COV LIFE BLOG

Advent Week 2 – The Birth of Jesus Brings Hope

 

The most basic need we have is peace with God. This is foundational to all our pursuits of peace. If we don’t go here first, all other experiences of peace will be superficial and temporary.

The key passage here is Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith [there’s the pivotal act of believing], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justified means that God declares you to be just in his sight by imputing to you the righteousness of Jesus. And he does that by faith alone: “Since we have been justified by faith.” Not by works. Not by tradition. Not by baptism. Not by church membership. Not by piety. Not by parentage. But by faith alone. When we believe in Jesus as the Savior and the Lord and the supreme Treasure of our lives, we are united to him and his righteousness is counted by God as ours. We justified by faith.

And  the result is peace with God. God’s anger at us because of our sin is put away. Our rebellion against him is overcome. God adopts us into his family. And from now on all his dealings with us are for our good. He will never be against us. He is our Father, and our Friend. We have peace. We don’t need to be afraid any more. This is foundational to all other people.

And because we have peace with God because of being justified by faith, we can begin to grow in the enjoyment of peace with ourselves — and here I include any sense of guilt or anxiety that tends to paralyze us or make us hopeless. The picture here is that our hearts and our minds are under assault. Guilt, worries, threats, confusions, uncertainties — they all threaten our peace. And Paul says that God wants to “guard” your hearts and minds. He guards them with his peace. He guards them in a way that goes beyond what human understanding can fathom. Don’t limit the peace of God by what your understanding can see. He gives us inexplicable peace, supra-rational peace. And he does it when we take our anxieties to him in prayer and trust him, that he will carry them for us (1 Peter 5:7) and protect us.

The third relationship where God wants us to enjoy his peace is in our relationships with other people. This is the one we have least control over. For many of you when you get together with family for Christmas, there will be some awkward and painful relationships. Some of the pain is very old. And some of it is new. In some relationships you know what you have to do, no matter how hard it is. And in some of them you are baffled and don’t know what the path of peace calls for.

In both cases the key is trusting the promises of God with heartfelt awareness of how he forgave you through Christ. I think the text that puts this together most powerfully for me again and again is Ephesians 4:31–32, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Continually cultivate a sense of amazement that in spite of all your sins God has forgiven you through Christ. Be amazed that you have peace with God. It’s this sense of amazement, that I, a sinner, have peace with God, that makes the heart tender, kind and forgiving. Extend this to others seventy times seven.

And then you will be like the angels: Glory to God in the highest is the first thing. Peace among his people is the second thing.

John Piper


Heart Preparation
Read Luke 2:1-20 and consider the peace that Christ brings. In which sphere of you life to you most need peace? Is it with yourself, with men, or most importantly with God?

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Posted on: December 16, 2012 - 12:00AM

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