December 20, 1992
(It seems to happen every Christmas. I have a message together and at the last minute the Lord impresses something else on my mind. I recently heard a message on Peace, and my mind would not let it rest until I put this together.)
Probably one of the most devastating events in Church history was the separation of the OT from the New by the heretic Marceion. By separating the OT from the New, Marceion made it possible for a teaching to develop which says that the OT saints of God were saved in a different manner than are the NT saints of God.
Before the Lord delivered me from Darbyism, I also taught that the OT saints were saved as a result of faith plus the sacrifices and works of the law.
Now, if I work for you and do what you require of me, then you are in my debt and are a thief if you do not pay me. When we apply this idea that the OT saints had to do something for their salvation, we have done a tremendous evil: we imply that God owed salvation to the saints of old because of their service to Him.
God can never be in our debt; God could never owe any man anything. The Creator of heaven and earth needs nothing from His creation; He does not need man's faith, love, works or obedience or anything else from man.
Luke 17:7-10 (The word servant means "a slave, bondman, man of servile conditions...") And really, we have no english word which gives the proper strong meaning of our Lord's words here.
The Lord made us and we are totally His creation; we are completely in His debt and He owes us nothing. We see in this text that if we do absolutely everything that He commands from the cradle to the grave, we are still unprofitable servants: for we have only done that which was our duty to do.
The Scriptures are abundantly clear: the world and all its inhabitants exist only by the sovereign grace and mercy of the Lord God. In no way do they deserve to exist (Lam 3:22-23, It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness.
There can be no covenant of works between God and man whether in the Old or New Testament. Because God and man are total unequal, any covenant or agreement between God and man must be a covenant of grace. Therefore, the law which God gives to us is an act of grace; He did not have to show to man the way of life. Because of His mercy, God gives to sinful man His law and grace.
But every person has broken God's covenant-law in Adam; therefore, all are born dead in trespasses and sin. 1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
We all have sinned, not only in Adam, but we have all sinned in ourselves. When Paul said that all have sinned, that is exactly what he meant, Rom 3:23.
When man is apart from Christ, he desires to be his own god and establish his own laws and rules for action.
According to Paul though, in Eph 2:13-18, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity (of the law)thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Illustration: If you are a criminal, the law should be an enemy to you, but if you are a law-abiding citizen, the law should be a friend because its purpose if to protect you.
Jesus Christ has made peace with God for both Jews and Gentiles, and has abolished by His atoning blood the enmity of the law: it is no longer against us calling for our death in payment for our sin. As long as we are fallen men, the law is our enemy; it holds a sentence of death against us. It is our enemy and demands our death, rather than being our way of life.
We see from Paul's words in Eph 2, that through the redemption in Christ all men of all nationalities have one Spirit working in them, and every one is on the same terms before God in the Holy Spirit. This unity before God is true only because Jesus Christ is our peace. Eph 2:11-22, The key word of this text, and the word I want to talk about a little this morning, is the much-abused word, peace, vs. 14-17.
The Biblical use of the word peace, as we see it here, has nothing to do with the passive use of the word peace or shalom.
The word peace, or shalom in the OT represents several things: 1. peace and perfection or completeness 2. compensation or recompense 3. restitution
Thus, when the word of God tells us that Christ is our peace, it is saying that Christ is our restitution; His blood is the restitution unto God for our sins.
Thus, when Paul says here in Eph 2:14 that Christ is our peace, Paul is telling us that the blood of Christ has paid our sin debt; Christ has made the restitution to God for our sin and now we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. When Scripture speaks of peace as it does here inEph 2:13-18, it means peace with God through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for our sins.
Paul here in Eph 2, is talking about our reconciliation to God by means of the atoning work of Christ; Christ made restitution for our sins to the Father, and thus He made peace with God for us. Christ is our peace; Christ is our restitution.
God's law is about righteousness and justice, and at the heart of God's law is restitution.
Under the law of God, when one does wrong against another, God requires restitution toward the one sinned against. The OT laws of the sacrifice cannot be dismissed lightly; when God required the sacrifice of an unblemished animal for sin, He was telling mankind that He demands restitution by the sinner toward Himself (for all sin is against God), and the only thing that could make that restitution was an unblemished substitute in the place of the sinner.
Throughout Scripture, there is no other way to reestablish peace with the Father other than by restitution; there had to be the substitutionary sacrifice of an unblemished animal, and then that sacrifice could not clear the conscience. The law requiring an unblemished substitutionary sacrifice for peace with God was clearly established when Christ was born 2000 years ago.
The whole of the law, from Adam to the present, teaches and demands restitution. From the time of Noah, the ultimate restitution is the death sentence, Gen 9:6 (Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.)
