A Voice in the
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God." (vs1-2)
What is the one thing that eludes the world? Both globally and individually, people seek for peace. Nations desire peace, but are continually jockeying and positioning themselves, often through war, for some advantage. While the Middle East continually has 'peace talks' some commentators suggest that total peace is not possible in the region, as long as the world is made up the way it is now.
At the individual level people struggle for peace and contentment. People are fearful for the future. They strive to attain riches in the hopes that that will bring peace. But as my ex-wife used to always say, about that "darkness" deep within her; when she left, she did so to serve -her- 'gods'. She left to 'find' that which was "missing" in her life. But without God, she is still lost in that darkness.
"There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked." (Is57:21) You see, in the beginning, God created man in His own "image". (Gen1:26) It was meant to be a 'relationship' of fellowship. But something happened to make us "enemies" of God. (vs10) We -BECAME- "without strength" (vs6) and "sinners". (vs8) Mankind did not start out in this condition, but in perfection. (Gen1:31) God called His creation "Very good".
We are told that "through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned." (vs12) We've talked about the "Law" in past studies, and how that 'speeding ticket' could not be written for speeding if there was no speed-law. God's Law came through Moses. But there were -centuries- of time between Adam and Moses when there was no Law. Just like we spoke of the person driving too fast, crashing and being killed, even though he had not broken any 'speeding laws' so, too, "death reigned from Adam to Moses". (vs14) God had promised, "..in the day you eat of [the fruit], you shall surely die" (Gen2:17) In Gen ch3, Adam and Eve ate of it. And death has reigned ever since. It doesn't matter whether or not there was a Law. Death is death. It is separation from the Holy God. It is enmity. The fellowship God had intended at creation, is not possible. It is not that God 'doesn't want' fellowship. It is the 'sin' "..but your iniquities have come between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, from hearing." (Is59:2)
How did we get to this place? Adam sinned, and by 'heredity' the whole world is in sin. "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Ps51:5) Why does it seem that everybody is 'fighting' against God? Sin causes us to be "enemies" with God. We have "offended" God. (vs15,17) We are under "condemnation". (vs18) We are guilty. Deserving of God's "wrath". (vs9,1:18) We are in no position to ask God to "come along-side" and become our "friend" as long as we are in sin. He will not countenance us.
However, let us consider what it is that happens when we have "repented toward God"(Acts20:21) and "received" Jesus Christ (Jn1:12) in "faith". (Rom4) How does Jesus Christ bring about "peace" (vs1) and "reconciliation" (vs10) with God?
Jesus "died for the ungodly".(vs6) Let us consider the nature of this sacrifice. Jesus did not die for "friends". People that He was "buddies" with. For those 'equal' to Him. As humans, if we are out with friends and/or family, and one is in peril of some situation, a person might risk life and limb to save that person out of a burning building or from a rushing stream. But if a gutter-bum were on the edge of peril, how many people would jump in to save such a person? But this is what Jesus did for us. We were less-than 'bums'. We were "sinners" and yet God loved us so much that He sent His Son (Jn3:16) Who died for us. (vs8)
What does Jesus' death do? It..
There is also a calm growth that occurs as He "disciplines" us (Heb12:5-11) to result in "peaceable fruit of righteousness". Afflictions bring about patience. Patience results in experience. Hope. And when we have been through His training, we have no need to be ashamed. When God deals with us in such a manner, and we have matured, we 'understand' His love for us. He doesn't merely 'save' us and let us wander about any ol' way we please. He nurtures us with His love, and we understand the Holy Spirit which is given to us. (vs4-5)
A little object lesson to illustrate... Years ago my cat got into a scuffle with another cat, who bit him -real-good- in his rear paw. It became infected, and required a vet to clean up the mess and stitch it up. He remained -indoors- for many months while recouperating. 'Had to be carried up and down the stairs to his food and 'box'. When the wraps came off, there was daily soaking for a period of time. Where he had been used to running and climbing at will, for a period of time he was dependent for 'personal' care and nurturing for everything. This healing time also caused a 'bond' to develope between him and me. During the healing as he began to chew on the stitches, when "no" was said a few times, by the 3rd "no" he would leave the stitches alone. He -understood-. When he was healed and now running loose again, when it was time to come in for the night, he would 'come' when called...rather than being out all night. If I walked down the street to visit a neighbor, he would come looking for me, meowing at me to "come home".
Same thing shepherds would do with wayward sheep. Only, they would -purposely- break a lamb's leg. (That's what the 'crook' was for.) Same thing would happen. As the lamb was -personally- nurtured back to health, a 'bond' would develope between shepherd and sheep, and the sheep would no longer run off and get lost.
The cat (and sheep) would be at 'peace', having been through 'affliction', and been nurtured through it. You see, God's salvation through Jesus Christ does not -merely- rescue us from God's wrath. He saved us by His own blood. He also nurtures us. It's a 'full-service' package-deal. His "grace through faith" (Eph2:8) is not anything we do. It is not of works. (vs9) But He does not stop there. "We are His -WORKMANSHIP-, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordeained that we should walk in them."(vs10)
So, just as an obedient child who has experienced a parent's nurturing 'looks forward to' the parent's return after being away, and runs into their arms; in the same way the Believer can come "boldly" (Heb4:16) to the Father as Jesus "confesses" us before Him. (Rev3:5) As we have "hope" (vs4) looking foward to His "glorious appearing" (Tit2:13) we are prepared to meet Him with "clear conscience" (1Tm1:5,19) and unashamed. (vs5)
With such an outlook regarding our Holy Father after He has saved us and nurtured us, there is truly "peace with God."