Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1
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 Need for Sin Offerings
When the Lord Jesus Christ came to die on the Cross for our sin, He not only knew what great sinners we were, but He also knew what terrible failures we would be after we were saved. He knew that we would not be able to keep ourselves, in our own strength, and if He made no provisions for our constant cleansing after we had accepted Him we would not remain saved a single day or hour. He knew the frailty of human nature, and since He gives eternal life He also makes provision for eternal life. In the same Christ who saves us we have One also who keeps us. By studying carefully the peace offering in Leviticus 3 you will notice that two parts of the peace offering—the shoulder and the breast—were to be given to the priest. The shoulder is a symbol of power and strength, and the breast is the symbol of nourishment and sustenance. Both these are provided in Him who became our peace offering on the basis of the blood of the burnt offering and the righteousness of the meal offering. While we have peace with God because of His work for us, the peace of God is ours only as we exercise the power of a cleansed life and feed daily upon Him who is both our food and drink; the Lamb who was slain for our sins and then became the Passover Lamb to feed us during our journey through the wilderness.
Two Kinds of Christians
The Bible classifies Christians as carnal or spiritual. The carnal Christian is one who has accepted Christ, appropriated Him as substitute and righteousness and is thereby at peace with God. However, the carnal Christian has never truly appropriated Him as the sin and trespass offering, thereby receiving the peace of God. There are victorious Christians and there are defeated Christians. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life.” – John 10:10. That is one thing. But then He adds, “That they may have it more abundantly.” That is quite another thing. We may be in the light and be saved, but we are admonished also to “walk in the light, as He is in the light.” – 1 John 1:7. We come to Christ for salvation but we come after Him for service. Jesus said in John 4, to the woman at the well:
“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:13-14.
It is one thing to have the water of life in you, but that is not all. In John 7 Jesus says:
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” – John 7:38.
That is quite another thing. In the first instance, the man has eternal life in Him, but that eternal life does not profit anyone else. This life must flow out of Him and refresh the lives of others. The first is salvation, the second, the fruit of salvation. There is a baptism in the Spirit for salvation and a filling with the Spirit for service.
When we accept Christ as our burnt and meal offering, we receive the first, and have peace with God, but it is not until we appropriate Him as our sin and trespass offering that we experience the second. The last two offerings in Leviticus, then, are God’s provision for the saints. We need to stop only once at the burnt offering—only once to be saved—but we fail to go to Him as our offering to be cleansed and forgiven, thus to be fitted for renewed service. It is the failure of Christians to confess their sins and receive the cleansing that makes for the deadness and fruitlessness of the average believer.
To Be Continued