“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Bible is filled with stories of faith and fear, success and ruin, miracles and commonplace. The scriptures contain the commands of God written on stone, the teachings of God delivered in person, and the exhortations of his ministers on the divine will. There are do’s and there are do not’s. These are all done and delivered to us for a single purpose—to restore peace with God according to the divine design. You see, humanity was meant to live at peace with God.
So, what’s the problem?
Peace with God has always, and at all times, been by personal choice. It is a peace built upon a mutual desire for love and fellowship. The scriptures are the terms and conditions that God, as the offended party, has offered as a treaty of peace and sworn by his own holiness to accept.
These conditions, like the God who offers them, have not changed since Creation. They are summed up by Jesus in simple terms, love God with your entire being, and your fellow human beings as yourself.
So, why all the pages of text?
In a word—examples. All those stories tell about the ways in which people have tried to live at peace with God. Living by conscience, by law, and by faith, in all of this, humanity on its own, has failed. Like Peter walking on water, we see the monumental impossibility of what we are trying to do and how it flies in the face of what we believe about our world.
We complicate what God has made simple because we cannot accept it is as simple as laying down our weapons and surrendering. Humanity’s war of rebellion against God began with a simple choice. I’m paraphrasing but delivering to you the Gospel, nonetheless.
God said, “If you love me, then leave that tree right there alone.” Our ancestors didn’t leave the tree alone. As a result, humanity was cursed, passing along the inbred rebellion we all know so well.
God proposed a remedy. He said, “If you love me, come unto me without reservation and love me.” The result of asking in obedience to the call is peace with God.
Mouthing the words won’t do, pretending won’t make it so, even believing and positive thinking is not enough. You must admit the defeat and futility of your own efforts in heartfelt surrender to God.
At that point, God steps in. You still have to face life and everything that entails. The difference is that God is there inside you providing direction, strength, and patient forgiveness as you grow up in His kingdom.
We all are everlasting beings. After physical death, we will live beyond time, space, and matter as we know it. However, like life here and now, we will live with God or without Him—the choice is always ours.
One last note. Where does a person find God so that they might go to Him? I will let the writer of Psalm 107 tell you. (The book really does have the answers.)
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves. They (the sailors riding the waves) mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro like a drunken man and are at their wit’s end.
Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses.
When you are tossed around by life and are at your wit’s end…there is God and His offer of peace. Wise men still seek Him.