Tag Archives: peace with God

A RIVER OF CONSEQUENCES

A RIVER OF CONSEQUENCES

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5.

It has happened. We have been justified. It is a cut-and-dried fact!

Not only that, but justification releases a river of consequences. The first one is peace with God. The war is over. God and man have been reconciled. God and we have “smoked the peace pipe” and there is no longer any reason for Him to be at odds with us. The solid ground of peace with God is that the reason for the war has been removed. Where once the broken law was the issue, it no longer exists. Jesus has satisfied God’s holy standards by living a perfect life and then doing away with the law as a standard of judgment by setting up a new law that encapsulates the old perfectly.

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” 1 John 3:23

Jesus has become God’s standard of judgment and, because we are now “in Him” through faith in Him, we wear His righteousness as a covering for our sin. Justification, and the peace with God which follows, is our legal standing before Him. We can approach Him without fear, look Him in the face and receive His smile of approval because there is nothing left to condemn or separate us from Him.

Through Jesus, we have been given access into God’s grace – all His resources of love, strength and enabling that we need to live our lives in and for Him. We have a standing in grace – we are surrounded with His favour as David experienced:

“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with favour as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12.

Another consequence flows from justification – the hope of the glory of God. What does this mean? When Adam sinned, the whole human race was plunged into darkness – selfish and self-centred living that brought chaos and conflict into the world because everyone was looking out for number one. Jesus died in our place, not only to deal with our sin but with our sinfulness as well. That means that, through the power of the Holy Spirit we are being and will be restored to God’s original intention, to be replicas of Him in our nature and behaviour.

But how does this happen? Strangely enough, the very hardships we experience, which we so often use to accuse God of not loving us, or of punishing us for something we have done wrong (which cannot be because God has already punished Jesus for all sin, ours and everyone else’s), are God’s way of knocking off the rough edges so that we begin to understand and share in the hardships of others instead of being self-absorbed and self-centred.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? …They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness, No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:7; 9-11.

Three more consequences flow from our training to reflect God’s glory: perseverance, character, hope. Have you ever noticed how God’s children who have suffered much have been mellowed by it and are full of hope for their future in the life to come? Paul says, “Revel in it! There are indescribably great things up ahead.”

These consequences go full circle – they begin with God’s great love for us and they work in us until God’s love is poured through us to touch the lives of others who, in turn, follow the same pattern, over and over again and on and on. Justified; peace; grace; perseverance; character; hope; love, and it all flows out of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

8 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF PEACE

8 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF PEACE

Our life in the kingdom of God is very secure. However, we have an enemy who will use every weapon at his disposal to knock us off balance and derail us as we walk with Jesus in the Word.

Jesus left us a legacy on the eve of His death that protects us against the devil’s wiles. Woven into His teaching about the Holy Spirit in John 14-16, He promised His disciples the three most powerful defensive weapons against the devil’s deception. Mankind lost these weapons when Adam sinned and was left with guilt, shame and fear. Jesus restored them to us when the Holy Spirit came to live in us as His temple.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…”

HIS LOVE, HIS JOY and HIS PEACE

Today we focus on God’s PEACE because

  1. His peace is the gauge that monitors our progress in believing and living by the truth provided for us in the Word.
  1. God’s peace is the referee in this game of life. It tells us when we are on the path and leaves us when we have wandered off in our beliefs and behaviour and need to return (repent).
  1. God’s peace us our weapon against Satan’s attempts to drive a wedge between us and God.

How can we know if we are believing and walking in the truth rather than falling for deception?

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 NLT

God gives us His peace like shoes to protect our feet as we stand against all the schemes of the devil. In order to be secure in our position in Christ, we need to be standing on both feet to enjoy the full benefits of this power of peace.

“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” Ephesians 6:15 NLT

  1. PEACE WITH GOD

Everyone born into the world is God’s enemy until he/she is reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus.

“But there is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord .” Isaiah 48:22 NLT

However, God intervened while we were still enemies. He provided forgiveness through the sacrifice of His Son. By faith, we receive His forgiveness and He reconciles us to Himself in response.

“And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ… For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them…” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NL 

“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.” Romans 5:10 NLT

Now we have a standing in God that is permanent…We are not guilty… We have been declared RIGHTEOUS. No matter what we do, we are righteous in God’s sight. We have been delivered from Satan’s power to influence us and are now under the influence of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,” Colossians 1:13 NLT

The outcome is 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

This is the one shoe that protects our minds against the guilt, shame and fear that Satan uses to alienate us from the Father. Whenever the devil tries to bring us into condemnation, God’s peace reassures us that we are righteous, no matter what.

When we have sinned, we feel guilty because it is a natural inclination to revert to feelings of guilt, shame and fear, and the devil reinforces our guilt feelings by accusing us.

It is the Holy Spirit’s task to convince us that we are righteous when we have sinned. He does not convict us by making us feel guilty. He calls us back because we are righteous.

PEACE with God, then, deals effectively with the sin issue. Jesus forgave all our sin, past, present and future. God has declared us permanently righteous.

  1. THE PEACE OF GOD

Although we have peace with God, we are still vulnerable if we only stand on one foot. We need to have both feet fitted with the shoes of peace and firmly planted on the ground of truth.

The PEACE OF GOD is the other shoe that protects the other foot.

How can we experience this “peace of God”?

“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.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Worry or anxiety diverts our attention from God’s promises to our circumstances. Worry, anxiety and fear are three of Satan’s most effective distractors to get us away from our confidence in God. Fear is the opposite of faith.

Two definitions will help us understand the difference.

Faith is “calling those things that are not as though they were.”

Fear is “calling those things that have not happened as though they had.”

Paul adds thanksgiving to our prayers as the way to focus on God and move our attention from our bad experiences and feelings to God.

I focus on three non-negotiable truths about God.

– God is here

– God is good

– God is in charge

Prayer in and of itself will not deal with our anxieties. We tend to tell God what we think He wants to hear. We need to be honest about the way we feel. I call it “spilling our guts” to God. Our bad feelings are the confirmation of the lies we believe. When we “spill our guts” to God, we are actually confessing that our beliefs are contrary to the Word.

When we “come clean” with God, a miracle happens. He sweeps our hearts clean of all that stuff and replaces it with His peace so powerful that it guards our hearts and minds against the anxieties and fears that plagued us.

Once we experience the security of standing firmly on both feet with the shoes of God’s peace in place, there is an infallible way to maintain that peace.

“eceived from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of pAnd now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and reace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 NLT

Once again, we come back to the importance of renewing our minds. This is war!

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV

Paul tells us how to wage war with the lies in the mind that control our lives and the lives of others. Our weapon is “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”. We use truth to destroy the strongholds of lies that open us to worry, anxiety and fear.

The outcome of victory over Satan’s devices is amazing.

“Then the God of peace will be with you.” This means much more than God’s passive presence. This means that God has your back. He is 100‰ for you and will fight for you, no matter what!

When we do our bit… put on the shoes of peace and stand firmly on both feet, God will do His bit.

He will place a garrison of peace around your heart and mind and fight for you in every struggle against the wiles of the devil.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.