What is the most sought after thing in all the world?
Is it money? A man says he will be happy if he could save ten thousand dollars. He gets his then thousand, but he would like to have fifty thousand dollars. He gets the fifty thousand, and wants a million. And on it goes until he amasses his fortune. His frenzied efforts prove that he is not really seeking money, but something else, an intangible something, which the possession of money has not bought him.
Someone else may think that the most sought after thing in the world is power. Elect a man sheriff, and he will think of the state legislature. Elect him to the legislature, and he will aspire to be congressional representative. If he reaches Washington, he will want to go back as senator. Let him attain the senate and hew ill think in terms of the presidency. Elect him president once, and he wants to be president twice. What does this prove? That it is not the mere place of power that the man is seeking, but something else that he believes success and power will bring him. Napoleon said, “What a bore life is! What a cross!”
You may run the gamut of human effort and attainment and it will always be the same story. The possession of education, fame, wealth, power, success, does not bring what men really want.
Even our founding fathers did not think of guaranteeing to us life, liberty, and happiness—but only life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The explanation is that what man is really seeking can never be found by man, for it is PEACE!
PEACE is freedom from hostilities and disturbances. It is quiet, tranquility, an undisturbed state from mental or spiritual conflict arising from passion and sense of guilt. A Biblical term for PEACE is REST. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30—
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus said that there is a rest that is GIVEN and a rest that is FOUND. Let’s investigate the difference between these two kinds of PEACE. Our investigation begins at Romans 5:1, which speaks of the PEACE that is GIVEN—
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first word of this chapter is THEREFORE. It has well been said that THEREFORES are there for a purpose. This one opens the door from our past into our present and glorious future. It is the stone rolled away from the tomb of death to resurrection.
Whenever we see the word THEREFORE, we are to ask, “What’s it there for?” Here it refers back to everything revealed to this point in the Book of Romans. The BAD NEWS that God’s wrath against mankind is being revealed from heaven and no one is exempt from it because there is no one righteous, not even one! And the GOOD NEWS that a righteousness from/of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for justification. The fruits and effects of this great blessing of justification find their spring and source in God. It is God that justifies, not our efforts or faith. HE GIVES PEACE.
A blessed change takes place when we become a true believer. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.
The holy, righteous God, cannot be at peace with a sinner, while under the guilt of sin. Forgiveness removes the sin and justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. This is through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the great Peacemaker, the Mediator between God and man.
Colossians 1:19-23 tells how God completely changes our life through Christ the PEACEMAKER. Verses 19-20 reveal how Christ made peace for us—
For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Verse 21 recounts WHAT WE WERE in the PAST—
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
First, we were ALIENATED FROM GOD. An alien is one who does not belong. He does not share the benefits of citizenship. The natural man does not want to have fellowship with God. He is not at home with God. This state of affairs has been brought about through sin.
Second, we were ENEMIES IN OUR MINDS, that is actively hostile. This is the natural sequel to alienation. Romans 8:7 states—
The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
Unsaved people do not take kindly to God’s demands until faith enlightens them. Therefore, evil behavior is the outcome of alienation and hostility toward God.
Every word of Romans 5:1 and Colossians 1:19-23 breathes Paul’s personal experience. On the day great persecution broke out against the church, Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. But as he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.
Enlightened by faith in Christ, Paul did an about-face from the Great Persecutor of the Church to its Great Preacher. Alienation and hostility vanished into the past as PEACE WITH GOD flooded his heart and mind for the present and future.
Colossians 1:22 describes WHAT WE ARE and WHAT WE SHALL BE—
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
WHAT WE ARE in the PRESENT is RECONCILED. When alienation and hostility are removed, we cease to resist God. There is no longer any barrier, but the possibility of mutual love and friendship. The basis of reconciliation is the physical death of Christ on the Cross.
WHAT WE SHALL BE in the FUTURE is HOLY, WITHOUT BLEMISH and FREE FROM ACCUSATION. However weak and inadequate we may feel now, we are to look to the future. The whole plan of God is aimed to produce a holy people.
Verse 23 sets forth two conditions for the present and future aspects of Christ’s peace—
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
The two conditions for experiencing peace with God are continuance and stability.
