Peace with God

Have you ever questioned your salvation? Have you ever wondered if your baptism was valid? Have you ever wondered if there is something else you need to do to ensure your salvation is solid? If these questions, or similar questions, have ever passed through your mind you need to read on.

Questions like these have plagued the very thoughts of brothers and sisters, even some preachers and elders, for decades and decades. Often times these thoughts are a result of a compelling desire to do all we can to please the Lord – because we love Him more than words can express. And/or, this desire can be a result of an intense inward gratitude to the Lord.

The problem is that the reality of knowing our shortcomings gets us in trouble. After all, no one knows us better than we know ourselves. And, having this in the forefront of our mind, coupled with the fact that preachers from earliest times have compelled people everywhere to repent instills in us that we can never measure up. Even Paul struggled with doing those things he didn’t want to do.

Jesus said in Luke 13:3 that "unless you repent you will likewise perish". And He repeated himself again just two verses later – that "unless you repent you will likewise perish" Luke 13:5. Obviously "repentance" is paramount, after all, Luke recorded in Acts 2:38, a scripture that the brethren in the churches of Christ have heard quoted many many times, "Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". There is a continual emphasis on repenting in order to be in a right relationship with God. And in numerous other scriptures we are continually being exhorted to "repent".

Every time we come together we hear an invitation offered for the purpose of restoration or repentance. Therefore, we have been inadvertently conditioned to think that we are never in a right relationship with God and some of us feel that the only time righteousness was attained was at the moment of our obedience through baptism. And, from the time we first sin after our baptism, we feel we are in a constant state of being in or out of a right relationship with God.

This exact thought is reflected in our constant saying that we are "all" sinners. Brethren, nothing could be further from the truth. Sinners do not have peace with God, ONLY those "in Christ", "Christians," have peace with God. Peace with God was bought at a very high price. That high price was the blood of Christ. And ONLY through our Lord Jesus Christ is the reality of "peace with God" found. (Romans 5:1)

Now, the "peace of God" is different than having "peace with God". Both are God extending his mercy to His children. Having "peace with God", though nearly incomprehensible, is very much a reality with those who are "in Christ". The first key to the entire puzzle is the legal term "justified". And once justified, it is a done deal. Let me try to explain. Justified has to do with the righteousness of a person. And being justified (made righteous) defines the existing relationship of the person to God as "right". So, if we are justified, we are made "to be as right" in God’s sight. The second key to having "peace with God" is in the words "in Christ." A person "in Christ" is made righteous; they are "justified" or made to be right, (even though they are not). The apostle Paul says we "have it" NOT "will get it," but "have it". Therefore, we need to rejoice because we have "peace with God", because we are justified. Paul, in Romans 8:1 says that because we are justified, there is therefore NOW "No condemnation" for those who are "in Christ".

The apostle Paul told the church in Rome that they had "peace with God" (Romans 5:1). But their peace with God came to them through their faith in Jesus Christ’s power to save, and though they were "simply" people, they were righteous in the sight of God. And, because of their righteousness in the sight of God, they had "peace with God".

So, therefore, knowing that we have "peace with God", our entire perception needs to change regarding who we really are. Yes, Paul’s saying "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", (Romans 8:23) is factual, but it doesn’t describe God’s children once they are justified. We are Christians who occasionally sin, NOT "sinners who sin" continually and without conscience. We are children of God, with an inheritance, for we have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. When God looks down from heaven He sees His son, not us; and because we are "in Christ", we have "peace with God".

Now go, and share the "Good News" with everyone, for God loves them too, and He wants to have peace with them as well. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16