This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2020 Bible Reading Calendar.
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 5:1
What is peace?
We might think of it as tranquility, a quiet morning on the back porch while sipping coffee and listening as the birds begin their songs. We might think of it as harmony, two people interacting with kindness and cordiality.
Peace, in the Biblical picture, is about wholeness. When God created humanity we had an unhindered relationship with him and others. Some might say perfect, but that is not quite so. We were meant to grow in our understanding, knowledge, and love for God and others. Though incomplete, the relationships were good. No strain or division existed. Peace.
Yet, when we fell into sin, choosing rebellion over God, our peace was broken. We became the enemies of God (Romans 5:10) with hearts set against him. Strife with others also entered the world. While we experience moments that may seem peaceful, that deep wholeness in relationship between God and people and between person and person was lost.
On our own, we never would have pursued true and lasting peace with God or others. Human history, sadly, is replete with evidence of this. God, however, is the one who carved the path for peace and makes peace a reality in our lives.
Romans 5:1 declares boldly that we have peace with God through faith in Jesus. Romans 5:2 further states, “We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Jesus is the way for our wholeness to be restored.
Righteousness, as Paul described, brings peace. God is righteous, wholly good with no corruption or evil in him. God is opposed to all evil, so to have peace with God we need the same righteousness. When we trust in Jesus as our Savior-King, immediately we are “declared righteous” by God.
And the reason? When Jesus went to the cross, he became our sin and he gave us God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). It was the exchange of unpayable debt for infinite credit.
Having now been declared righteous, with time Jesus will make us fully righteous. If the declaration, theologically speaking, is our justification before God, the work to make us righteous is our sanctification (a life-long process of being shaped to be like Jesus through his Spirit and word) to be complete, in eternity, with our glorification.
This is a wonderful thing. And also wonderful is that the peace we obtain with God also opens the way for true peace with others. Again, something we will experience eternally with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also something we can begin to experience now as we treat each other with the same grace, patience, and love that God shows us.
All Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.