(The following is from a series of facebook posts, I have been doing on boldness in serving the Lord.)
Reason #15 for why you can be a bold Christian: We have peace with God
Judges 6: 22-24 When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” The Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
In 2011, Damon Gameau began an experiment of eating 40 teaspoons of sugar a day for 60 days. He had a diet of sugar derived from hidden sugars found in juices, sports drinks, cereals, and sports bars. He filmed the experiment in a documentary called “That Sugar Film.” At the end of the two months, he gained 19 pounds, developed pre-type 2 diabetes and heart disease risks, had an extra four inches of dangerous visceral fat around his belly and noticed an enormous impact on his moods and cognitive functions. A diet of sweets is imbalanced and dangerous.
The modern evangelical church has an imbalance in the spiritual food it consumes. Too much of modern Christian radio songs, books, and sermons are filled with only one message, “Jesus loves you just the way you are.” It is a one tracked diet of peace and grace. And this diet like all imbalanced diets is dangerous.
Now you are thinking, what is wrong with grace and peace? Shouldn’t the gospel be central and Christ our focus? Yes, we should never lose the centrality of Christ and the gospel. But our diet is so focused on a syrupy sweetness of love, that we never really get around to what is true peace and grace. In the modern diet, Jesus is a means to an end. He is just something you add to your life to make you feel better when you are down. “Feeling depressed, don’t take an antidepressant; try Jesus, he’s the cure.” “Stressed out? Jesus can bring a little peace to your life.” When all we ever hear is that Jesus loves us and will make us feel good, we lose the foundation of the gospel. We hear about being loved for who we are so much that we begin to think “of course Jesus would love me” or “if he loves me just the way I am, why would I ever change.”
It is a message of peace that lacks an understanding of why we need peace. It is an imbalance at best and it is dangerous. Jeremiah warned about prophets who proclaim peace when there is no peace. Isaiah 57 tells us that there is no peace for the wicked. When Gideon saw the angel of the Lord, he was terrified. This is the response of all men and women in scripture when brought into the presence of holiness. They were afraid and trembled because they revered the holiness of God and were immediately aware of their own sin. Because God is holy, because the wicked have no peace, because they knew they were sinful, they knew that in their nature they were at war with God and God was at war with them. The only reason God could possibly send an angel to them was to kill them. They were face to face with a terrible, terrifying enemy whom they had defied and whom they could not stand against. They were afraid. It is in the context of being undone by the holiness of God and the wickedness of their sin, that God declares peace. Their enemy who would be justified in destroying them declares peace to them. It is the kind of peace that comes at the end of war. And the terms of surrender are repentance and faith. Because God had declared peace upon them, they had no reason to be afraid. They could be bold while still being reverent.
Brothers and sisters, we can have peace through Jesus Christ. But it is not a cheap therapeutic kind of chi and inner peace. It is peace with the God of the universe on his terms. And if we have peace with the God of the universe through our great King, Jesus, then we can be bold. We can be bold to repent. We can be bold to obey. We can be bold to resist the lies of Satan. We can be bold to turn away from worldly pleasure. We can be bold to fight our own flesh. We can be bold to proclaim the full counsel of God. Since we have peace with God, we get to eat at his table in the presence of our enemies. And that is a well-balanced meal.