We’re in the middle of a three-part series of articles that were taken from a sermon I preached at Cross Community Church exploring Jesus’ words in John 14:27 —
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
On Monday we looked at The Person OF this Peace; today we will seek to understand The Purpose FOR this Peace.
In a word, the primary purpose for this peace is VERTICAL. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, humanity was sent out of the Garden to live East of Eden. Our vertical relationship to God was severed by sin. But, by God’s amazing grace, we are reconciled back to a right relationship with God through the cross work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
God was pleased to have his fullness dwell in him and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:20)
When you think about it, no matter how peacefully we live with our neighbors, it matters not if we have no peace with God. Theologians often refer to this peace as the “first fruit of justification.” You are probably familiar with the “fruit of the Spirit” described in Galatians 5:22-23, but that only flows from the “first fruit” of our justification.
Now, once we have this peace with God, we are called to be peacemakers with others—to go forth and share the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. To be sure, the Gospel will attract some and repel others. But you and I are not to be repulsive as we proclaim God’s truth. As much as it is within our power, we are to live at peace with others.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them, committing to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
The apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that the vertical peace we are given in our justification is to be lived out horizontally with others, as both a message and ministry of reconciliation. What a privilege we have: to understand the purpose for the peace that passes all understanding! Peace with God that moves us in the direction of peace with others makes the Gospel attractive and draws the unbeliever toward this supernatural peace.
Check back on Friday for the final installment of this series: the power in this peace.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!