Peace with God

“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you,’ mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12). “The angel of the Lord” was probably a theophany (a manifestation of God) or a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. Like Moses, God had commissioned Gideon to deliver Israel. To make sure this word was from God, Gideon asked for a sign. When Gideon brought his offering as instructed, “Fire flared from the rock consuming the meat and the bread” (vs. 21).

“When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, ‘Ah Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die’” (vs. 22,23). Any natural person would respond as Gideon did if suddenly confronted by the presence of God. If that be the case, then why would anybody want to draw near to a Holy God who is perceived as a consuming fire?

That is the unfortunate perspective of many defeated Christians. They live their lives as though God were out to get them. If they made just one mistake then the hammer of God would surely fall on them. Dear child of God, the hammer fell. It fell on Christ, once and for all. You are not a sinner in the hands of an angry God. You are a saint in the hands of a loving God who has called you to come before His presence. “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12).

“So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace” (vs. 24). Jesus is the prince of peace and His primary work was to mediate peace between fallen humanity and God. “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Notice that Paul wrote in the past tense. It has already been accomplished. There is nothing more that needs to be done. We will not die in the presence of God as Gideon feared, we are already in the presence of God, because we are alive “in Him.”

I have spent a lot of time explaining who we are in Christ for several reasons. First, being a child of God is the only means by which we can have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Second, a biblical psychology must begin with an understanding of who we are in Christ. Third, no person can consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with what they believe about themselves. Finally, knowing who you are in Christ is the last thing the devil wants you to know. “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but He who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18).

Dr. Neil

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