The Peace You Can Have Right Now
Peace is so delicate. The smallest thing can disrupt it, or eliminate it completely. A single word can shatter our peace on a visit to the doctor’s office. One day in the stock market can turn our peace upside down. A virus can test every fiber of our peace. And that’s why I’m thankful for Hebrews 13:20.
Look how it starts: “Now may the God of peace…” That’s the first massive, life altering truth we read about God in this verse. The God of the universe is a GOD OF PEACE. Man does that sound like good news, right? That God isn’t war hungry, blood thirsty, or a God with a quick temper, but that He’s a God of peace. That’s talking about his essence, his being. You know how you have that friend that pops off the handle and you make the excuse to others, “Oh man that’s just Tom, he’s just an angry dude.” That’s not God. God is not like Tom. He’s not trying to confuse us, or keep us in the dark, or make power moves in our lives to throw us off…His essence, his being, is that He’s a God of peace.
Maybe that’s not how you’ve always pictured God. Maybe you’ve pictured him like a massive, cosmic judge who is looking for things you’ve done wrong in your life. Like He’s a God who doesn’t want you to have any fun, but just wants you to obey a lot of rules and then he’ll be happy with you, but if you don’t, then He’s like a God of war who is angry with you ready for likens.
Well, get in the boat with the rest of us, because we’ve probably all been there. Because God IS a judge, a cosmic judge of the whole world. He created this universe and everything in it to live in this universe by HIS way, but mankind rebelled against that like a pack teenagers listening to Pink Floyd. But instead of “hey, teachers, leave those kids alone,” for mankind it’s “hey, God, leave ALL OF US alone! Let us live in Your world, our own way.”
And in that rebellion, we all made God our enemy. That’s the result of living in God’s world but ignoring the God of this world, we make him our enemy. And so in our lives we won’t experience the peace of the God of peace. There’s no way for us to have deep, lasting peace if we don’t have the peace that God wants to give us. Instead, our lives will look like what James 4:1 – “What’s the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war.” Instead of peace in this life, we’ll have chaos, uncertainty, fear, panic, war, we’ll have death. Those are the things we’ve brought into this world. Those are the things we bring into our lives all the time.
And we’re scraping and clawing to try to find peace, to find something that’ll bring us peace.
And here we see that God is a God of peace, of the exact peace you and I are looking for.
And look what this God of peace does…
“Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus…” There’s the next world shattering truth we see about God. God is a GOD OF LIFE. Even though our rebellion against God puts us all on a path toward death, God steps in and says, un-uh, death’s not gonna have the final say here. There’s no peace in that. There’s only despair in death. So God just defeats it. He kills it. He shows that death is not more powerful than Him but that He’s more powerful than death. Because this God of peace brought a dead man, Jesus, back to life. And, if you theology nerds wanna dig deeply into this, in John 2 Jesus tells the people that if they destroy his body that he himself will raise himself up from the dead, and in 1 Peter 3 it says that Jesus was made alive by the Holy Spirit so the Trinity, all of God was involved in the resurrection, in having victory over death.
If you’ve experienced a death of someone near you recently, we would grieve that with you, because death shouldn’t even be a part of our experience. Our rebellion against God brought death into our story as a consequence, and now we’ll all have to taste it. But we don’t have to fear it. We don’t have to be anxious about it. Our God is a God of life. That’s why death can be taunted in the Bible like in 1 Cor 15: 54 – “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?“ That’s like hitting a fall away jump shot on a lockdown defender and then spouting off: “brah, where’s your defense? You can’t guard me. You’ve got nothing!”
We can have peace about death because God tasted it for us. Jesus died, just like we all will. And in Jesus the God of peace showed us what He can also do for us, he can raise us from the dead. Earlier in 1 Corinthians 15 it says this: “For since death came through a man [that was mankind’s our rebellion against God that brought death], the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.“
We will all be made alive. Death doesn’t win. God does. Life does. Because God raised Jesus from the dead.
He raised Jesus to bring peace into this world because He’s the God of Peace.
He raised Jesus to defeat death and bring life into this world because He’s the God of Life.
