Peace with God

Life in this fallen world can be tough.  With my ongoing health struggles I’ve often found myself  weary of just one more doctor’s visit or test.  Then I see how the enemy seems to be deceiving so many people I love.  My focus is distracted by all of the heartache in the world.  In my meditation this afternoon the Lord brought me back to Romans 5:1.  While I’m often looking for a subjective peace it occurred to me today that the subjective peace I hunger to experience and which often seems so elusive really flows from the objective peace I have with God because of the finished work of the cross.

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

Paul starts off with the word, “therefore.”  My friend, Frank Friedman, always says “when we see “therefore” we need to ask ourselves what is it there for?”  Paul’s building a conclusion from previous principles.  Chapters three and four of Romans reveal the importance of faith for all who desire a relationship with their Creator.  Therefore being justified by faith, There is no truth more important than the believer understanding they are justified only by faith.  It is the foundation of the Christian life.  It is the doctrine that brings us security and hope.

Justification is the declaration we are in right standing with God. It is a judicial word that declares we are not guilty and are acceptable to Him.  But justification isn’t only a judicial statement, it includes our reconciliation and restoration.  How can it be –  we who are guilty – to be declared not-guilty when there is so much evidence to the contrary?  Is God blind to our sins?  No!  He saw them fully and placed them all on His Son.  Justification isn’t, “Just as if I never sinned.” But, “O how I sinned!  My guilt was overwhelming and at the point of faith, Jesus stepped in and took all of my sin and guilt so that sin no longer defined me.  The price has been paid in full.”

Justification takes place the moment we believe.  Being justified is an aorist participle meaning  it looks back to a fact that happened and has a continuing affect.  The moment you believed, God declared you justified and He never changes His mind. Abraham was justified by faith.  He was declared the friend of God because of faith.  Justification and salvation come only through faith.  The point at which we accept what God says, justification and salvation becomes ours.  You can’t contribute to your justification.  It is only spiritual pride that causes sinful man to think he can do something to make himself acceptable or pleasing to God.  Abraham didn’t earn friendship, he received a right standing with God by faith alone.  On the cross Jesus took on Himself the complete wrath of God for our sin.  He took what we deserved so He could give us what we could never deserve.  You might be tempted to say, Yeah but James says we are justified by works!  The Lord then took me to the following verse.
John 6:29 “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
So even that points us to our receiving who God is and what He has done on our behalf.  If you accept justification by faith then peace with God will follow naturally.  We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: There is no way to separate our justification from our peace with God.  It is really a military metaphor.  If you find yourself restless and seeking peace this passage is for you.  Since we have been justified by faith, the result is that we have peace with God.  God has nothing against us.  As we thinkabout our lives and our relationship with God; if we really have believed God justifies the ungodly, then we will have peace with God.

True peace comes only when we surrender.  God doesn’t negotiate with us, He requires our unconditional surrender.  All the conflict between God and me is over; I’m at peace with Him.  We may not have seen ourselves at war with God but the reality is all of us were on the side of sin and at war with God (even if we didn’t think about it consciously).  That’s why there is no negotiating.  It is all Him.  If you will only come to Him in unconditional surrender, you will find He is all peace to you.

Peace with God satisfies all accusations.  We are in a spiritual battle and the enemy throws his fiery darts of doubt and accusation.  How do we answer these doubts and accusations?  Many of them seem so real.  The enemy will first tempt us and then accuse us when we fail.  He will always go to our identity and plant doubts, so that we ask how we could be the children of God with so many flaws?  The Holy Spirit’s conviction is much different.  He convicts us of wrong attitudes and actions but never attacks us for the penalty of sin, which has been paid in full.  When we are filled with doubt and the enemy accuses us, we need to remember who we are in Christ.  The way to get back a sense of peace is by reminding ourselves of the justification we have in Christ through faith.  We need only remind ourselves that we are made right with God, not by our own actions but, through faith in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.  Remind yourself that your standing with God does not depend on you but Him.  From this place we begin to experience a subjective peace that is beyond explanation.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

As I spoke with the Lord about the desire to experience this He gently reminded me that I first have to surrender to Him the circumstances I don’t understand, abide in His love and allow this peace, which is in me, to wash over my soul.  When I give up the right to understand and be in control and accept that I have Him, who is my peace, living in me, He (my peace) begins to overwhelm me in a way beyond explanation.  Pray for me, I don’t live there all the time but I want too.
I’m so grateful to be your shepherd.  The Lord is doing a work in our midst.  We are stretching the limits of our facility and parking.  We have room in first service at 8:30AMand room in the overflow room for second service but each week it seems people drive through the parking lot and leave because the lot and street are full.  Would you help me by parking with me on the grass off the frontage road in front of the church?  I thinkwe can park another 10 cars or so there and that would open up room for our visitors.  I can’t wait to see you Sunday.  Be asking Abba to give you someone you can bring with you.  I’m really excited to share with you what the Lord has given me.

You are loved!

Pastor Tim