Peace of Mind or Peace with God?
by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Rockford
It is becoming more and more obvious that many of the ears of today are listening for the spiritual but are unable and therefore unwilling to hear the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. What they would call a spiritual quest is in truth an emotional quest—cast in spiritual terms. The contours of both their spiritual struggles and the solution to them are determined purely by subjective feelings and sensations of peace and wellness.
Michael Horton writes in Christless Christianity: “Once you make your peace of mind rather than peace with God the main problem to be solved in your life, the gospel becomes radically redefined,” (p. 39). Where the Gospel is redefined, so also must sin and sinfulness be redefined.
What is forgotten in this quest for peace of mind or sense of wellness is the very captivity of the mind to sin, which is hostile to God (Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21). If I as a sinner cannot make peace with God, why am I so easily deceived into believing I can make peace with myself? At this point, self has become the almighty I must answer to rather than God the Almighty.
The deeper reality of this deception is that where I have made my own peace of mind or peace within the main issue and purpose of my life, there I have made my sinful self the god to whom I and all others must answer. Having made God in my own image, I must go in search of those preachers and pastors who will shepherd not me, but the things I have done, the things and people around me and what they do so that I may have peace of mind and a happy heart.
Horton describes the sad consequence of this quest. “‘How can I, a sinner, be right with a holy God?’ is simply off the radar… Once the self is enthroned as the source, judge, and goal of all of life, the gospel need not be denied, because it is beside the point,” (p. 40).
How gloriously merciful our Lord is in that He makes us new creations born not of our wills, our works or ourselves but born of God in Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13; 2 Cor. 5:17). We are reborn in peace by, and therefore with, Almighty God.
As we have been set free from making peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, we are equally set free from making peace with ourselves. Inasmuch as the Lord Jesus Christ has made full and glorious peace for me with the true God through His passion, death and resurrection, He also gives me His peace in the midst of the hostility of my sinful self, because it has been crucified with Christ.
Our Lord does not call us to make peace with ourselves, but to simply “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” (Col. 3:15).
May constant and unyielding love of our Savior Jesus Christ expressed through His living and enduring Word bless you with “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” which “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:7.