Peace, Part II

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Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:1-11

The New Testament speaks of two kinds of peace–the objective peace that has to do with your relationship to God, and the subjective peace that has to do with your experience in life.

The natural man lacks peace with God. We all come into the world fighting against God, because we are a part of the rebellion that started with Adam and Eve. Romans 5:10 says we were enemies of God. We fought against God, and everything we did militated against His principles.

But when we receive Jesus Christ, we cease being enemies of God–we make a truce with Him. We come over to His side, and the hostility is ended. Jesus Christ wrote the treaty with the blood of His cross. That treaty, that bond, that covenant of peace declares the objective fact that we now are at peace with Him.

That’s what Paul means in Ephesians 6:15, when he calls the good news of salvation “the preparation of the gospel of peace.” The gospel is that which makes a man who was at war with God to be at peace with Him. This peace is objective–that is, it has nothing to do with how we feel or what we think. It is an accomplished fact.

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” We who trust Christ are redeemed and declared righteous by faith. Our sins are forgiven, rebellion ceases, the war is over, and we have peace with God. That was God’s wonderful purpose in salvation.

Colossians 1:20-22 says that Christ “made peace through the blood of His cross…. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.

A sinful, vile, wicked person cannot come into the presence of a holy God. Something must make that unholy person righteous before he can be at peace with God. And that’s exactly what Christ did, dying for sin, imputing His righteousness to sinners. So Paul says we are no longer enemies but are at peace because we are reconciled.

It is as if God were on one side, we were on the other side, then Christ filled the gap, taking the hand of God and the hand of man and placing them together into the same grip. We have now been brought together through the blood of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Whereas God and man were once estranged, they have now been reconciled. That is the heart of the gospel message, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. But Jesus is not talking about objective peace in John 14:27. The peace He speaks of here is a subjective, experiential peace. It is tranquility of the soul, a settled, positive peace that affects the circumstances of life. It is peace that is aggressive; rather than being victimized by events, it attacks them and gobbles them up. It is a supernatural, permanent, positive, no-side-effects, divine tranquilizer. This peace is the heart’s calm after Calvary’s storm. It is the firm conviction that He who spared not His own Son will also along with Him freely give us all things (cf. Romans 8:32).

This is the peace that Paul speaks about in Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The peace of God is not based on circumstances like the world’s peace, so it doesn’t always make sense to the carnal mind; Paul says it is a peace that surpasses comprehension. It doesn’t seem reasonable that such peace could exist in the midst of the problems and troubles Christians go through. But this is divine, supernatural peace; it cannot be figured out on a human level.

The word for “guard” in Philippians 4:7 is not the word that means to “watch,” or “keep imprisoned.” It is a word that is often used in a military sense, meaning “to stand at a post and guard against the aggression of an enemy.” When peace is on guard, the Christian has entered an impregnable citadel from which nothing can dislodge him. The name of the fortress is Christ, and the guard is peace. The peace of God stands guard and keeps worry from the corroding our hearts, and unworthy thoughts from tearing up our minds.

This is the kind of peace men really want: They want a peace that deals with the past, one where no strings of conscience dipped in the poison of past sins tear at them and torture them hour by hour. They want a peace that governs the present, with no unsatisfied desires gnawing at their hearts. They want a peace that holds promise for the future, where no foreboding fear of the unknown and dark tomorrow threatens them. And that is exactly the peace through which the guilt of the past is forgiven; by which the trials of the present are overcome; and in which our destiny in the future is secured eternally.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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