I cannot being to express the blessing this study has been to my soul. My current personal and professional experiences have offered a significant temptation to anxiety and anger, but God’s truth has bastioned me and Christ Himself has taken charge of the garrison keeping a daily watch over my heart and mind. So, thank you for this opportunity to study God’s gracious, ever sufficient truth.
I foresee that we have two parts left to our study of peace in Philippians (including today’s study). Today we will look at the last Peace Prerequisite and the final Peace Promise, and next week we will do a final review of the passage.
Peace In: Part VII – Do It & Peace Promise #2
5 Peace Prerequisites
2 Peace Promises
God is faithful to keep His provisional promises when we work out our faith in Him by submitting to His plan. Do you want peace? Then you must rejoice in God, be gentle to men, shun anxiety by thankful prayer, think in a sanctified way, and . . .
5. Our Responsibility to Truth
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things,”
Paul puts the finishing touches on his dissertation on peace with an umbrella-like admonition to do all that Paul has revealed about our responsibilities toward God. Once again, he layers the verbs in order to leave nothing out.
Have you learned from me? Do it.
Have you received it from me? Do it.
Have you heard it from me? Do it.
The surface implications are two-fold:
- If we want peace, we mustn’t only obey the 4 Peace Prerequisites we’ve study to date, we must also attend to the whole of biblical teaching.
- If we have peace, people will be able to learn from us. Paul clearly experienced the peace he’s writing about, and it’s because he glorified God with his life that he received the Peace Promises from God. But it’s also because he glorified God with his life that other people (including us) could learn how to have peace. If you are living correctly and experiencing peace, your life will be a veritable textbook to students of peace.
So, we see that peace is the natural and inevitable by-product of a life that . . .
- rejoices in God,
- loves all men because it loves God,
- rejects anxiety because it runs to God in times of trouble,
- thinks about only those things that God loves,
- and strives in God’s power to glorify God in all things.
Peace Promise II
“and the God of peace will be with you.”
This promise has a slightly different flavor than the first. The first promise said that our hearts and minds would be protected in Christ. This one promises that the God who creates the peace and in is the eternal source of the peace will be with us!
The simple beauty is staggering.
“I will be with you.”
Eleven times in the Old Testament God speaks these words to His children, and every times we see a prerequisites/promise pair.
So Why The Prerequisites?
It’s been said and sung that love should be unconditional. I agree with that. God loves us even though we haven’t done a single thing to deserve it. But what is love?
Love is doing what is in the best interest of the thing loved.
Everyone agrees that sending people to heaven is loving, yet send someone to hell and you’re a hateful monster.
We barely have time to even glimpse at this doctrine, but we must understand why God a loving God puts prerequisites on things as important as salvation and peace.
Please remember that the sole end of all things is God. He’s the only One that matters. Our salvation and sanctification are all about Him. Therefore, when an individual rejects God, His preeminence, and His glory, God cannot simply lavish His blessing on them for two reasons.
- God cannot support what rejects His truth. If God allowed unregenerate souls into heaven, His perfect, holy glory would no longer be the preeminent goal of the universe. At that moment, men’s happiness would become to greatest mission of God, which would mean men’s happiness would become a god. There can be nothing greater that God and His truth, so it stands that no one who rejects God will be able to enjoy Him for all eternity.
- God loves us too much to lie to us. Living our own way always ends in destruction., but if God lets us deny Him and yet still sees fit to usher us into heaven, His Word becomes a lie.
Isn’t that Earning Grace?
When we work out our faith in God, we are not earning salvation. We are simply being what we have become in Christ.
Receiving God’s gift of incomprehensible peace only when we submit to His way of living isn’t earning peace. Oil and water do not mix, but once two drops of water have joined, you will never separate them. As long as we keep living like oil, we’ll never be able to appreciate the benefits of being water. God’s perfect peace is waiting like an ocean of water for our tiny drop to disappear into its depths, but until we start living like a drop of water, we will never experience it.
We will only experience divine peace when we start living like the divinely regenerated people we are. Do you want to have the peace of Christ? Live like a Christian. Do you want God’s soul rest to wash over you? Live the way God lives.
What comes next will be an experience of providential watch care that you will never be able to fully comprehend. Continue to the final chapter – Part VIII.