If there is one thing that many people in today’s world would desire, it is peace. Many aspects of our contemporary world indicate its absence. This is the case at different levels. There is an absence of peace between nations and in some cases within nations. In addition, there is an absence of personal peace in the lives of countless individuals.
Yet peace is a very common word in the Bible. This should be surprising because initially it might seem impossible. Take these two biblical statements: all humans are wicked and God says that there is no peace to the wicked from him. How can there be peace? Paul reminds us here as he explains the doctrine of justification.
The first blessing that we receive through justification is peace with God. This is not a reference to inner peace in our hearts, which can be disturbed when we have some indigestion. Instead it refers to a permanent status of peace that cannot be changed by any circumstances or actions by ourselves or by others. God has brought this state of peace into existence, and all the combined forces of evil cannot amend it. It is a permanent state of peace.
This is a reminder that we were once in a state of hostility with God. He and we were opposed to one another. He was our sovereign and we were opposed to his authority. Inevitably he would judge us, and the sentence would have been permanent punishment in a state of banishment. But because of what Jesus did in satisfying the righteous requirements of God, we now have this status of peace through believing in Jesus.
Of course, one would expect that this status of peace with God would result in the enjoyment of the peace of God in the hearts of those who have been reconciled to God. Usually that sense of peace is there, although its depth can fluctuate. Sometimes it is not there, and such circumstances are usually connected to sinful thoughts, words or actions committed by us.
Yet the absence of a sense of the peace of God does not mean that the status of peace with God has changed. No one can change it but God, and he would only change it if something wrong were to be found in the work of Jesus, which will never happen.