This chapter discussed the idea of wrestling with God...with a goal of not final war but final peace. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who have wrestled with God. Dr. Sproul chose to focus on four: Jacob, Job, Habakkuk, and Saul of Tarsus.
Struggle with God is rooted in His righteousness and our unrighteousness. He is just, we are unjust. It ends only when and if we are justified by faith. Once our struggle with God ends, there are immediate benefits. In Romans 5: 1-2, Paul lays these out:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.We have peace with God:
When God signs a peace treaty, it is signed for perpetuity. The war is over, forever and ever. Of course we still sin; we still rebel; we still commit acts of hostility toward God. But God is not a cobelligerent. He will not be drawn into warfare with us. We have an advocate with the Father. We have a mediator who keeps the peace. He rules over the peace because He is both the Prince of Peace and He is OUR peace.
We are now called the children of God, a title granted in blessing to those who are peacemakers. Our sins are now dealt with by a Father, not a military commander. We have peace. It is our possession, sealed and guaranteed for us by Christ.
Our peace with God is not fragile; it is stable. When we sin, God is displeased, and He will move to correct us and convict us of our sin. But he does not go to war against us...
The peace of justification is not only external. The deepest longings for inward peace are also met in Christ...the New Testament calls this peace the peace that passes understanding. It is a holy peace, a peace that is "other" than routine earthly peace. It is the kind of peace that only Christ can bestow. It is the kind of peace that Christ Himself possessed.We also have access, unlike before, when even the high priest could only approach the throne of God once a year, and then under very guarded circumstances:
The moment Jesus was slain, the instant the Just One died for the unjust, the veil in the temple was torn. The presence of God became accessible to us. For the Christian the "No Access" sign was removed from the gates of paradise. We may now walk freely on holy ground. We have access to His grace, but even more, we have access to Him.We're told to come "boldly". Still, we must still remember who He is and who we are:
For the Christian the holy war is over; the peace has been established. Access to the Father is ours. But we still must tremble before our God. He is still holy. Our trembling is the tremble of awe and veneration, not the trembling of the coward or pagan frightened by the rustling of a leaf. Luther explained it this way: We are to fear God not with a servile fear like that of a prisoner before his tormentor but as children who do not wish to displease their beloved Father. We come to Him in confidence; we come to Him in boldness; we have access. We have a holy peace.Once again, a thought-provoking chapter. For more discussion, I encourage you to join the conversation at Challies.com.