Our Peace Was Born in Bethlehem

Audio Transcript

Peace with God. This peace right here is foundational to all other peace. If you try to make peace with your mind and your heart, and all the guilt and anxiety that comes again and again without that peace, and if you try to hold the family together and to make peace at work, you will maybe achieve some brief, superficial measures, but it won’t last — especially into eternity.

All peace inwardly and peace outwardly is based on this vertical experience of: Do I have peace with God? Is it open and clear with God? Are we friends? So the key text, as you might guess where I would go, is Romans 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith [by believing], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Having been justified by faith — by believing, trusting him in all of his promises to me — I have peace. Being justified means God declares you just. God declares you right, righteous, pure, perfect, acceptable. He declares you that. How? I’m not righteous. No, that’s the gospel. It’s through faith in Jesus: the foundation, the purchaser, the blood provider of all the promises. I believe in Jesus, and when I believe, I’m united to Jesus. And what Jesus was, he was for me. And God looks upon his righteousness as mine and his punishment as mine. And therefore, in spite of all my sins, God is my friend.

Just take a deep breath. If God is your friend, if all the anger that God had against you in your sin is gone, and all he feels toward you is for your well-being — which is true. God never does anything for the justified except to do them good. Nothing. Even our discipline unto blood is for our holiness and our good (Hebrews 12:4).

“Christ died in our place. Christ provided an alien righteousness for us that is not ours.”

This is the difference that it makes when Christ comes into the world, dies for our sins, provides our perfection, and we believe, we trust him: God says, “Justified. Peace.” Lots of people come to church on this weekend who don’t usually come to church. They’re not interested necessarily in Christ, and Bible, and salvation, and justification, and all these things. I just want to say something really clear after trying to say what that peace with God is through Jesus.

It’s not by our deeds. It’s not by our tradition, whether Baptist or Catholic or Lutheran or Methodist or Presbyterian. It’s not by baptism. It’s not by church membership. It’s not by piety. It’s not by parentage. It is by faith alone. This is the core of our gospel: Christ died in our place. Christ provided an alien righteousness for us that is not ours. Christ bore our punishment, and he offers it to every single human being, when it is received by faith alone.

And when that faith happens, we are united with him, and his righteousness is ours, and we have peace with God, and there isn’t anything sweeter to go to bed on or get up with tomorrow morning. We have to fight the devil here because he doesn’t like Christmas, and he likes people to be miserable on Christmas morning and Christmas Eve. He will mess this up if he possibly can. So, I’m giving you weapons here with which to fight for your peace.

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