When we say it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, we may be referring to the changes taking place in our home. Scattered family members often return. A tree is decked with ornaments. Cookies are baked and stockings hung. Holiday movies are watched, over and over again. Christmas carols fill the house.
These special traditions may help us sense God’s peace. But to think properly of “peace,” we should think first and foremost of peace with God. He is perfectly holy, so our sinfulness makes us His enemies. Unless we repent, we remain in rebellion and at war with the Almighty. On our own, we’re not capable of making peace with God (vv. 6–8). We need a mediator and a substitute, someone else to pay the price (death). Christ took our place when He died on the cross. To die for one’s enemies demonstrates a love far greater than human love. Only God, namely the Second Person of the Trinity, loved us enough to die for us “while we were still sinners” (v. 8).
Paul highlighted two results of God’s saving love: First, we can have peace with God (vv. 1–2). Since we stand before God justified by faith in His Son, we’re no longer under sentence of death and no longer at war with Him. This is the “grace in which we now stand” (v. 2). It also gives us the certain “hope of the glory of God” as we eagerly anticipate the day when our salvation will be experientially complete (v. 2). Second, we can “glory in our sufferings” (vv. 3–5). This isn’t spiritual masochism but a purposeful, joyful choice. When we’re filled with God’s love, suffering leads to perseverance leads to Christlike character leads to true biblical hope.
>> The only way to experience true peace is through a relationship with God. Christmas can be a fruitful time for sharing the gospel. At this time, people are sometimes more open to hearing the good news. Look for opportunities to share with others what you believe!