Drinking Deeply

Friday, December 23, 2005 at 2:23 AM

Peace of God

I've been thinking about the "peace of God" lately, and a couple of passages have provincially jumped out at me, so I figured I might as well share what I've been learning over the next few posts (since I've run out of things to post on *laughs* )

Lets look at the book of Hebrews

Hebrews 2 is where this idea of peace started hitting me. But before we talk about peace, we have to talk about wrath, because there is no reason for anyone to want peace unless they realize what the absence of peace is: wrath.

Hebrews 2:
1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
What is the message declared by angels? It is simply the message that the prophets and Apostles have given us. This message is reliable for "every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution." If in the past everything received a just retribution, how are we to presume that we can get away with anything today? Romans 1 reads:
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
What is the punishment for this? What is the cost of ungodliness and unrighteousness?
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Note the emphasis. The punishment for the lusts in our hearts is that God gives us up to them. We turn away from God, and in doing so, God turns away from us. This is the punishment for sin in this world.

But notice v. 32 "Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." What else is the punishment for sin? Death. Not only a physical death, but a spiritual one, one that cries out "God why have you forsaken me?" (but of course, we'd be too blind and too hardened to even turn to God in that manner.)

Jesus speaks repeatedly of the fires of hell, of the outer darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. If these are only symbolic, they are symbolic of something much worse, much worse than our current vocabulary can describe. And if they aren't symbolic, it's still pretty bad.

And don't think this is just for "everyone else." Remember, we were just like them.

Ephesians 2)
1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Who is Paul writing to? Paul is writing to the "saints in Ephesus." These are people just like you and I, those who have trusted God for salvation. We were dead. We once walked in sin and followed Satan, who is now at work in those who are at war with God.

This is wrath. Wrath is death, destruction, a forsaking. The flip side of peace and what makes the "peace of God" so very precious.

More on this tomorrow, I'm tired =p

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