Exodus 22, tells us that before there could be peace among men, restitution had to be made. Depending upon the offence toward another, the required restitution can be double, four fold and even five fold, depending upon the type of crime against that person. Restitution must be made before there can be peace with that individual.
The Lord Jesus emphasized restitution in places like Mat 5:23, 24, when He taught that we are to go to another and make restitution if possible. In fact, in Mat 5:23, 24, He told us that there could be no peace with God until we had peace with our fellow man.
Meaning of Peace We must see that one of the primary meanings of peace in the Bible is recompense, restoration, perfection, restitution.. And this is always the meaning when the Scriptures speaks of peace between God and man.
John 14:27, as He prepares them for His atoning death on the cross, Christ tells His disciples Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
It is impossible to understand this verse in the light of the modern day teaching of peace which says that peace is an absence of problems, conflicts and personal confrontations with others. If we try to understand our Lord's words here with the context of the world's definition of peace,we make them utterly senseless.
The Lord spoke these words to a group of men who were going to soon see the arrest and terrible crucifixion of the Lord; every one of them would flee for their lives, and every one of them would face terrible persecution and a violent death at the hands of sinners after Christ's ascension. These men would face everything except modern man's idea of peace; a lack of conflict with other people.
The peace which the Lord left with these men was the forgiveness and remission of sins by His Own blood. He was going to make atonement or restitution to the Father for their sins. Eph 2:14, For he is our peace..His atoning sacrifice made restitution to the heavenly Father so that we now have peace with the heavenly Father. The death penalty of the law is no longer against us because Christ paid that penalty for us to the Father.
The law makes very clear that peace with God only comes by restitution to God for our sins against Him; the law is equally clear that peace between man and man only comes by restitution from the offender to the offended.
Col 2:13-15 When we were dead, legally under the death penalty of God's law for having broken it both in Adam and by our own will, the hand-writing of ordinances was against us.. We were indited or condemned under the law to death, for the wages of sin is death. Jesus Christ nailed our penalty of death for our sins to His cross in His own person as our substitute to triumph over sin and death for us.
The very essence of the law is the necessity for restitution and restoration for peace with God so that there might be peace among men. The goal of the law is peace, and Christ is our peace. Through Christ we are no longer under the condemnation of the law, but under grace. Through our faith in Christ, we pass from enmity and warfare against God and recipients of His wrath, to peace with God and recipients of His grace.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Because restitution is basic to the law of God, without this basic premise of restitution we have no substitutionary atoning work of Christ. Therefore, Paul tells us in Rom 3:31, that any war against the law of God becomes a war against His atonement, His restitution, His grace and peace. Such a war against God's law is an abandonment of Biblical faith for humanism.
All of Western Law since Emperor Justian has been based upon the Biblical doctrine of restitution. As the doctrine of restitution has been replaced with humanism, Western Law has disintegrated. The fear of punishment has been removed from law, even Biblical law. Without the Biblical doctrine of peace with God through restitution, the fear of hell is gone from the Christian faith.
When atonement and restitution (or the satisfaction of God's justice) is ignored in the Church, what can we expect from the world?
The Biblical definition of peace with God and man is based in restitution. When Christians replace the Biblical definition of peace with some kind of mystical and unscriptural definition of peace, the natural result will be a secular society which will not enforce restitution for peace between men.
God cannot forgive man's sins freely as a matter of lawless grace because this kind of grace would not change or correct the fallen condition of the universe. If God's grace was not according to the law of restitution, then this would leave sin unpunished and no peace.
Mercy and peace comes from justice, and justice demands restitution. All justice is centered in the atoning work of Christ without which there can be no peace on earth nor peace with God.
When the angles said, peace on earth they referred to the coming atoning work of Christ which would bring peace between man and God and between man and man. Peace means the debt has been paid and we can approach the person we sinned against with a clear conscience.
Pro 28:1, The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. This passage tells us that the lose of courage, both in the Church and out of the Church, is a direct result of the lose of the true meaning of Biblical peace through the atoning work of Christ our substitute.
The loss of the Christian doctrine of restitution for peace with God and peace with man striped morality from politics. The result is that the door is opened for absolute evil to take absolute control of the world.
Peace is now defined as a lack of conflict with the environment, or a lack of conflict with the wicked around us; rather than defined as peace with God through the restitution of Christ for our sins.
Rom 6:20-23 Paul defines both freedoms free from righteousness.. free from sin..
Christ came into the world to bring freedom and peace. Peace means we are no longer at war with God and His law, and this peace is accomplished only through Christ's atonement. Freedom does not mean freedom from righteousness; rather, it means freedom from the power and penalty of sin.
Lk 1:79, 2:14
Ye must be born again in order to have peace with God and peace with man. Christ provides the means, God gives the faith to come to Christ as our substitute, and the Spirit provides the peace which passes all understanding.
Only God's order of law and restitution will provide true peace on earth and good will among men.