Quentin A. Holmes, Central Presbyterian Church, Eugene, Oregon
In a world of strife and pain, Christians can have peace with God. Many of us long for peace in the world, as have generations before us. Sometimes it feels as if our world is headed in the other direction! In contrast, Jesus said, “My peace I give to you… let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27).
The late evangelist Rev. Billy Graham used three key words repeatedly in his preaching: Fact, Faith, and Feeling (in that order). Through Billy Graham’s lifetime of preaching, thousands of people came to know the peace of God.
Fact: Christ came, lived, died, and was resurrected for our sins. This fact is often expressed through the words of poems and the words of hymns:
“He came to pay a debt He didn’t owe
because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.”
The Bible does not call upon us to believe something that is not credible, but to believe in something that transcends all history. To believe that the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, done for sin and sinners, is effective for all who trust in Him.
Faith: Faith is rationally impossible when there is nothing to believe in; faith must have an object. The object of Christian faith is Christ. Faith involves more than an intellectual assent to the claims of Christ. Faith involves the will. It is volitional. Faith demands action. Faith actually means surrender and commitment to Christ. You and I do not know Christ through our five physical senses, but we know Him through the sixth sense that God has given every person, which is the ability to believe. Believing is an experience as real as any experience. In Romans 1:15 the Apostle Paul writes, “He who through faith is righteous will live.”
Feeling: When we understand something of Christ’s love for us, just as we are, we respond with love for Christ, and love has feeling. It is a love that frees us from self. Love for Christ is above human love, yet there is a similarity. In human marriage there is commitment. Feelings come and go. Commitment stays. We who have committed ourselves to Christ have feelings that come and go – joy, love, gratitude, etc. However, the commitment remains unchanged. In 1 John 4:18 we read, “…but perfect love casts out fear.” And those who love Christ have confidence in Him that raises them above fear.
The peace of God does not mean that no ill will ever befall us. Rather, it means that God is always there with us. Through good times and through really tough times, God will be with us ALWAYS.