Friday, January 7, 2011

Peace with God

Part 1 of 4: Some Fruits of Justification Series
Gleaned from Romans 5:1-4

"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. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (NIV)

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One of the things I realized with the recent Maguindanao Massacre is that in some places, warlords still reign. Imagine your self having to live in a province where all the powers belong to one family. And let's suppose further that they are wrathful towards you. Your life is in danger don't you think? Perhaps its time to migrate.

Unlike evil men, God is gracious towards his creatures. He gives them things to enjoy like life, breath and food. He is all-righteous and all holy. The bad news is God is righteously wrathful towards sinners who continually rebel against him. (Rom.1:18). Psalm 7:11-- “God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath everyday”

If the warlords in the province are furious against you, you can seek asylum in a faraway province. But how could you flee from the fury of God? Where will you go? You can go as far as the Netherlands and be with Jose Maria Sison, and still you cannot flee from the wrath of God. Even if you fly to another galaxy, you cannot hide from him.

Jeremiah 23:24
“Can anyone hide in secret places
    so that I cannot see him?"
        declares the LORD.
    "Do not I fill heaven and earth?"
But look at our text, it says we have peace with God as a result of this justification.

The Christian concept of peace (Eirene in Greek) is very much influenced by the Hebrew equivalent “Shalom”. In English, we say we are at peace with your neighbor simply for the reason that there is no hostility between the two of you. Even if you don't talk to each other or even greet one another, we say its peace as long as we don't quarrel. I'll mind my own business, you mind yours. That is peace-- absence of conflict. But the Hebrew Shalom which is carried over in Christianity is more than the absence of hostility. . There must be a harmonious relationship for it to be called Shalom.

This is the concept here. We have peace with God not just because of the absence of war between us and God but because we live in harmony and intimacy with our God. This is the first fruit of justification we have gleaned from our text.

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