CONTINUE IN YOUR FAITH is an ongoing reliance on Christ for reconciliation—PEACE WITH GOD. The same Greek term is translated CONTINUE and REMAIN. Jesus uses it as the condition of salvation and fruitfulness in John 15:4—
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
The believer’s responsibility is to REMAIN or CONTINUE in Christ.
ESTABLISHED AND FIRM is the second condition for experiencing the peace with God. Christians dwell in the midst of moving currents. How is stability possible? STABILITY is possible when we are centered in the Gospel, not in ourself. The Gospel is not open to change. It is still the same that Paul preached.
If we are to withstand the stand against the Devil’s schemes, we must put on the whole armor of God. Part of the armor to have our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.
A Roman soldier equipped with sandals was unable to advance in the heat of battle and stand firm against the attacks of the enemy. With the Gospel of Peace, we can tread the rough ways, surmount our difficulties, and hold out to the end.
Believers who walk in the way of peace are on a solid foundation. God secures them in Christ from all condemnation by the law, sin, Satan, the world, or their own hearts. The peace in their own souls keeps them through Christ as in a garrison, from being overset with the troubles of the world, or the temptations of Satan; and is a means of preserving them from being carried away with the errors and heresies of the wicked.
Like a coin, RIGHTEOUSNESS has two sides: The outcome of IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS is PEACE WITH GOD. IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS results in the PEACE OF GOD.
WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD shows that all men, till they are justified, are at war with God, and that He is at war with them. But when they are justified by faith, the wrath of God, which abides on those who believe not on His Son, is turned away, and they cease to be enemies to God. Jesus said in John 3:36—
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
PEACE WITH GOD ends hostility and brings with it every blessing. There is no middle place for man between the love and the wrath of God.
PEACE WITH GOD flows from an interest in the blood, righteousness, and atonement of Christ. God’s wrath is appeased by Christ’s blood—His turbulent passions of anger, wrath, and revenge are pacified. Our God has called Himself the God of peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Romans 5:1 is not telling us of God’s own peace with which He fills certain Christian hearts, but of that peace which exits between Him and all born again believers.
PEACE WITH GOD is an external objective reality that is GIVEN. On the other hand, THE PEACE OF GOD is an internal, subjective reality that is FOUND.
The PEACE OF GOD is experienced in the seat of the will and affections. Colossians 3:15 says—
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
We begin to FIND inner peace when we follow the formula of Colossians 3:16-17—
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
This formula for the PEACE OF GOD contains five important ingredients.
The first ingredient is LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU RICHLY. The Christian must listen to Christ’s voice. It is to be received richly in all its fullness and variety.
The second ingredient is TEACH AND ADMONISH ONE ANOTHER WITH ALL WISDOM. Every Christian is to be involved in the sharing of wisdom that comes from the Scriptures with others.
The third ingredient is SING PSALMS, HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS WITH GRATITUDE IN
YOUR HEARTS TO GOD. All spiritual awakenings burst into song. Paul recognized the connection of singing praise to God and peace in the heart.
The fourth ingredient is WHATEVER YOU DO, WHETHER IN WORD OR DEED, DO IT ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS. It is revolutionary to do everything and say everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. This wipes out all self-interest. Everything becomes Christ-centered.
The fifth ingredient is GIVING THANKS TO GOD THE FATHER THROUGH HIM. The peace of God will rule in our hearts as we feed on the Word and worship God with gratitude and thanksgiving.
The PEACE OF GOD flows from PEACE WITH GOD.
A second formula for the PEACE OF GOD appears in appears in Philippians 4:4-9—
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
The Peace of God is found in the secret of being content in any and every situation. What keeps us from being content?
First, the un-contented fail to REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS—that is covered by the first formula of Colossians 3:15-17.
Second, the un-contented fail at GENTLENESS. The Greek term is used of kings, who show clemency or leniency. It is the attitude of Christ Jesus described in Chapter 2 of Philippians. The weak want to assert their dignity, but Christ having divine authority and power shows meekness and gentleness. People who consider others better than themselves enjoy the peace of God.
Third, the un-contented fail at TRUSTING GOD. They are ANXIOUS about anything, and everything. The Christian who enjoys the peace of God is the one who prays, petitions, and presents requests to God with thanksgiving.
Fourth, the un-contented fail at THINKING. Instead of positive thinking, they think negatively.
Fifth, the un-contented fail at PRACTICING the WORD OF GOD. They do not let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly.
