Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Does peace mean simply the absence of war? Or does it mean the removal of weapons so that belligerants are unable to engage in battle? That’s the kind of peace the nations around us strive for, or pretend to strive for. That’s the kind of peace that naive schoolchildren imagine when they hold up their fingers in the V gesture or when people wear the so-called peace symbol of the broken cross in a circle (that is actually a pagan anti-Christian symbol, please don’t let your children wear it). Peace certainly refers to the absence of conflict, for sure. And that includes the ‘peace with God’ that is mentioned in our text today. Those of us who are justified by faith can rejoice that we are no longer God’s enemies and are no longer fighting against Him. But it means much more than that. In his textbook, Basics of Biblical Greek, Dr. William B. Mounce describes peace as presented in the Bible as signifying spiritual ‘prosperity, well-being, health, completeness, safety’. That is far more than just an emotion, although it should certainly cause an emotion. But too many are focusing on the emotion.

Around us we see far too many who have achieved a measure of emotional peace and assume they are doing OK, but because they have never been justified by faith, they are still at enmity with God. Ranging from eastern mysticism to New Age practitioners to religious zealots of all kinds, these people know and care nothing of the salvation that is based on faith in Christ’s sacrifice for sins. Sadly, their false peace is leading them to destruction. Almost as sadly, but not quite as tragically, we have some folks who have entered into justification, but who are still searching for peace of mind. These poor saints somehow feel there is something they must to to maintain their salvation, and they live in constant fear of falling from grace. These people fail to grasp that peace with God is a state that God has placed us into at conversion, and is wholly dependent on Him to maintain, which He has promised to do for all eternity.

Peace is an important theme in the Bible, occurring some 250 times in the Old Testament and more than 90 times in the New. The Apostle Paul invokes peace in the introduction to every one of his epistles except Hebrews. Peace is an essential element of the very nature of God, so the nearer we move to Him, the more of His peace we can experience. God wants us to not only have peace with Him, He also wants us to know and appreciate that peace. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’ – Philippians 4:7. It is that peace that should be the guiding force in our lives: ‘And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful’ – Colossians 3:15.

Listen to the wonderful words of the Lord Jesus about peace: ‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ – John 14:27. -Jim MacIntosh

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