Romans 5:1-1, 3-5 – “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
On Sunday, December 14, our third Sunday in Advent, we are focusing on the contrast between peace and conflict. We watch the news and see conflict in Ferguson that reminds us that we ultimately have a sin problem, not a skin problem. We hear about church conflicts and divisions. We hear about relational conflict that divides friends and family. We hear about conflict more than we hear about peace.
Until Jesus Christ returns, we will continue to deal with conflict. We will continue to face trials and clouds of suffering that will leave our hearts in turmoil. We will disagree with our spouses and children. There will continue to be conflict around us. Yet, in the midst of this conflict do we have a deep and true understanding of peace within us?
Paul helps us to see that the foundational source of turmoil and conflict is also what has created the chasm between us and God. This foundational source itself is sin. In Romans 5 he says that being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Christ! Truly Jesus Christ alone is able to bring us the peace that transcends understanding. It is this peace that leads believers to rejoice in sufferings. I know what you are thinking! If there is a peace that leads me to be able to rejoice in my sufferings, then I want a “peace” of that!
At the core of what Paul is saying is the fact that the true and inner source of peace that we can have because of Jesus Christ doesn’t just give us warm fuzzies, but it gives a deep and real sense of contentment! The contentment that we can have in Christ is born out of the bridge that Christ provides in ushering us into the presence of God. As we are ushered into the presence of God through the torn veil, the promises of God given in God’s Word apply to us. As we are adopted as sons and daughters of God, we are said to be heirs with Christ. The benefits of God’s promises now apply to us. Ultimately, we know we can have peace because we know where our eternal future lies.
The peace that God brings to us transcends this earth. It helps us to understand that the difficulties and trials that we endure are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory. The difficulties we face are significant, yet should become more and more minimal as we consider the inner peace that we have in Christ.
As you grow older day after day, are you growing in your peace? Are you becoming more trusting or more worried? Is turmoil in your heart increasing or are you becoming more and more aware of the peace that only Christ can bring? May the peace of Christ fill our hearts and create within us a deep and unshakable faith!