Monday, January 23, 2017

Peace with God

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

Although Romans covers in great detail the new status of righteousness that we enjoy in Christ by faith alone, he still has much to say about how this status of righteousness is constituted. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines the word “righteousness” as Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. The cause of our justification.Given that the gospel message of what it means to be righteous in Christ is such good news, it is unsurprising that Paul gets caught up describing all the benefits we enjoy as a consequence of justification. Paul pauses in the midst of his teaching on justification to answer this question: what does being declared righteous in Christ mean for us now? Romans 5:1 gives us the first part of that answer. Because we have been justified, we have peace with God. I came across this exposition on peace with God that I’s like to share today.

John 3:35-36 “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

We cannot understand the full ramifications of this peace unless we are fully convinced of what our relationship to our Creator was truly like before we knew Jesus. Scripture describes this relationship as an all-out war. I’ve have always said that you cannot be saved until you know that you are lost. My old mentor Bill Stiles had a similar says; You don’t know and understand what you are “saved to” until you know and understand what you have been “saved from”. Contrary to many popular ideas about God and humanity, the Lord’s attitude toward fallen men and women who are outside of Christ is not one of kind benevolence or even neutral toleration. To be sure, our Maker is kind to some degree even to His enemies, but His disposition toward impenitent sinners is hostility and hatred. His bow is aimed at sinners, and He will release the arrows of the full fury of His wrath against people who remain opposed to Him (Psalm 7:12–13). Because no one seeks the Lord apart from grace (Romans 3:9–18), this means that His wrath is directed at every man, woman, and child who is not in Christ.

1 John 5:11-13 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

The Old Testament prophets understood this quite well, and they saw that God was at war with even the covenant community of Israel because of its sin. We read continual warnings about the consequences of this war in Scripture, namely the destruction of the exile, which foreshadows the eternal judgment of those who reject the Lord’s rightful reign . But the prophets foresaw a great day of salvation when God would save His people and bring them shalom—peace—ruling them by His anointed king. This shalom is not the mere end of hostilities but is much more. Shalom is a holistic concept, a condition in which people enjoy complete and permanent well-being. Romans 5:1 tells us that because we are justified, we enjoy this (peace with God) shalom.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about shalom is that it can never be lost. Jesus has not brokered a fragile cease-fire with God, such that a full-scale inferno can erupt at the slightest provocation. Instead, He has brought us a peace that can never be lost. If we are truly in Christ, we will never become His enemies again. Christ is our peace, so for us there is no more war with God. John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

Ephesians 2:1-5 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

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