We have considered both acceptance with God and peace with God in our Lord Jesus Christ, giving a summary statement of what that acceptance is in our first meditation, and a bullet list of what is contained in that peace that our Lord and Savior left with His first disciples, and so us.
The chapters of the second meditation were primarily from the gospel according to John, chapters 13-16, and these are so full of the blessings of all that God is for us in our Lord Jesus Christ, this present meditation will continue to look into these chapters, noting that the ending note of this section has the benediction and giving of that peace our Lord leaves with us (John 16:33). We have also noted that all the blessings contained in these chapters are understood in what our Lord said to the disciples herein, and are to be understood by we who come after them and have believed by their words, and the words of faithful men whom they entrusted with the gospel, accordingly (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:2).
Since these things all lead to and partake of that peace our Lord has left with and given to us, we understand that all the many blessings we have in Christ Jesus our Lord, according to that election of God, while presented and lived out experientially in the power of the Holy Spirit, are inherent in that peace, which is itself grounded upon that acceptance with God through the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who took our sins upon Himself, and rising, had His righteousness imputed to us; therefore, we understand this peace and acceptance and all other blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ are on the foundation of His righteousness, which, together with the forensic counting of our sins to Him, is our justification, acquired by the new man exercising saving faith (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 1:3-6; John 1:12-13).
It is important to note that all the blessings we have of God in our Lord Jesus Christ are fittingly inherent in that peace He gives to us when we receive Him as Lord and Savior by faith leading to repentance. This peace is due to God loving us before we loved Him, reconciling us with Himself through Christ while we were yet enemies (Romans 5:10; 1 John 4:10, 19); so, we have this peace because, like the new nature (in and by which it is realized), it is a gift of God’s grace in Christ Jesus our Lord, and is lived out in that power of the Spirit in union with our new nature (Romans 6:1-4; 8:5, 12-14).
So, the peace of God in Christ is a fruit of the Spirit which realizes and encompasses all else that is occurring during the ongoing sanctification we willingly participate with God’s Spirit in; again, this comes about through the means of grace of reading and meditating upon His Word, prayer in the power of the Spirit, and the other means of grace (John 17:17; Psalm 119:11-18; Romans 6:19, 22,; 8:26-27; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
This is all part of what has come to mind during this meditation, for which reason I stated, in the first of these meditations, that this is not chronological; it might even be said that it does not follow along systematic theology as presented by many gifted men used greatly of God; rather, it is the fruit of meditating on these things while considering all that God is for us in Christ Jesus our Lord; I apologize, therefore, if during the reading of these meditations, the reader finds himself seeing one thing that might well be considered before another in a systematic fashion, yet I retain the hope that all who read these meditations will find them useful in their own contemplations of Divine Writ, especially as pertains to these particular subjects regarding the blessings we have of God in Christ.
We found it necessary, in many cases, to include such preamble as above, and certain excursuses (parenthetical) from the main topic in each blessing of God in Christ Jesus as contained in these meditations, in order to form the bedrock by which each may be more completely considered; now, however, let us go back to the main topic, or blessing, we are now concerned with, which is peace in and of Christ left with and given to we who are His disciples.
Since, again, we note this section ending with this peace, and that such is spoken by our Lord in regards to those things He has spoken to His disciples, we see it inclusive of all the manifold blessings spoken by Him to His disciples in these four chapters of John.
In John 13:7, as our Lord is preparing to wash the disciples’ feet, He states that they do not understand what He is doing, but that they will hereafter, and this is a part of the blessing we have of their understanding when they were made fully ready for the ministry of the kingdom and expounding of the gospel of our God’s grace in Jesus Christ, just as those who believed in our Lord without the direct evidence and exposition of our Lord the apostles were privileged to partake of (Matthew 13:10-11; John 20:26-29; 17;19-20). We, as believers individually and corporately, should experience this peace of our Lord as the Scriptures are expounded by faithful men, and thus incorporate this peace into our daily living, always remembering that the words are addressed corporately by our Lord to His disciples, which is also true of each promise of God to us throughout the rest of Scripture (“no man is an island” truly has more meaning in the understanding and living out of God’s manifold grace for those who believe in Christ Jesus unto eternal life).
Lack of understanding, therefore, while it hinders from realization of the full extent of this grace of the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, does not exclude it; however, when giving thanks, trustingly praying in intercession and worship, the fullness of this understanding will become more fruitful (Philippians 4:6-7).
