I am so incredibly grateful for my crazy awesome life. I love how God has enabled me to have the time, space and desire to serve Him in the way I do. So often I am so busy complaining about “putting to death” the selfish greedy desires of my flesh that I forget living life without greed is a source of great joy.
I can so easily forget that budgeting and a frugal lifestyle enable me to be emotionally available for a lot of people. I forget the blessing of trading in eating out for time to connect with God and those around me. I forget that it is I who made the decision to trade in the tyranny of money for the freedom of love. It is I who have chosen to follow God in the rhythms (spiritual disciplines) I believe He has invited me into, and it is these rhythms that I am so grateful for as I introduce this week’s topic because it is these rhythms that have allowed me to know Him more deeply than I ever have before.
I have been spending some time in the book of Romans. One day it struck me how towards the end of the book the Apostle Paul refers to God as the “God of peace”. He does so twice.
The God of peace be with you all, Amen.
The God of peace will soon crush satan under your feet.
I particularly love Paul’s second reference. The God of peace is going to do something violent and crush satan under the feet of believers. I love it!
I also noticed the stark contrast “God of peace” had with the beginning of the letter. In the beginning, God wasn’t introduced as approaching humans in peace. He was introduced as approaching the world with wrath.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who…
Not a very peaceful way to introduce a character. But as the letter ends, the Apostle Paul confidently asserts God is the “God of peace”. I love how he never chose to say love, joy or patience though God is also all those things. Paul simply calls Him the God of peace and the God of Hope. Two things God didn’t seem to be in the beginning of Paul’s explanation of the gospel message.
But somewhere in chapter 5 the concept is introduced.
Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…
A little later Paul asserts, “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him.”
I like being saved from God’s wrath because frankly I have done a lot of really pathetic things in my life. I have hurt a lot of people. I have mocked God’s authority a lot. (I don’t like authority much. I can tell because my least favorite part of Romans is chapter 13.) God doesn’t like it one single bit when people are hurt. He doesn’t like it when the innocent are abused. He doesn’t like it when I gossip, slander, curse, lie, lust or steal. He was really mad about it before Jesus paid my debt.
For many years, I have known what the word “atonement” meant. I could give some sort of theological definition for it, but I couldn’t tell you how it actually looked in real life. I couldn’t give you one example of what atonement looked like in my everyday life. It was only fairly recently when someone took the time to explain to me what atonement actually was in a way I could actually understand it.
You see, I have spent a good deal of my time rebelling against God. Every time I rebelled against Him, I owed Him more. If the price of sin could be determined by money, I would owe God a larger amount of money than any of us could actually comprehend on account of the evil I have committed against God’s creatures and Himself. The way I have treated them with hate and not love. But for the sake of this story, let’s say I owed God $250 million for my sins. That is more than I have any opportunity of making in my life. I have no way of paying it off on my own.
God was really mad at me. Rightfully so. I was going to have to pay the money to Him or I was going to have to pay with my life. Then Jesus came along. He decided to give God $500 million for my debt of $250 million. My, but did that make God smile. It reminds me of a verse in Romans where Paul says Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Jesus really is the final answer. All I need to do is just trust what He says.
I am so grateful God is my God of peace. I can relax and be at rest. God is not mad at me, so it doesn’t matter if everyone else is. Which coincidentally, reminds me of another verse in Romans…
Do you have peace with God? What would you give to have peace with God? Do you think it is possible for you to attain peace with God without someone else paying the debt of your sin?