We FIND the PEACE OF GOD by combining these two formulas—through them the fruit of the Spirit is produced in our life—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control.
Let’s return to PEACE WITH GOD, which we are GIVEN. Because of God’s holiness and justice, God’s wrath must fall on the individual who is hostile toward Him. That’s why men are called by nature children of wrath. It should be evident that if there is to be peace between a human being and God, the terms must be imposed by God Himself.
The reason why men go to Hell is because they will not submit their wills to the Creator. God, being the eternal God, the supreme Being must have His way, because He alone is right. Every other way is the way of the creature, the way of earth.
In spite of the logic of this fact, people talk about making their peace with God. Folks, you cannot make peace with God. Colossians 1:19-20 states—
For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. .
It is God who makes peace, not man! This fact is of paramount importance. God has made peace and no other peace can be made except that which He has already made. To talk about making your peace with
God is to reject His peace.
Christ purchased peace with His blood. In turn, God offers PEACE to mankind as a gift. If man rejects the peace which God has made at the Cross, he remains at enmity with God.
Our text points out that PEACE WITH GOD is an accomplished fact only when we are JUSTIFIED BY FAITH. God credited our sins to Christ and His righteousness to us on the Cross. But to be made right with God, we must receive the gift by faith. Romans 10:9 says—
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
We obtain ACCEPTANCE before God through faith, but not only acceptance but ACCESS. Verse 2a—
Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
The believer’s access to God is one of the most precious truths of the Bible. When the Law was given at Mt. Sinai, the people stood afar off and were warned repeatedly that they should not come near to God or they would die. When the Tabernacle and Temple were built a curtain separated the people, even the priests, from God’s presence in the Holy of Holies.
Access to God was closed, except to the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. With the proper blood offerings, he entered through the curtain and sprinkled the blood on the Atonement Cover of the Ark of the Covenant, which symbolized the throne of grace. Until Matthew 27:50-51, this was the only way to have access God for fifteen centuries—
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Our Great High Priest entered into the heavenly Holy of Holies. God the Son’s blood was sprinkled on the throne of grace. God the Father accepted it. Through Christ we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
Our POSITION is righteousness by faith and our PRIVILEGE is access by faith.
I doubt if I could ever obtain a fifteen-minute audience with the President of the United States, a finite human being who will soon pass away. Indeed no one has free access to him at all times; not his wife or daughter, not the Secretary of State, not his most intimate adviser. No one has free access at all times.
Not only I, but you also have access to God the Father at all times. We can approach Him and talk with Him while He listens at our convenience. If we maintain our fellowship with Him, we’ll never get an answering machine or a busy signal. He can give individual attention to millions of petitioners at the same time.
Since we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand, we can bring our sorrow and grief; come with our questions and problems; come with our anxiety and fear; come with our troubles and woes, and cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.
No wonder Paul adds at the end of verse 2—
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
HOPE is ANTICIPATION and FAITH is ASSURANCE.
In what HOPE are we to rejoice? What are you anticipating? What are you seeking? This morning’s SEEK as on the cover Colossians 3:1-2—
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above . . . Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
THE GLORY OF GOD speaks of the incomparable riches of Christ and God’s grace. They exceed the riches of this world, in their vastness, being unsearchable, inexhaustible and durable—lasting forever.
PEACE WITH GOD and THE PEACE OF GOD are just a foretaste of the marvelous salvation that God has in store for those who place their trust in Him.
Walking in Abraham’s footsteps of faith, we are were longing for a better country—a heavenly one, where God has prepared a city for us. Like Abraham, we are pilgrims on earth, assured of heaven, so as we cherish our inheritance we rejoice with the grace and peace in which we stand.
On Christ, the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.
THE CHRISTIAN’S STAND—ACCEPTANCE and ACCESS—as well as JOY, HOPE and GLORY are all wrapped up in my favorite verses, Romans 5:1-2—
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 rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Four blessings accompanying JUSTIFICATION: PEACE WITH GOD
ACCESS INTO THE GRACE OF GOD STANDING WITH GOD
HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD
The glorious riches of justification is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
That’s cause to REJOICE! For God has given to man the most sought after thing: THE PRINCE OF PEACE. For it is THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, we have PEACE.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The God of peace be with you all. Amen.