Peace With God

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
Romans 5:1 NLT

Paul seems to now draw a line under his previous references to the Law, Abraham, and legalism. He, almost as though in passing, makes a statement of certainty, that through our faith in God we are now righteous in His sight. And he reminds us that our new-found status is all because of Jesus, and what He did for us. Because of all of this, he declares that we now have peace with God.

Mankind is either for God or against Him. There is no middle ground. No grey areas. All those people who deny His existence, or choose to ignore Him, are at war with God. And that is a very serious place to be found. It is only by God’s grace that His enemies aren’t zapped by a lightning bolt or something similar from Heaven. God’s patience is such that he gives people time to make the right decision and make the transition into His kingdom. In 1 Timothy 2:3-6 we read, “This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time”. The “right time” is now. Today. Because we don’t know when God’s patience and grace will expire. 

Are we pilgrims in a place of peace with God today? Or are our spirits agitated and all confused? If that is the case, then we must enter our places of prayer, wherever or whatever they are, and touch base with our Heavenly Father. He is not against us, because we are His children. What loving and gracious Father goes to war against His children? Instead, He reaches out His arms in an attitude described by Jesus in Matthew 11:28, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest””. That’s the place for troubled souls. And as we rest in His presence, all our troubles somehow become less of a problem. After all, our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us. 

We finish today with the well-worn, but profound, verses from Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”. 

Dear Father God. Thank You for taking on board all our chaos and confusion. And in return providing us with Your peace, that is totally beyond our understanding. Amen.

War and Peace

“For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Peace. A lovely concept but beyond human capability to achieve? All my life I have never known a total absence of strife. There seems to be something within human beings that desires war in preference to peace. As individuals, we battle anything that we feel encroaches on our space, disturbing our peace. The aggressive driver who annoys us on the roads. The person who cuts in front of us in the shopping queue. The spouse who disagrees with something we say. As nations we rattle sabres at the borders with the adjacent country, stressed over a few yards of barren soil. Religious groups fight and kill to eliminate other religions in their country, in some cases committing genocide in the process. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 120:7, “I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!“. 

So in this personal and national mayhem, a counter-cultural whisper calls out. “Christ himself has brought peace to us”. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). And right at the start of the early church an age old conflict between Jews and Gentiles was resolved. At a stroke. Over a period of about six hours one dark and dismal day. Jesus’ death at Calvary brought to an end the Old Covenant and replaced it with the New. A New Covenant of grace and love. The Old was discarded. The New was welcomed in. And there is no difference between the Jews and Gentiles any more. Regardless of our origins we are all one in Christ. 

So we pilgrims, making our way through a complex and strife-infused world, shake our heads in disbelief. We long for the whisper of Christ’s peace to amplify into an audible shout, so clear that it penetrates people, principalities, palaces and parliaments, even pieties and principles. So clear that the world becomes a peaceful place. But our enemy the devil will have none of that. He thrives on wars and strife, doing what he can to stoke up anger and dissent. But peace will come one day – there is no war or strife in Heaven. In the meantime, our pilgrimage through life brings us into contact with all sorts of opportunities to be counter-cultural. Situations where we can bring a kind word to angry hearts, dispensing God’s love and grace to troubled souls. We pray today for our governments, our politicians, our civic leaders. But also our friends, families and communities. That “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,” (Philippians 4:7) will be with them all. And us too.