Short Meditations on Peace 2. Peace with God
Col 1:2 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ in Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father
In the first introductory meditation we noted a footnote reference that suggested that peace is when a person’s life with God and with everything else is in ordered harmony. The first area of peace that is important is peace with God Himself. This has to be our starting place. In every one of his letters apart from 1 Thess, we noted previously, this peace comes from God the Father and in most of them Paul also includes, “and the Lord Jesus Christ.” I suggest, therefore, we need to consider that this peace is both in respect of God and from God.
Now I put ‘in respect of God’ first because I think that is the more obvious issue. So many people are fearful of God, not the respect kind of fear but a fear out of ignorance of what He might be like and what He might do to you. The Gospel brings peace with God. That is the first and most important peace we should be concerned about. The truth is that since the Fall every single human being without exception (except Jesus!) has been out of sorts with God. That’s the gentle way of putting it; in rebellion against God is the stronger way of putting it.
We suffer from this inherited characteristic called Sin which I define as self-centred godlessness resulting in unrighteous thoughts, words and deeds. Yet Solomon said that God has “put eternity into man’s heart” (Prov 3:11) which means that deep down every one of us senses that there is something more to life than this short existence of ‘three score and ten years’ (although it tends to be a lot more than that now). In addition to that, there seems throughout history and across the face of the world, that there is something in mankind that wants to worship someone or some thing. It is only in the superficial security of modern Western life that crusading atheists deny this need which, they say, comes from historical insecurity. Yet even they reveal an absence of this shalom peace in their lives. Observe their irrational anger over the follies of ‘religion’ that they observed in childhood or on the fringes of religious struggles and note the lack of peace.
We may disguise our absence of loving relationship with God in a myriad of ways but that’s what we do to disguise that absence of peace that is so normal to us. Of course it was never meant to be like that, and yet while we had free will, it was going to be like that! We choose independence without realising that we are defective without that relationship. Imagine living in a house with someone who is at odds with you and nothing you can do or say will make it better. Absence of peace! That is your friend or family member who does not know God. Stressed! And it is so normal that we take it for granted!