Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
Since 1992, The Innocence Project has seen more than 350 wrongfully convicted people exonerated and freed from prison (and more than 150 actual perpetrators convicted). When someone is released from prison after years of incarceration, they experience profound peace of heart and mind. But peace of mind comes only after they have experienced peace with the criminal justice system.
There is a two-fold peace in the Christian’s experience as well. We are promised the peace of God when we commit our troubles and requests to Him, peace that will guard our heart and mind as we abide in Christ (Philippians 4:6-7). But we can only experience the peace of God because we have peace with God. “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Both are important, but there is an order: first, peace with God; then, the peace of God. Both are gifts of grace, worthy of praise to Him.
If you are seeking God’s peace in your life, make sure you have peace with God first. Both are ours through faith in Christ.
When we lack the peace of God, we should turn to our peace with God. Robert M. Horn
The Divine Guarantee of an Eternal Salvation, Part 1 (Romans 5:1–2)
Go and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19
I was eager to return to St. James Infirmary in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and reconnect with Rendell, who two years earlier had learned about Jesus’s love for him. Evie, a teenager in the high school choir I travel with each spring, had read Scripture with Rendell and explained the gospel, and he personally received Jesus as his Savior.
When I entered the men’s section of the home and looked toward Rendell’s bed, however, I found it was empty. I went to the nurse’s station, and was told what I didn’t want to hear. He had passed away—just five days before we arrived.
Through tears, I texted Evie the sad news. Her response was simple: “Rendell is celebrating with Jesus.” Later she said, “It’s a good thing we told him about Jesus when we did.”
Her words reminded me of the importance of being ready to lovingly share with others the hope we have in Christ. No, it’s not always easy to proclaim the gospel message about the One who will be with us always (Matthew 28:20), but when we think about the difference it made for us and for people like Rendell, perhaps we’ll be encouraged to be even more ready to “make disciples” wherever we go (v. 19).
I’ll never forget the sadness of seeing that empty bed—and also the joy of knowing what a difference one faithful teen made in Rendell’s forever life.
Reflect & Pray
What are some things you can do to introduce people to Jesus today? As you share your faith, how does it encourage you to know Jesus is “with you always” (Matthew 28:20)?
God, we know that people need You. Help us to overcome our fear of telling others about You.
I recommend that believers underline Isaiah 41 in their Bible and meditate on it frequently. When one of God’s people is seeking an anchor in turbulent times, this is the right passage for the job. Here, Isaiah writes about the source of Christians’ strength.
In Isaiah 41:10 alone, the Lord promises strength, help, and protection. Moreover, He gives two commands: “Do not fear” and “Do not anxiously look about you.” Among Satan’s subtle and successful traps is the art of distraction. The evil one knows that fear can choke faith. He works hard to make unsettling circumstances a person’s sole focus. Once a believer’s attention is diverted from God, natural human tendencies take over. In the absence of prayer and worship, anxiety and doubt grow unobstructed.
Staying focused on the Lord can be hard. The flesh prefers to seek security by thinking through all possible angles. Our tendency is to weigh what we think could happen against what “experts” say will happen, and then to evaluate possible ways of preventing our worst fears from coming true. Instead of becoming more confident, we begin to realize how powerless we are. Thankfully, we serve an almighty God who says, “Surely I will help you” (Isa. 41:10). We can count on Him.
By focusing on our circumstances, we’re actually choosing to feel anxiety and doubt. But these emotions don’t belong in a believer’s daily life. Instead, let’s decide to trust in the promises God has given us. He’s filled His Word with scriptural anchors to keep His children steady in the faith.
“And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23)
In the context of this passage, Jude has been exhorting us to “build up” ourselves in the “most holy faith,” keeping ourselves in God’s love and looking forward to “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:20-21). The instructions that follow may apply to us and our fellow believers. If so, then these categories would fit the “vessels of . . . dishonour” that Paul alludes to that are in a “great house” (2 Timothy 2:20).
“Of some have compassion, making a difference.” Some of those in our circle of influence need our “pity.” The word choices imply a desperate need that we must attempt to remedy. Many of the Lord’s healing miracles were done because of compassion. We are encouraged to “make a difference” in the lives of those who urgently need the healing of the Word of God.
“Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.” These are in jeopardy of eternal judgment. They are truly needy but are more dangerous to deal with. Even the imagery used by Jude is fearful. These are so “spotted” (dirty, filthy) by their fleshly deeds that we must “beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17).
Jude’s admonition is also applicable to Paul’s concern for the unsaved Jews that he “might save some of them” (Romans 11:14), or his willingness to become as “them that are without law” so that he might “gain them” and to become “as weak, that I might gain the weak” (1 Corinthians 9:21-22). The instructions are valid for either perspective.
Paul echoes Jude’s concern when he says, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). HMM III
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.
—1 Timothy 6:20
Some preachers have such a phobia for repetition and such an unnatural fear of the familiar that they are forever straining after the odd and the startling. The church page of the newspaper almost any Saturday will be sure to announce at least one or two sermon topics so far astray as to be positively grotesque; only by the most daring flight of uncontrolled imagination can any relation be established between the topic and the religion of Christ. We dare not impugn the honesty or the sincerity of the men who thus flap their short wings so rapidly in an effort to take off into the wild blue yonder, but we do deplore their attitudes. No one should try to be more original than an apostle. GTM144
Give me a word from heaven, Father, that will fly without my weak efforts at cute originality! Amen.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.—Revelation 7:15.
So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be,
How know I what had need of thee,
For thou wert strong as thou wert true?
They who have gone before have not therefore passed into a condition of lethargy or vacancy. They may be nearer to us, as they are nearer to the perfect love. They may guide us towards a holier and ampler freedom, since they suffer no more the limitations of time. The veil is rent. There is with us the presence of the unseen host.
The work of God hath not lost them, if we take it in its most capacious, comprehensive acceptation. God hath a will to be done not in earth only, but also in heaven; they are not dismissed from the King’s business who are called from the camp to the Court, from being common soldiers to be Privy Councilors.
“And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17
Only by coming after Jesus can we obtain our heart’s desire, and be really useful to our fellow men. Oh, how we long to be successful fishers for Jesus! We would sacrifice our lives to win souls. But we are tempted to try methods which Jesus would never have tried. Shall we yield to this suggestion of the enemy? If so, we may splash the water, but we shall never take the fish. We must follow after Jesus if we would succeed. Sensational methods, entertainments, and so forth — are these coming after Jesus? Can we imagine the Lord Jesus drawing a congregation by such means as are now commonly used? What is the result of such expedients? The result is nothing which Jesus will count up at the last great day.
We must keep to our preaching as our Master did, for by this means souls are saved. We must preach our Lord’s doctrine, and proclaim a full and free gospel; for this is the net in which souls are taken. We must preach with His gentleness, boldness, and love; for this is the secret of success with human hearts. We must work under divine anointing, depending upon the sacred Spirit. Thus, coming after Jesus, and not running before Him, nor aside from Him, we shall be fishers of men.