Peace with God
James Smith, 1842
"Peace, peace to him who is afar off, and to him that is near, says the Lord." Isaiah 47:19
When God created our first parents, they were holy, upright, and happy. They were in fellowship with God, held communion with Him, and felt indescribable joy in His presence. He gave them His law to obey, His precept was their rule to walk by, and they possessed ability to perform what He required. For their obedience — they were to have life, comfort, and every blessing suited to their natures. In case of disobedience — they were threatened with death, misery, and the curse of God. They sinned, and we sinned in them; and death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. War commenced between God and man — and man has been at enmity with God ever since.
My fellow-sinner, YOU were . . .
born in sin,
a child of wrath,
dead in transgression,
an enemy to God,
lying under His curse, and
threatened with judgment and everlasting destruction.
This is OUR state! Sin is committed by us, the law condemns us, judgment is before us, and Hell is our deserved doom. Do not think to make exceptions, for God's word declares, "ALL HAVE SINNED, and come short of the glory of God. The whole world has become guilty before God." Talk not of your obedience, for he who offends in ONE POINT, is guilty of breaking the WHOLE LAW. — James 2:10. The curse is upon him who continues not in ALL THINGS written in the book of the law.
Attempt not to make your peace with God by any works of your own; for if you do, you will have God for your enemy, the law must be your rule, and Christ will profit you nothing. Awful! truly awful, is the state of that person, who is talking of making peace with God; for while in such a state he will never know peace!
But if you ask, "May we not be at peace with God?" The answer is, YES. If you inquire, "How can we attain to peace with God?" The answer also is ready — peace is made, and may now be realized and enjoyed.
The Lord Jesus Christ has assumed our nature into union with His divine nature. He came into the world in the character of a SURETY, to make peace between man and God. He came to take our sins upon Himself; to have them charged to His account, to suffer the punishment they merited, and to put them away by the sacrifice of Himself. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespassers unto them; for He made Jesus, who knew no sin — to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Our sins being laid upon Christ, justice dealt with Him as those sins deserved; and God spared not His own Son — but delivered Him up for us all; it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He put him to grief; He made His soul an offering for sin. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree; He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; for the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Herein is love, not that we loved God — but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Hereby we perceive the love of Christ, because He laid down His life for us. He made a full, perfect, and complete atonement for the sins of His people. He finished the transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness. He established, exalted, and magnified the holy law. He satisfied, pleased, and honored divine justice. In Him, mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace embraced each other; and sinners, who were once afar off, are made near by the blood of Christ. For HE is our peace, who has made both Jews and Gentiles one, and reconciled both unto God in one body by the cross.
And having thus made peace by the blood of His cross, He sends forth the gospel of peace, in preaching which His ministers proclaim peace to those who are afar off, and to those who are near. They point out the way of peace; direct to Jesus, who gives peace; and the Holy Spirit leads poor sensible sinners into the enjoyment of peace. This peace can only be enjoyed by believing; hence we read of "joy and peace in believing." This blessing is one branch of the kingdom of God, which stands in "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
When the sinner is convinced of His state, mourns over sin, and desires peace with God — the gospel meets His case, it directs him to Jesus the great Peacemaker; the peace which He has made arrests his attention, and to the throne of grace he directs his prayers; the Holy Spirit leads him to receive into His heart the testimony of God, "That it has pleased the Father that in Christ should all fullness dwell; and that He has made peace by the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation."
This revelation being received into the mind by the power
of the Holy Spirit — imparts peace, satisfaction, and joy; and the soul
knows what Paul meant, when he said, "Being justified by faith, we have
peace with God, though our Lord Jesus Christ; and not only so — but we also
joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have Now received the
atonement." The believer NOW looks up . . .
to the Father as the God of peace,
to Jesus as the Prince of peace,
to the Holy Spirit as the Revealer of peace,
at the gospel as the message of peace,
on Christians as the sons of peace,
on his way as the path of peace,
on Heaven as the abode of permanent uninterrupted peace;
and prays that he may be anxious for nothing, but that in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, he may let His requests be made known unto God; that the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, may keep his heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
He views . . .
sin as the disturber of His peace,
Satan as the enemy of His peace, and
communion with God as the means of maintaining peace.
He beholds His peace settled in covenant, procured by the blood of the Lamb, and learns that it is to be enjoyed in the path of holy obedience to the precepts of his God. It is true that he may often be agitated, perplexed, and distressed, in consequence of temptations, persecution, or the working of sin within him. But amidst all, he says, with the Psalmist, "I will hear what God the Lord will speak; for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints; but let them not turn again to folly." He lays aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets him, and runs with patience the race set before him, looking unto Jesus; and while so engaged, he finds the way pleasantness, and the path peace.
Reader, are YOU at peace with God?
Do you know Christ as your peace?
Do you love the gospel as the good news of peace?
Do you walk with God in peace and holiness?
These are important questions; because if you are not at
peace with God — then you are at peace with Satan. If you have not peace
through the gospel — then you are at peace with sin. And if you die in peace
with sin — then you will have . . .
God for your enemy;
Christ for your angry Judge;
Hell for your abode;
devils and damned souls for your miserable companions;
and unutterable torments for your portion forever!
"Oh that you were wise, that you understood this, that you would consider your latter end!"