“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Heb. 12:14)
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor. 5:21)
The last key in opening the floodgates to the river of God’s peace is having faith in the righteousness of God.
When difficult times arise and it seems as if our prayers are not being answered, we often feel that it’s because we have not been holy or righteous enough. We feel that we do not deserve the blessings and the peace of God that we have asked for.
That statement is absolutely true!
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
In our own selves, we could never be righteous or holy enough to deserve the blessings and the peace of God.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Rom. 3:10)
Someone might say, “I know that before I became a Christian I was a sinner and unrighteous. But even since becoming a Christian, I have failed the Lord so many times that I don’t see how the Lord could ever reward me with anything.”
As long as we believe that we can never have the peace of God because of our mistakes and our failures, then we will never have it.
Many Christians mistakenly believe that since God forgave them of their sinful past, now He expects them to be perfect. However, the Bible says:
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1John 1:10)
The Apostle John used the word “we” because he was speaking to fellow believers.
God does not expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to strive for perfection!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.
“After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (John 13:5)
When Jesus came to Peter, Peter told Jesus that he would never allow Him to wash his feet. Jesus said to Peter that if he didn’t allow Him to wash his feet, then he would have no part with Him.
Peter replied, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.”
“Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.” (John 13:10)
Jesus was using the example that even though a person has bathed, their feet might still get dirty as they walk around the dusty street in sandals. They don’t need to take another bath; they only need to cleanse their feet.
So it is spiritually as we live in this sinfully filthy world.
God understands that as long as we are in this present world, we are susceptible to temptation and failure.
There is a difference between those who turn from the faith and return to their old lifestyle, and those who stumble but get back up again and continue to follow the Lord.
Those who turn from the faith and return to their old lifestyle are compared to a pig returning to the mud:
“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2Peter 2:22)
Those who stumble or fail but get back up again are called the “just”:
“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (Prov. 24:16)
God has provided a cure for our failures through the blood of Jesus Christ.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1John 1:7)
Just as Jesus washed the dust and dirt that clung to the disciples’ feet, He will wash from us the stain of sin that clings to us when we yield to the temptation of the world.
When we repent and ask for God’s forgiveness then we are striving for perfection and there is no condemnation.
As the Heavenly Father looks upon us through the blood of Christ that has washed away our sins, He does not see our “imperfections”, but He sees us “perfected in Christ”.
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14)
God’s willingness to hear and answer our prayer has nothing to do with whether we have or have not stumbled in our Christian walk. His deliverance from our troubles and His blessings upon our lives are not a reward to us for how good we have been.
His blessings are a reward given to Christ because of His obedience. He gives them to Christ by giving them to us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3)
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Eph. 1:4)
Having faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and believing that God will hear, answer, and bless us based solely on how righteous and perfect Jesus is, will turn the last key and open the floodgates to the river of God’s peace that will keep our hearts and minds through Him.
We are living in a time when the world is filled with fear and turmoil. Financial institutions and systems are failing. Governments are unsure of what to do.
We are witnessing political upheaval around the world. Natural disasters are increasing at an alarming rate. Crime rates and inhumane acts are on the rise.
We are living in a time spoken of by Jesus Christ long ago.
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26)
According to the Word of God, it will get worse before it gets better.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2Tim. 3:1)
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2Tim. 3:13)
Alcoholism and drug addiction have reached epidemic proportions as men try to escape from the bad news and turmoil that surrounds them.
Multitudes have turned to religion after realizing that the momentary relief the world has to offer is not the answer.
Sadly, often times they leave the religious services feeling worse than when they came.
Possibly now more than ever before, men need the peace of God that comes through Jesus Christ. Dismayed by vain religion, the peace they see in us may be the most powerful sermon they will ever hear.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)
As much as we want to experience the peace of God in our life, our Heavenly Father wants us to have it even more than we do.
His desire for our peace is twofold. First, that we would be free from fear, worry, and anxiety for our own sakes.
“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” (Psalm 35:27)
Secondly, that the world would see in us the manifestation of the one thing that cannot be found anywhere in all of creation except in the Lord Jesus Christ:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1Peter 3:15)
How can anyone know that we have hope within us? Hope is invisible:
“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Rom. 8:24)
They know that we have hope because of what they do see. They see the peace that we walk in while other’s hearts are failing them for fear.
And when they ask us the reason for what they see, we are able to share with them our faith.
They will know the faith that we share is real because they have witnessed the proof of the Holy Spirit within us. The river of peace has flowed out from us and touched their lives.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)
Lives will be changed for all of eternity, and we will have the added peace of knowing that by choosing to walk in peace, we have made an eternal difference.