Peace with God

by David Thurman
via Gospel Minutes, Vol. 57, No. 48, Nov. 28, 2008.

Do you ever feel that God is mad at you? You know, those times you have messed up and don't think God could love someone like you? Do you ever have moments of doubting that you are a real Christian, that you have failed too many times at too many things to be good enough for God?

Or maybe you are not a Christian yet. You might be thinking that the sins you have committed are so bad, even a loving God would have to be angry with you. You might even think that you have no chance to change or be right with God. You feel lost and cut off from God, and you figure that is how it will always be.

The great apostle Paul wrote a book to you, both those who are not yet Christians and to those who are. In the book of Romans, Paul explains what happens when we are saved by the grace of God, and put our trust in Him and His Plan to save you and me. Take time just here to read Romans 5:1-11. In these verses Paul reassures those of us who believe in Christ that we are safe with the Lord. And he tells those of you who are not saved, how good it can be if you will let the blood of Jesus cleanse you.

We Can Have Peace with God

By putting our trust in the death of Jesus, we can be justified by His sacrifice upon the cross. When that happens, we experience peace with God. This is the great promise, that God is no longer at war with us. When we become Christians, He is no longer our enemy, but our ally. God is now on our side.

This was the announcement made at the birth of Jesus: "And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased" (Luke 2:13,14). God's promise in Jesus Christ is that He offers peace toward all men.

We can see this in fact after the death of Jesus. The Master had been denied by Peter, while the other ten remaining apostles ran away. When Jesus appeared to them, what were His first words? "When therefore it was evening, on that day, the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them: Peace be with you" (John 20:19). Many wonderful things take place when we become Christians. Perhaps the most comforting thing is that you then have peace with God.

We Stand in God's Grace

Paul declares that our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior allows us access to His grace. This is a grace that not only saves us, but it is a grace in which we stand. That is, this grace is an ongoing part of our walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word. We stand in grace. We don't wander off into other theories or theologies. We don't serve other gods. But, if we stand with the Lord we are standing in the place of ongoing grace in our lives. (I Corinthians 15:1,2).

This is what John meant in his first letter: "And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light , and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:5-7). If we stand with the Lord, living in His light, then the blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing us, moment by moment. This grace is like your windshield wipers, constantly removing the guilt of your mistakes, past and present.

You see, you don't need to worry about being right with God. That is what standing in grace is all about. You can be safe with the Lord once you take your stand in His grace. When you do, your past sins are forgiven. And, if you stumble and fail as a Christian, by standing in His grace you stay cleansed at all times.

We Can Exult in Hope and Withstand Tribulations

Once we realize that we have peace with God and that we stand forgiven before Him, we can rejoice in the hope we are given. We can exult (or rejoice) or be happy that we no longer have anything to fear from the wrath of God. Since we have made peace with Him through His Son Jesus Christ, we can stand in joy knowing that we have assurance from Him.

If I look at my life and my weak performance before the Lord, I get nervous, not excited. When I look at how poorly I do what the Lord wants, I get discouraged. That is why God offers me grace in which to stand. Now, in spite of my failures, God will forgive me, keep me cleansed and safe. That leads to a joy the world cannot understand.

This joy is amazing in that it survives every hardship, every attack, every criticism. No matter what troubles the world throws at us, as Christians our joy, our exultation, never wavers. We can be happy with good experiences, we can be joyous even in the midst of bad experiences. If you are not yet a Christian, this is a smart reason to become one. Wouldn't you like to be able to be happy, to be content, to be joyous, even when life is at its worst? For those of us who are Christians, we can learn to be happy, not based on circumstances, but based on the grace of God in which we walk and wherein we stand.

We Are Saved from the Wrath of God

When God made peace with us, He gave up on His anger toward our sins. That is, God is no longer angry with us because of our sins and our rebellion towards Him. We have been reconciled to Him through the blood of His Son by our obedience to His Will.

This is so important to understand. Too many of us, those who are saved and those who are not, think that God is bound to be angry with us. We know all the sinful things we have done. If we are honest, we can point to the sinful things we did today. We know how much God hates sin, how angry He becomes do to our engaging in sin. We know that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). We live with our guilt and know we deserve God's anger toward our sins.

But, in Christ, His anger is removed. God is not angry with you per se, but He is angry with the sins that you commit. Remember, that He loved you so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die upon the cross for the removal of sins (John 3: 16). It has been shown that God doesn't want to have to vent His wrath upon you because of your sins, but He desires that you repent and obey Him.

We Can Exult, Have Joy, in God

Now we are reconciled to God. All the distance between sinful man and the Righteous Lord God has been removed. Through Christ we are brought near to God, into His presence. We have confidence that His anger toward our sins have been abated by our obedience to
His Will.

Yes, you can enjoy living in the presence of God's grace by doing His Will. All you need to do is to hear and obey His Word. "Or do you know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we hae been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3,4).

Doesn't a new kind of life, one without guilt and worry, appeal to you? Wouldn't you like to know that God, instead of being angry because of your sin, is patiently waiting for you to come to Him in penitent obedience? You can have a new life even today if you turn in faith to Jesus, be baptized by a burial in water, for the remission of your past sins. In doing so, you can enjoy all the blessings that are found in Christ Jesus your Lord.