Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at 8:26 PM

Peace of God (4)

The last thing I want to focus on is how our peace with God leads us to being at war with the world.

aka, the cost of discipleship.

Following Jesus is awesome. It's what God commands us to do and He provides in abundant ways in His Son.

But as with everything, following Jesus comes with a cost.

Jesus says in Matthew 10)
34"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Though the Pharisees expected Jesus to bring peace to the earth in a material physical way (instead of how he brought it in a spiritual way), Jesus actually came to bring a sword. What does this sword involve? It involves war. A battle. Man against father, daughter against mother. The cost of peace with God can include one's very own family (though we pray that that won't be the case). Don't look back. Remember Lot's wife.

Now, I'm not advocating that we go out and physically kill people who are non-Christian, but I am saying that we are at war at a spiritual level. We can (we must) love our neighbors in a physical way. We care for them, feed them when hungry, share our tunics, live at peace with everyone if at all possible. AT THE SAME TIME we're called to oppose non-Christian practice, thought, and people. We abhor what is evil, refuse to sit in the assembly of the wicked, hate evil-doers.

And the world will hate us for it. It will cry out for tolerance, for "love" (according to their definitions), for "science" (which really can't prove anything). It will hate us for exposing their sins (which they suppress). It will hate us because it hated Jesus.

John 15:18-25

18"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'

This is the cost of discipleship.

Though we have peace with God, it will result in war with the world. Some of our families will disown us. Some of our friends will hate us. Satan will war for our souls. We will run against trial after trial after trial. But that is not the end of the story, for if that was what we had to look forward to, life would be hard. Ultimately it is that peace with God that will sustain us, that will grant us the contentment so that we will not be anxious. We will not need to seek to please man, but we can seek to please God. It is not our strength that sustains us, but God's grace, given to us through Jesus Christ.

Remember Hebrews 2? I haven't forgotten it. Look at how it ends:
16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Christ helps us because through Him we have been adopted as offspring of Abraham. Jesus was made perfect through suffering, and I really liked what Doug E. said in his comment, "My understanding is that His suffering made Him perfect to be our priest because He can sympathize with us in our suffering." This sounds to be very close to the mark to me (mostly because of it's connection to v. 18). Because of His sufferings when tempted, He is able to help us!

So I urge you brothers and sisters. Hold fast!

You will suffer, for the world will hate you. You will suffer for His name. You will endure trials.

But God is faithful. God is great. God is glorious. He will help us. He has provided. Though we were at war with Him and friends with the world, He has called us His own, so that we are no longer of this world, but can look forward to a heavenly dwelling. We are now at peace with God, but at war with the world.

This is the cost of discipleship. This is the hard truth. It challenges me and oftentimes I want to run away from it. But I have to keep coming back, because God has regenerated my heart and I can only say with Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

I pray that may be the same with you.

PS sorry about the way that verses are cited. I oftentimes hate jumping around, picking verses here and there, but I didn't want to just focus on just one point in one or two verses. So much to share, so little time! *chuckles*

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Anonymous Puritan Belief said...

Very well summed up.

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

I like how you put it that it is not our strength that sustains us but Gods grace. For it is a spiritual battle preaching the gospel and it is foolishness to those who are not children of Abraham.  


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