Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Shalom

I'm finishing up a study on the book of Romans. Just some light reading of course, nothing major in that book (sarcasm inserted here).

In fact, part of the text we were looking at is this:

I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15: 30-33


One of our questions related to Paul's use of the phrase "God of peace" in many of his letters and why we thought he focused on that characteristic of God so often. It also strikes me that Paul often begins and ends his letters wishing God's grace and peace upon the reader.

As I thought through my answer two things stuck out to me. Paul, the Jew of all Jews (save for Christ that is) probably never experienced a moment of peace in his Jewish faith. When your entire hope of salvation is built upon your ability to keep the law, perform ceremonies and sacrifices, and attain a standard of perfection, peace must be an unreachable dream. And yet, when you are fully aware of your inability to earn God's favor and are at the same time at rest in Christ, peace abounds. So you can reason that law = no peace, while grace = full peace.

And then a more specific answer jumped out to me on this question. Paul is asking for prayers from the church at Rome, specifically for his future trip to Jerusalem where he will face capture and torture.

And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20: 22-24:


Facing the unknown is one thing, facing a possible angry mob is something else, but knowing with assurance that you will be imprisoned and afflicted and walking into that willfully takes a peace that is without measure. This is the peace that characterizes Paul's life. This is the peace he has found in the midst of grace. This is the peace that he finds in His Lord. And this is the peace that he speaks of to all who will listen.

I want that peace. I know I have it. I know it is a product of the grace that covers me. I want to take hold of that peace and let it overwhelm my life in such a way that I willfully walk through life fearing nothing, rejoicing in everything, and praising God through all things.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

Hm. Good Points.

I struggle with having the same kind of peace because, I struggle with remaining in Him because my will continues to battle His.

Only when we let go can we experience it.

5/08/2007 3:22 PM  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I have to give myself permission to enjoy peace in the midst of trouble. I always feel like being okay with things is wrong.

Being at peace does not mean we are complacent but I have to tell myself that all the time.

5/10/2007 12:35 AM  
Blogger Eddo said...

Excellent post KT! Wow, so right on and so timely. Right now my world is crazy and I have to trust in the Lord one day at a time and I need his peace that passes all understanding. Thanks for this post.

5/10/2007 12:05 PM  
Blogger green said...

You know I look at my life's current difficulties and I realize that in the grand scheme, God is in control. The things I worry about today are trivial. The trials I go through in this life are temporary.

I'd like a measure of Paul's peace as well. I know I have it, too. But I want to live it as well.

Thanks for the reminder.

Romans.....light reading indeed!

5/10/2007 2:28 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

Great reminder. It's hard to fully comprehend how we can have peace, sometimes...but I suppose that's why it surpasses all understanding. God is so gracious!

On a not-so-serious side note,
Tag.

5/10/2007 11:15 PM  
Blogger Eddo said...

What? No wedding pictures yet? Didn't I see you taking a picture with Callie Chancey? I expected it to be here already!

Great wedding, wish it hadn't been so warm in there and that we could have done some dancing.

5/14/2007 7:26 AM  

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