Here, the specific thing our Lord speaks of, despite their lack of present understanding, in the cleansing of those who believe in Him, and by this, we infer it to refer to the cleansing from sin given in regeneration (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Titus 3:5), which leads to the initial and ongoing expression of faithful repentance from sin in our lives by which we continue to realize the benefits of this eternal cleansing (1 John 1:9-2:2). Without giving further references, we can say, with the utmost confidence, that such repentant confession was the teaching of the apostles after our Lord had ascended and they had been filled with His Spirit, as also promised in these chapters in John. Without repentance no confession would have meaning, and though we might find ourselves at times only able to cry out and say God have mercy on me, a sinner, such will in time lead to repentance, as it is from as repentant heart that such a cry always comes for the believer.
Peace with God, though complete in Christ Jesus our Lord, as with all the Christian graces, or blessings, is only experientially realized as we live according to God’s promises, and repentance is always the first and continuing fruit of having peace with God through being justified by the exercise of that faith we are gifted with at regeneration. This is most certainly a part of the ongoing cleansing our Lord does continually provide for us in His gospel work, realized in the living out, by His Spirit’s leading and empowerment of that Word which sanctifies us, all that God is for us in our Lord.
Another thing our Lord spoke that results in knowing and living according to that peace we have with Him is that we will be with Him in glory (13:36); in the following verses, we see Peter’s confident assertion that he is willing to die with His Lord, but not that he understands what our Lord said when He promised that His disciples would be with Him in glory, and the gentle rebuke of such misunderstanding by our Lord showing him not only that he would deny Him as He gave Himself for His people, but of that restoration that would come as the Lord prayed for and willed such (John 13:38; cf. Luke 22:31-32; John 21:15-17).
This is a great part of the peace we have of our Lord, for we know that our continuance in doing the will of our Father is based on His culminated fulfilling of our Father’s will, of His intercession and the other elements of the work He accomplished in the gospel; therefore, our very perseverance is based upon His perfect perseverance, and as Spurgeon so rightly called it, the fifth point of the doctrines of grace most commonly referred to as “Perseverance of The Saints” could well be better stated as “Preservation of The Saints,” because it is upon the advocacy of our great High Priest, as well as all else He alone accomplished perfectly, that our continuing to the end finds its hope and strength within.
Like Peter did, we often need that restoration – like Paul, we may often find ourselves in situations where we may not be even considering desertion of our Lord, yet despair of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8-9); in both cases, there has never been a denial of the truth of who our Lord is – such sinful failure as Peter showed, or despairing of life as Paul and his companions experienced, can only be countered by that work of our Lord that leads to the realization that we ever could – and must – count on Him, alone, for the hope of living for Him now, and of our eternal heritage in Him.
As He lifted Peter from sinful denial of His gracious provisions and denial of personally knowing Him at the time of His humiliation, we see that restoration Peter experienced what is surely ours as well; as Paul and his companions despaired of life itself, yet trusted in God who raises the dead, we see that, no matter the depths to which we may sink in anxiety of circumstances – and though the reference to Paul’s despair does not hold other than the very sin of anxiety which God addressed through this same apostle (Philippians 4:6), we would hold that such contains within it also the despair of hopelessness that sin engenders in our failures to trust in God, yet, because of God’s provisions and promises in Christ, always results again in that trust and so, restoration (Romans 7:24-25) – we cannot but see that, since we are His by His work, we ultimately are restored to the knowledge that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, with the accompanying certain knowledge of this eternal truth worked out in our lives that constantly restores us to experiential living of the very fruit of peace our Lord left with us in that life more abundant.
One cannot be Christ’s and remain in hopelessness – we may not be able to determine the times or the seasons of each member of the body of Christ as to the circumstances (whether internal or external), in terms of length, as to what they are going through, but we can be certain that they, being Christ’s, will not remain in such, but will seek the confirmation of that cleansing realized in renewed confession, repentance and subsequent victorious living (and though we are considering the benefits of these blessings for each member, let us not forget that this is to be comprehended by the body, and sought by the body, as an whole entity – that is, corporately).
Hopefully, the meanderings of this meditation will be a help to those who find themselves needing to realize the peace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord – we conclude this meditation by noting that we have especially considered what it means to be cleansed by the Lord, and to continue to realize this cleansing in His peace, wherein He always restores us to Himself and His body for the glory of God.