Two Kinds of Peace
Follow me in your imagination: I'm in the courtroom before the Judge, God the Father. The prosecuting attorney, Satan, has got the goods on me. He's got the record of my whole life. The times I broke some of the Ten Commandments. The time I got expelled from school. The drug charges, the arrests, and so forth. All of the evidence is there, and I'm trembling.
Then my defense attorney, Jesus, whispers, "Don't worry; piece of cake." He steps forward confidently and says, "Your honor, all of the charges against the defendant are true. He's guilty of all that, and more. But I paid the punishment that he deserved. And here's the evidence: My blood."
And the Judge says, "Case dismissed." My trembling stops, and I feel a flood of peace. Why? Because I've been acquitted.
That's one way I like to look at Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." I have peace with God!
There are two types of peace that the New Testament describes. There is peace with God, and then there is the peace of God. Every believer has peace with God. You've raised the white flag and surrendered. You're not at war with God any longer. You've confessed your sins, and you've been cleansed.
But there's a second type of peace, the peace of God ... and not every child of God experiences that. It's the kind of peace that Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:7, the one that surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and minds.
Every Christian has peace with God, but a lot of Christians I know don't live in that peace. One should lead to the other. Knowing that you're not at war with God anymore should put such confidence in your heart toward your heavenly Father! The war is over ... or put it another way, you've been acquitted ... and yet you may not experience that peace.
It's like the love of God: God loves us, but I know lots of people who don't experience His love. Just as you can walk outside with an umbrella and block the sunshine, you can have an umbrella of sin and unbelief and not experience the love of God. Hence, what Jude wrote: "Keep yourself in the love of God (Jude 21).
And I would say, keep yourself in the peace of God. Recognize: The war is over. God doesn't hold anything against you. And if He loved you when you were still in your sins, now that you're His child does He love you less?
My prayer for you is that you would always live in that peace!