To many people think salvation is the end result, but salvation is the starting point. Understanding peace with God comes from understanding the accomplishment of Jesus Christ, but letting the peace of God rule in our hearts is not the same thing as understanding the reality of having peace with God. We need to understand, God had much more in mind when he designed the body of Christ than a library full of learning or a theater of theologians.
There is an element of pride today on the part of many who think God must be looking on them with special favor because they happen to belong to a particular denomination. There are people who take great pride today and elevate themselves above others because they rightly divide the Word of Truth, when rightly dividing the Word of Truth is merely a tool to use, so that you come out with a proper understanding of scripture. Who knows how many have died believing their church affiliation was sufficient to get them into heaven, that attitude is coming from what scripture calls the pride of life and nothing more.
This ministry of reconciliation is not to the saved, we know we are reconciled, but now all have access to God, a change in status for the entire world. Does this mean the entire world is save? No. There are those who mistakenly suppose that reconciliation is the same thing as justification. These people have jumped to the conclusion that Jesus Christ taking the sin issue off the table of God’s justice through his becoming sin for the human race is that which makes a person as righteous as God; they have mistaken reconciliation for justification. Being declared righteous is God’s gift to the believing sinner and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the sinner himself doing anything to deserve or merit that righteous standing.
Allow the peace of God to rule in your hearts, Paul’s really making readily apparent the fact that not everyone will do so. We do not naturally gravitate naturally towards truth, nor towards agape behavior. But we do gravitate naturally towards those dealing around us by emotion. We let emotion, our emotion rule us. Yet, love is the bond that unifies and edifies other members of the body of Christ. Love is the behavioral glue, attitudinal adhesive that God intended to keep the body of Christ functioning smoothy and operating efficiently and effectively.
Words mean things or at least they are supposed to mean things! Justification is not a process, but is a one-time act, complete and definitive. God could only declare us to be right on the bases of who and what he is, not on the bases of who and what we would be apart from him. God had to devise a way to see us that way, and the way he devised to do that was by joining us to, hiding us in our perfectly righteous savior, thus freely crediting to our account Christ righteousness.
The realization that God’s love accomplished some fantastic things on our behalf. God is anxiously awaiting his own inheritance, which happens to be us, God considers believers to be his own inheritance, he purchased us with the blood of his son, we are God’s valuable inheritance. Sin causes a debt to God so large that it can never be paid by ourselves, but the person who knows what Jesus Christ really accomplished, exist in a completely new relationship with God. Justification is a legal act, wherein God deems the sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness.
To many people obviously have behavioral characteristics in mind when they think of that word Christian, because they think forgiveness has to be paid for on the installment plan. But according to Paul we have all our forgiveness and we have it all upfront. The only reason God could say through Paul, “Grace and Peace be unto you” is because God’s son fully paid the price. Justification by grace through faith, what a marvelous thing God has done, and who would have thought of a salvation in the sense that God’s plan would call for him to join a person to his son, therefore, what belongs to the son would now belong to believing people who have been joined to the son.
Satan and his forces know the power that emotions play, when emotions become the cement that seals the door of the mind, such that a mind remains closed and the door locked. To be open to that which moves a person from the mental comfort zone to which that person has become accustomed, becomes not only an unsettling inconvenience, it becomes a mind-shaking threat to many people. There are multitudes who are putting faith in their feelings, emotional cravings, the minds of the vast majority of so-called Christendom today, emotion trumps doctrine.
Could it be that God is NOT giving people all these emotion tweaking experiences, because he knows that Satan and his forces will come with all manner of lying signs and wonders. People may be going by a religious belief system that is a totally false belief system, why would God refuse to give people neat little things to look at today to determine his presence, his power, his predisposition, his purpose, and his plan? Could it be that God is having people walk by faith and not by sight, because God knew that Satan will be performing the miraculous in the last days of the age of grace.