Mark D. Roberts

So far in this series I’ve shown how God intended his creation to be full of peace. This intention was broken but not destroyed when the first human sinned against God. Yet God had a plan to restore his shalom on earth, a plan focused on the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, the one who fulfilled the role of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah.

How do we experience God’s peace? It all begins when we enter into relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As we put our trust in him, Jesus not only promises us eternal life in the future, but also he invites us to begin to experience that life right now, however incompletely.

Peace-God-Balrog-5.jpgWhen we receive the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice through faith, we can have 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” (Rom 5:1). Where once we were God’s enemies because of sin, now because of Christ we have been reconciled to God (Rom 5:10-11). The strife between us and the Lord has been overcome by his grace. (Photo: I grew up looking at pictures like this one in evangelistic tracts. The point, obviously enough, is that only through Christ can we have peace with God. Well, okay, the pictures I grew up with didn’t include a Balrog. That’s my addition.)

I realize that this way of thinking about people and God will seem strange to most of us. Even many Christians tend to think of those who are not Christian as being basically good, as being in touch with God to some extent. We think of non-Christian people more as seekers than as God’s enemies in need of peace with God. And, indeed, those who don’t know the Lord may be seekers. But they are also, in a profound sense, both separated from God and opposed to God. Yet God has extended an offer of peace through Jesus Christ. Faith means receiving this offer, putting down our opposition to God, and entering into a peaceful relationship with Him.

Peace with God begins when we experience reconciliation through Christ, but it doesn’t end there. When Paul, a faithful Jew, speaks of “peace with God,” he thinks of the Old Testament concept of shalom. Peace with God includes intimacy, blessing, and the unimpeded flow of divine love. It encompasses everything God had intended for his relationship with us. When we have peace with God, we begin already to live in the restored creation, even while we yearn for that restoration to be completed. Once our peaceful relationship with God is renewed, the other dimensions of peace will follow, including peace with ourselves and peace with others. I’ll explore these dimensions in future posts.

This post is part of a series: Seeking the Peace of Christ: Peacemaking and Christianity. You can read or link to the series by clicking on the series title.

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