My goal in this series is our greater joy in Jesus, even in complex struggles intellectually, emotionally, relationally, etc. So, each time I will offer a buffet on 8 ‘P’s of good news. Chew and savor whatever helps your joy in Jesus. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1)
With this article we complete our series on the gospel’s 8 “P”’s. Like the lines & goals on a basketball court, staffs & notes on a musical score, or signs & symbols on a road, all the gospel’s “P”’s intertwine for our discernment and decisions in relationships. It is the paradigm of Life introduced in creation. Day one hints at why the Presence of Christ comes to undeserving people; day two foretells our basic problem by the Plain-speaking of Christ in His silence; the first part of day three alludes to our main threats as spiritual and our only hope as His miraculous intervention by His Protection; the second part of the third day is physical imagery of His spiritual life-giving gifts and call to reproduce the same by Christ’s Provision; the fourth day (the center of that week with the Sabbath day included) points us to a celestial calendar of worship as His Purpose detailed in Leviticus 23; day five foretells dangerous Places of Christ where we are to live the gospel; day six hints at the top-down, bottom-up, and all-around love of God accomplished in Christ’s three Positions; and after He finished creating all things, the Sabbath day shows us paradise in the Peace of Christ: perfect relationships. But can these truths bring us real peace in this very imperfect world here and now? Even the faithful struggle here!
For each of us daily longs for a Peace in perfect relationships, because He made us for Himself. You can listen to our conversation on every person’s need for this kind of peace in the video below. But ultimate peace can only come in Christ, the perfect Creator and Re-Creator who can forgive and change us. Seeking peace in any part of His creation can only result in disappointment and worse.
For joy is in Life from God, through God, and for God as revealed in the Bible. (Romans 11:33-36) And our Peace in Christ is the litmus test of His Purpose of love. If you want to test the genuineness of someone’s love for you, look at their peace when you fail them. For example, if a ball player’s purpose is to win, they will “love” you less when you lose. If a musician’s purpose is to please the crowd, they will “love” those who applaud and fear or hate those who don’t. If a driver’s peace is freedom, they will “love” God’s creation when it’s theirs alone and resent all other drivers. Thus, if any of us seeks peace in perfect circumstances here and now, we will never have real, lasting peace.
Yes, Revelation 21-22 glimpses glories for the faithful in the end, but, again, how does that help now? For me, I must start by owning my false assumption in the question: “perfect circumstances are the glory of paradise rather than being with Jesus.” And let me be clear. I’m not saying paradise will or should consist of believers gazing at Jesus while He tells parables forever, oblivious to our Father’s great house with rooms for all His children. I’m confessing my personal need to have a childlike love for Jesus in this world here and now – a love that enjoys His gifts but immediately turns in thanks and asks Him to stay and rejoice with me in our relationship even more than His gifts. Jesus’ peace for us is not and will not be in His gifts or our love but in His perfect love for us by the grace of the One who gives every good gift for our glory in Him. (Luke 12:32, Romans 8:32, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, James 1:17, etc.) You can review my hermeneutics on this peace in Christ below.
So, there are many encouraging reasons to tell others about His Peace. Jesus tells all His followers to tell others about His peace in Him, yet many are hesitant. The old lie of our choice being better than trust & obedience tempts us to silence. But if we know His forgiveness and transforming power, we will tell others. I discuss some encouragements in this next video.
And the peace of Christ answers many specific and daily struggles in this life. The video above is to help believers through some of our fears and questions. I’ve provided the following video with suggested discussions when you talk to others about His peace.
Again, I want to be clear. The peace Jesus brings is resting and rejoicing in His perfect love for us because of His death in our place, reproducing His love toward others for their peace in Him with us. But you may be rightly thinking, “How is that even possible? I’m not perfect, and the people around me certainly aren’t! In fact, I have so many real hardships in my life that I wonder if Jesus can do anything about them or if He even cares!” First, let me say “God bless your honesty!” The Psalms are full of similar statement of hurt, questions, and even anger. So, one last time let’s use our three comparative paradigms to understand and apply the good news of Jesus more clearly and practically.
Imagine us as imperfect people being with the Lord on a basketball team, musical group, or race car crew here and now. It would go something like this. Jesus would invite people to join us, some of whom we wouldn’t initially like, some just like us and worse. We would miss an easy shot, an easy note, or an easy turn, and many who passed by would be quick to laugh and criticize us. Even some of our own might turn on us. But He would take each one of us aside, teach and coach us again, taking as much time as we needed. He would not punish but discipline any rebels to restore them to even greater teamwork and joy in Him. He would put us against impossible odds to show what is possible because He is with us. He would supernaturally fill us so we would more and more begin to work, play, and drive with His kind of selfless love. And through the great stresses, straight talks, and His strong gentle arms, we would begin to have more and more peace. How? His Presence would come to us as undeserving people to join Him who does all things perfectly, and He would never abandon any who followed Him because His covenant death paid the price for all their past, present, and future crimes against others and even against Him. His Plain-speaking would point out any ways we must relinquish because He is most glorified when we enjoy our time with Him by loving as He loves. His Protection would target any threats hindering us from trusting Him but allow lesser threats to encourage our rest in Him and not ourselves. His Provision would resource us for His Purpose of love for Him and His people as we work, play, or drive together. His Places would seem initially strange but later amazing as risky and undeserving arenas where He would draw others to Himself by the supernatural changes He works in us especially in our struggles. And His Positions would equip and encourage us top-down, bottom-up, and all-around for the litmus test of our Peace in His love.
As you may see, there are many practical implications and joys of His Peace. Lauren and I discuss some of these below. For our peace in Christ is our imperfect experience now but our perfect reality forever because of His death in our place, His righteousness imputed to all who rest in Him, and all His future blessings in His Spirit who marks us as His. (John 14:15ff)