in them”, yet a simple, quick decision and everything changes! What a lie! Only a fool would fall for fool’s gold.
The salvation of a dead sinner was hard fought and hard won by the Lord Jesus Christ. It took the God-man, Jesus Christ, thirty three years of hard labour to fulfill God’s law and establish the perfect righteousness and holiness which God demands of man. He fought single-handedly with all the forces of evil throughout the universe to free His elect from captivity. He suffered the equivalent of an eternal hell while on calvary’s cross, to pay the punishment due our sin. The salvation of God’s people was a great work performed at great cost by the great Saviour. And it was an accomplished work by Him that eternally saved every one of His people; the reward of which work shall never be lost or undone. It is not the wit or will of man, but the work of Christ which saves. And while it required no work on our part, “not by works of righteousness which we have done”, yet we are told to “labour to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11). We are to labour to keep from labouring; labour against self, sin and the world. The believer is exhorted to works of faith and labour of love. It is not easy. It requires a cost, sacrifice, labour! And yet, here is the paradox: It is labour by resting. He said: “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28). But no, it is not easy! And if all this seems strange to you, then go learn what this meaneth. – pm