Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1
Peace! What a strange ironic ring that word has in these days in which we live! The world is plunged in a bitter war of hate and greed. Peace, the dream of men in all ages, like a puff of smoke, beckons now here and now there, only to vanish in the clouds of evaporating mist. Able men, wise men, great men are confessing that they are at a loss to know what the outcome will be of the present strife. There is only one answer given in all the world, however, and that answer is given by God in His precious and infallible Word.
It is not our purpose to discuss the problems of diplomacy among the nations, nor to enter into the national and international methods employed to secure a man-made peace. That is the business of those who are ordained of God to govern and rule during the absence of the final Governor and Ruler of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. The business of any minister of the Gospel is only to preach the “thus saith the Lord” and to expound the Word of God in regard to the things which have to do with everlasting peace.
In these messages we shall discuss peace as prophesied and developed in the Word of God. We shall first present Him who is our peace and the Prince of Peace. Then we shall see that this Prince of Peace can give peace to everyone who trusts in His blood. We shall see that there can be peace only where He is, and where He is not there can be no peace; and finally we shall look to the grand, consummated, glorious peace on earth when He shall come to rule and reign in righteousness.
The Prince of Peace as Our Offerings
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. In Scripture He is offered as the only hope for peace, whether in the life of the individual or in the life of nations and the world. Where He is rejected there can be no peace. In the first five chapters of the book of Leviticus we have five offerings in their order as follows:
- The Whole Burnt Offering—Leviticus 1.
- The Meal Offering—Leviticus 2.
- The Peace Offering—Leviticus 3.
- The Sin Offering—Leviticus 4.
- The Trespass Offering—Leviticus 5.
In these five offerings we have in type the complete and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ for sinners. The number “five” is the number of the grace of God. In these five ceremonial offerings of Israel we have the typical revelation of God’s complete and finished provision for the sin of mankind, and the only key to peace in the heart, as well as peace on earth. These five offerings are divided into three parts. The first two offerings represent God’s provision in the Person of Christ for the sin question and have to do with the life and death of Jesus Christ to save sinners. The result of this is “peace with God.” The last two offerings (the sin and the trespass offerings) have nothing to do with the sinner but, rather, with the saint. They are God’s provision for the “sins of the saints”; those who were sinners but have been saved by the provision for salvation in the burnt and meal offerings. In other words, the first two offerings are for the sin of the sinner, whereas the last two are God’s provision for the sins of the saints (saved sinners). These two groups are united by the peace offering. The appropriation of the first two results in “peace with God” and brings justification for the sinner. The appropriation of the last two results in the “peace of God” and produces sanctification. Bearing this division in mind, let us examine the five offerings briefly and see what Christ is to all them that believe.
The Whole Burnt Offering
Not only do we believe that the content of Scripture is divinely and inerrantly inspired, but we believe that the order in which the record is given and the events are recorded is inspired and has a deep and important teaching. Consider, for instance, the order of the five books of Moses. We believe the order of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, is a preview or revelation of the remainder of Scripture. Genesis records the fall of man. Exodus is the book of the redemption of man. Leviticus is the book of the worship of man. Numbers is the book of Israel’s walking in the wilderness, and Deuteronomy is the book of the second law, or works. Thus we have God’s complete plan of redemption.
First, we have man in sin; second, God’s plan of redemption; third, redeemed man’s first duty, namely, worship; fourth, our walk in the wilderness of this world. Until we have learned to worship, our walk will never be what it ought to be; and fifth is the book of work, and in the same way our work will amount to nothing until our walk is what it should be. The greatest obstacle we meet in trying to win others to Christ is the objection of the unbeliever, namely, there are many professing Christians who profess to be working for God but their walk is inconsistent with their testimony. Do not try to walk until you have learned to worship, and do not try to work until your walk is clean. That is God’s order. Martha’s service was rebuked by Jesus, not because He did not want her to serve, but because service without worship is barren (Luke 10:38-42). God is more interested in our worship than in our service. He knows that true worship will result in service, but service without worship is vain and void. How many Christians run around trying to serve, flying about “like chickens with their heads cut off,” only to become more of a reproach than a testimony. In their zeal they do not realize that we can do more by prayer and worship in one hour than in a year of effort in the energy of the flesh.
To Be Continued