Summary: When we understand salvation by grace through faith, we can have true peace
Have you ever heard the way Jewish people greet one another? They say "Shalom." "Shalom." It means "peace." When you look at the writings of the New Testament, you’ll see that this greeting is often used. Paul often says "grace and peace unto you" as he begins and/or ends his letters. When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, in John chapter 20, He said, "Peace be with you!" In fact, He said it to them twice, because they were so shocked at seeing Him.
What greater desire could man have than the desire for peace? What greater gift could we wish for someone than peace? Let me quickly point out that when I talk of peace, I’m not just talking about an absence of war. You know and I know that it is possible to be in the calmest of situations and have no peace inside of us. It’s also possible to be in situations of great turmoil, yet still have peace in our hearts and peace in our minds.
The peace I want to look at today is peace with God. It is that state of absolute trust toward God, it is the absence of fear as regards our relationship with God. It is the peace of an infant nestled in his mother’s arms, the peace of the small child who knows his father’s protection. With peace comes rest. With peace comes calm. With peace comes quiet confidence.
Jesus said to His disciples: "These things I have spoken unto you that in me you might have peace. In this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer… I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) Our God is a God of peace who offers a gospel of peace.
So let’s take a look at peace with God. Please open your Bibles to Romans, chapter 5. We’ll be reading the first 11 verses:
Rom. 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 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. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 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.
Rom. 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Paul says that our peace with God comes because of our having been justified by faith. You see, when we understand that by faith we are given access to God’s grace, God’s unmerited grace, then we can begin to have peace with God. As long as we are convinced that our salvation depends on our own actions, as long as we think that we have to do something to be good enough for God to save us, then we will never have peace. It’s impossible. If we live our lives with the idea that one little slip up, one little mistake and God will ZAP us, we can never know what it is to have peace with God. If we think that we have to be right on every single doctrine, that every practice done in faith must be done exactly right, if we think that our salvation depends on precision obedience, peace will not be a part of our lives. We will always have that doubt: "Have I done enough? Did I get everything right?" But when we can see the love of a God that would reach out to the sinners and the ungodly, that would send His son to die for His enemies, then we can begin to have peace. We can the hope of glory, the hope that does not disappoint: "3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 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." We have God’s precious Holy Spirit to remind us of that incredible love that makes our hope a certainty. He is a constant reminder of our Father’s love.