Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Part 2: WHAT PEACE WITH GOD IS NOT
Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Introduction: Peace with God means that one is rightly related toward God. It comes through justification by faith and assures one of everlasting communion with the Lord. Peace with God is the Lord’s greatest blessing, and man’s only hope for salvation.
Satan realizes this. Hence, he does all he can to keep men from experiencing true peace with God. The Devil offers many counterfeits for every genuine blessing of God. Peace with God is not exempted from Satan’s duplicity. It is easy to be duped into believing you have peace with God when all you really have is a counterfeit. Even Christians sometimes misunderstand what peace with God really is. Therefore, it will be worth our while to delineate what peace with God is not. It is not. . . .
I. PEACE WITHOUT JESUS
All false religions teach that one can have peace with God apart from Jesus. The adherents of these groups feel a confidence about their relationship with God. They feel at peace with God, but theirs is a false and poisonous peace.
Our text plainly teaches that peace with God is found through our Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus has no peace with God. God meets man at the cross of Jesus, and nowhere else.
II. PEACE WITH SIN
You cannot have peace with God and peace with sin at the same time. If you can sin without being smitten of heart, something is wrong in your relationship to God. If you have made a peace treaty with some known sin in your life, and are no longer struggling against it, you have a serious spiritual problem.
The man who has peace with God is engaged in a fight to the death with evil. If you love God, you will not love sin. The more you hate your sin, the better. If you have peace with God, there is always going to be war between your flesh and your spirit.
I am amazed at how rarely one finds a believer who fully comprehends this. Often people doubt their salvation because Satan is always tempting them. They moan, “He never leaves me alone.” Do not let his attacks intimidate you. He hates you and wants to antagonize you until you doubt your salvation. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1P 5:8). His constant attacks upon you are not evidence that you are lost. He is a murderer, a liar, the Prince of Darkness, the accuser of the Brethren. He loves to persecute and torment God’s people.
Hence, even Christians struggle constantly with sin. We hate it, but our flesh enjoys it. Conversion does not mean the immediate removal of your old man. You are not immune to temptation. Sin is universal, even among believers. You are stuck with an old sin nature until you die. God takes a lifetime working on us and molding us into the image of His Son.
Sin will always be present in your life, but you must never make peace with it.
III. PEACE WITH THE WORLD
The man who has peace with God does not have peace with the world, for Satan is the god of this world. It is his domain. Believers are pilgrims and strangers in the midst of an alien environment. This is illustrated by:
A. THE WORLD’S EVIL-DOERS
If you have peace with God, you will someday rub someone the wrong way. People who truly live like Jesus cannot move unscathed through the world that crucified Jesus. As long as you serve the Lord, someone in the devil’s crowd will be miffed at you.
B. THE WORLD’S EVENTS
The god of this world, Satan, is a cruel taskmaster. His domain is filled with pain and ugliness. If you have peace with God, you will come to love what God loves, and hate what God hates. Your heart will also begin to hurt as God’s hurts.
News of injustices, poverty, racial strife, war, famine, etc., will cause you great heartache. Victims of suffering will stir your innermost passions. Some believers mistakenly think they should not be too overly worried about such things. They think Christ should take such painful thoughts from their mind.
Not so! The Christian is so deeply moved by the agonies around him that it seems at times he can never have peace of heart. Peace with God will increase your sensitivity, thereby causing you to feel more pain than you have ever felt before.
IV. PEACE WITH YOUR EGO
Your ego causes you to flatter yourself and tempts you to take pride in your own accomplishments. However, peace with God abhors any such thoughts.
Only a Pharisee can swell with pride over his own works and become inebriated on his own successes. The Pharisee who stood on the temple steps and prayed, “Lord, I thank thee that I am not as other men are,” was at peace with his ego, but not at peace with God.
Salvation is all of grace. Everything is received as a gift due to the finished work of Jesus. Any man who has peace with God will acknowledge this fact.
In Eden man fell by seeking to be his own God; and man stays fallen by seeking to be his own Savior. It is an ego problem. Man refuses to be entirely ruled by God and refuses to be entirely saved by God.
V. PEACE WITH YOUR CONSCIENCE
A part of having peace with God is having a conscience within you that functions as God’s prosecuting attorney. Do not confuse peace with indifference. A numbed, insensitive conscience is a warning that you have drifted from God. It signals that a retreat from God is taking place in your heart.
The Bible has been assigned the task of breaking up men’s false peace of conscience. Peace with God can come only after one’s peaceful conscience is shattered. A man can be saved only after he realizes he is condemned before God, and in danger of destruction. Horror precedes peace.
You will not have peace with God until the terror of God shakes your conscience. A lady once felt quite secure in her relationship with God. She knew not the Lord Jesus, and had no serious qualms about her sins. One day she heard a preacher expound the way of salvation. As she listened to the need for salvation, “She trembled like a criminal in the hands of the executioner.” Fortunately, the minister took time to speak with her from our text. This verse became the means whereby the distraught lady found peace with God.
Just a few moments of serious contemplation would suffice to arouse in any man the terror of his lost condition before God. Being at war with God is a serious matter.
For a subject to enter a courtroom in a state of rebellion is to assure forfeiture of life. But even more appalling is to consider a creature going to Judgment before the Creator in a state of rebellion. Wake up, sinner! Your peace is a false one.
The eye of a hurricane is dangerous because it gives a false sense of security. People mistakenly think the storm is over. All becomes suddenly calm, and people leave their shelters. Then suddenly destruction befalls. Sinner, your inner peace is a false security. If you do not flee from it, the whirlwind of wrath will eventually cast you down and sweep you away.
They say there are places in the Alps where fierce storms are preceded by total quiet. Everything becomes deathly still. The birds quit singing, fly low, and cower down with fear. Even the bees cease humming among the flowers. A horrible stillness rules the hour, as if death has silenced all things by stretching over them its scepter. The lost man’s peace is just like that: quiet, but dangerous. The storm is coming. Lightning bolts are on the verge of release. Soon all will begin trembling beneath the fury of the storm. The only hope for escape is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.