And there’s even more in verse 20: “Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus — the great Shepherd of the sheep…” So the God of Peace was on a mission to bring us life and having done that, he doesn’t leave us alone to figure out life on our own. He’s also our great shepherd. So what does that mean? That means that He’s a GOD OF PRESENT CARE. A God who cares for us every day, every moment. in the midst of darkness, and turmoil, and danger, and fear. He’s a God who fights for us and leads us to safety.
Just look at how God’s described in Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.“
Do you hear the amazing care that God, our Great Shepherd, shows us? When we’re in our darkest valleys, when we’re facing danger, when the enemies of sin and disease and uncertainty and doubt and so many others surround us…Our good shepherd is providing for us, having us lay down, leading to still waters, renewing us, with us, comforting us, inviting us to sit down at a table and eat!
The God of care IS caring for you even in your darkest, seemingly helpless, moments.
Maybe some of that uncertainty and fear is creeping up into your life as our economy is tanking, incomes are drying up, and you’re realizing that you have far less peace in life than you realized. Maybe you’re realizing that your peace has been totally tied to your circumstances, what you have, and now that what you have has been threatened, you have zero peace in life. You just have anxiety, fear, and uncertainty.
Guys God is a God of care. He wants you to experience real, incredible peace even in dark valleys of loss because in those valleys, He’ll be caring for you. You will personally experience God’s care, because God raised Jesus so that He could bring you into his family and care for you now and forever.
Look at verse 21: “May the God of peace… through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight…” Here we see that the God of peace isn’t just gonna make it possible for us to have peace with him, but He’s gonna equip us with everything that’s good. He’s gonna work in our lives in good ways so that we can do good in this world. This is the God of peace literally turning his enemies into his friends, his kids. Making peace with us would have been enough grace, but now God is showering us with gifts we also don’t deserve by transforming our lives from our ugly, rebellious lifestyles to new, beautiful ways of living. We see here that our God is the GOD OF CHANGED LIVES.
Like, look what it says in Ephesians 2, it’s just said that we were dead in our sin and God brought us up to life and now that we have new life verse 10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” God has prepared good works for you to walk in. Things in this life that please God and satisfy you, God’s prepared for you a life THAT. IS. GOOD. He wants to transform our lives of chaos and fear and anxiety into lives of goodness, doing good.
If you’re like me, you need summa that! I desperately need to be changed, to be transformed from walking in the bonehead decisions that I regularly make to doing things that are actually good.
So how do we get that? This says that it all happens through Jesus. Look at the end of verse 21: “equip us and working in us… through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” This changed life here comes into our lives through Jesus. Actually, everything here in these verses is through Jesus. We experience it all through Jesus.
What is it about Jesus that brings all of these amazing things into our lives?
What did he do?
It tells us right at the end of verse 20: “through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” Through the blood. Jesus made all these things possible for us through his blood. See guys the resurrection of Jesus that happened on a Sunday is great and powerful and effectual in our lives BECAUSE of what happened when he died on a Friday.
When Jesus hung on the cross, his blood dripping down his body from the wounds of being tortured, a payment was being made. Jesus was paying the price that our rebellion, our sin, deserves. He was our substitute on that cross. HE was treated like a rebel. HE was treated like a sinner. He was treated the way WE deserve. And God in His justice, poured out our judgement on Jesus. He punished Jesus for us. And the price that Jesus paid, his own, sinless life, was accepted by God. That’s why 3 days later, on Sunday, God raised Jesus from the dead. The resurrection showed that Jesus’ payment for us was accepted by God.
Jesus died for rebels.
Jesus died for sinners.
Jesus died for people who’ve rejected God their whole lives.
Jesus died for people who don’t have peace.
Jesus died for people who are heading toward death.
Jesus died for people who are lost and in danger.
Jesus died for people who are constantly making bonehead decisions.
Jesus died for you.
Jesus died for me.
Jesus died so that all of us without peace could have it.
And God accepted it. God counted Jesus death for you. You can have it.
There’s no 10 step program. There’s no 7 minute peace. We just have to accept what Jesus did. We have to accept that amazing gift that God gave us. And you can accept it today. We can rest in it today. And when you do, you get God’s peace, his life, his present care, the changed life that is beautiful.
That’s my prayer for you, that you’d trust Jesus today, and start living in the peace that the resurrection of Jesus guaranteed that you can experience.