Peace Within

    Following Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 they people were left feeling something that no one likes to feel.  The text says they were cut to the heart.  They thought that they were justified in their actions.  They thought they were justified in their belief.  Then Peter opened their eyes to the true gospel and the peace they had made with themselves was no longer there.

    In Romans 5 Paul has already been going back and forth between the two primary groups that made up the Roman Christians there.  He’d address the issues needing attention on the gentiles side of the street but then quickly addresses issues on the Jews side of the street.  One of the main issues he address in those chapters is the question of how can one stand justified before God.

    There were many that believed that they were justified because of their direct lineage to Abraham, thus the flesh.  Second to that what further justified them was their so-called keeping of the law.  Paul is teaching them that there is no place attitudes that thought they were better than the other.  He taught when it comes to justification before God it’s faith and not works.  He’d then use Abraham as a prime example of that biblical and spiritual truth.

    So…like those in Acts 2 who stood confident in their self-righteousness and justification they too were faced with the truth and then had to have experienced that same feeling of that inner peace and confidence fleeting away.  You’ve been there as well as have I.  That moment we truly realized that we were lost and could not save ourselves. 

    Paul then quickly teaches though where that true peace is found.  “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.   We could spend pages talking about what being justified by faith means and looks like as Paul will continue to explain in his letter.

   For right now, however, I just want to take a moment and think about our confidence of having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the 5th chapter Paul says that children of God have peace, reason to rejoice, and ultimately hope.  All 3 are connected in that true peace with God enables us to rejoice even in times of suffering and it produces that hope.

    I think we’d all agree that everyone deep down wants peace.  It’s what we all search for in many different ways.  The world says that such peace comes from circumstances.  If everything is going well at work, home, or church then we have peace.  The world says that such peace comes from locations.  Some go hiking, hunting, fishing, running, shopping, and that’s where they find peace.

    While sometimes we may find ourselves seeking peace in those ways as well we know that that true peace only comes by accessing God’s grace.  It’s peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4).  It’s peace that comes from the God of peace and the Prince of peace.  And yet there are so many who sadly have never experienced that.

    Everyone was saddened about the events that took place in Orlando in the matter of 3 days.  A popular young singer is shot and killed, 49 were killed in the nightclub shooting with many more injured, and a 2 year old little boy was killed by and alligator while at a Disney Resort.  My heart breaks for all of those victims and their families but what is even more sad is them facing death and our Lord without that peace.

    Peter encourages us to “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”  Those words were written in the wake of him talking about the coming of our Lord.  I want to encourage us all to draw closer to God and have that peace ourselves.  When we find that peace I want to encourage us to share it.  Like to those in Rome too often we find ourselves looking down on others and having a higher-than-thou attitude.  Let’s put it away and start sharing the peace that we have, by God’s grace, through our Lord Jesus Christ.