Categories
Theology

What does it mean to have the peace of God?

J.I. Packer gives the answer in his book Knowing God:

Too often the peace of God is thought of as if it were essentially a feeling of inner tranquility, happy and carefree, springing from knowledge that God will shield one from life’s hardest knocks.  But this is a misrepresentation, for on the one hand, God does not featherbed his children in this way, and anyone who thinks he does is in for a shock, and on the other hand, that which is basic and essential to the real peace of God does not come into this concept at all…

The peace of God is first and foremost peace with God; it is the state of affairs in which God, instead of being against us, is for us. No account of God’s peace which does not start here can do other than mislead. One of the miserable ironies of our time is that whereas liberal and radical theologians believe themselves to be restating the gospel for today, they have for the most part rejected the categories of wrath, guilt, condemnation and the enmity of God, and so have made it impossible for themselves ever to present the gospel at all, for they cannot now state the basic problem which the gospel of peace solves.

This has application for when we pray for people, especially. How many times have you prayed for someone who is not even a Christian, “Lord, give them peace.” I’ll raise my hand on that one. What kind of peace are we praying for? in a situation? with a friend? It’s impossible for them to experience any kind of peace, as Packer points out, unless they have peace with God himself.

The only way for anyone to have that peace is to receive Jesus as their substitute Savior — as the one who took their place on the cross in order to satisfy God’s wrath against sin. When sin, condemnation, and guilt are out of the way, a river of peace will rush in and overwhelm the most weary of souls.

Categories
Life

This is one of the most incredible verses in the Bible.

John 1:10:

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

The God who made the world also came to the world to love it, teach it, redeem it, and save it.  Yet we wanted nothing to do with him.

Incredible.

Categories
Life

William Wallace: The Christ Figure

Many films have a “Christ figure,” that is, a character who is savior-like. This person is usually larger-than-life and often fights for a cause, atones for wrongdoing,  redeems hurting and broken people, or even sacrifices his own life for the good of others.

In the movie Braveheart we see William Wallace do all those and more. Wallace battled for the nation of Scotland to be freed from its slavery to England. He was executed for his beliefs and actions. His preached a new kind of freedom to the people of Scotland. And his sacrificial death helped usher in that freedom.  He was an inspiration and example to his people.

In the last post, I wrote about the depravity of mankind.  The reality of life is that there are major problems in my own life and in the lives around me.  In theater and film, it’s characters like William Wallace that come to the rescue to solve those problems.

As mighty as Wallace might seem, however, ultimately he and other “Christ figures” fall short of the true Christ. Wallace — a real person, remember — could not forgive sin, empower the souls of men, or free the Scottish people from slavery to sin (or even another nation for that matter).  Nevertheless, Christ figures like Wallace leave us longing for the true Christ. Characters like Wallace make us say, “I will follow that man!”  Yet at the end of the film, Wallace is executed, never to live again.

But Jesus is the God-man who said, “Follow me.” He preached a new kind of freedom for men’s souls. He was executed for his beliefs and actions even though he was sinless. His sacrificial death actually purchased the freedom he spoke of. But he didn’t stay dead. He rose from the grave. He was not only an inspiration and example to his people: he was, and is, Lord and Savior.

To be continued.

Categories
Life Theology

Jesus: The Greater David

Jesus isn’t just the greater Moses. He is also the greater David. In Psalm 78, the psalmist is reflecting on Israel’s rebellion against God after they were saved from slavery in Egypt. God was so gracious to his people despite their unfaithfulness. “Yet,” the psalmist wrote, “they sinned still more against him” (vv. 17, 40, 56).

Later in the Psalm, the writer tells us that he chose a shepherd from the tribe of Judah to lead his people back to God. This shepherd is David. The psalmist tells us:

He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand (vv. 70-72).

You might be thinking, “David had an upright heart?! What about that whole Bathsheba and Uriah thing? That wasn’t so upright!” And you would be right. Of course David had his moral failures. He was human. And that’s the point: as great as David was as shepherd-king of Israel, he still fell short of the perfection that God’s people needed.

That’s where Jesus comes in. In John 10, he said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (v. 11).  In saying this, Jesus claims to be the long awaited heir of David who would lead God’s people perfectly. He would be the ultimate shepherd-king who would never have a moral failure or a bad thought toward his flock.

When we read the Old Testament, we cannot look for examples in men like David and Moses. We need to see them as imperfect men who could never fully be what God’s people needed.  They should not inspire us to be better people. They should leave us longing to be saved by the greater Man who did and said all that God wanted with complete perfection.

Categories
Ministry

China Daily reports on a student’s conversion

China Daily, China’s official English newspaper, ran a short article yesterday about a college student’s conversion to Jesus.

This is pretty amazing, given the fact that China is still a communist nation, and the newspaper is government owned.  Even though persecution exists there, this story shows that God is most definitely working in China.  Let’s be praying for this nation!