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TEXT: I Peter 1:2b
SUBJECT: Watson on Redemption Applied #7: Peace
This evening, with God's favor, we'll move on in our study of Thomas Watson on the Application of Redemption. Watson was a English Puritan who lived in the 17th Century and preached, wrote, and suffered much for the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As used here, the word, "redemption" is just another way of saying "salvation". Its "application" is in contrast to it's plan and purchase. The Bible teaches that sinners are saved by the work of the Trinity. In eternity, the Father plans to save us; on the cross, our Lord died to save us; and, at some time in our lives, we become saved by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Thus far, we've looked at six parts of salvation. They are faith, effectual calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, and assurance. In the Gospel, God calls us to salvation and gives us the faith to answer the call. Through this faith, we are made acceptable to God, we enter His family, we feel His love for us, and we begin growing in grace.
Now let's move on to peace.
Watson begins the chapter by limiting his subject. He says,
"Peace, in Scripture, is compared to a river which
parts itself into two streams.There is an external
peace-peace in the family, peace in the nation,
and peace in the church.and there is a spiritual
peace, which is twofold: peace with God and peace
Outward peace is good. Peace in the family, in the nation, and in the church are blessings of God. We ought to pray for them often and to promote them as far as we can.
But this is not what we're getting at here. Here, we mean peace with God and with conscience. The two are not identical, of course. You can have peace with God and live in terror. Or you can have no peace with God and live without a care in the world. But, here, we're looking at both kinds of peace: objective peace with the Lord and subjective peace with yourself.
Where does peace come from? That's an easy one: it comes from God. Watson says
"It has the whole Trinity for its Author.
God the Father is the God of peace.
God the Son is the Prince of peace.
Peace is said to be the fruit of the Spirit".
It is not hard to prove this, but it's very hard to remember it. Especially if you've committed a big sin. When I commit a big sin (or live without much thought for God), I feel unsettled. I want to get back the peace I once had, but where do I look for it? Too often I look for it in myself. I tell the Lord that I didn't mean to commit the sin I did-or, if I did mean to-that I'll never do it again. I'm looking for peace in my own repentance.
But the Bible never puts peace in what I do or say or feel. You've sung the hymn, but do you believe it?
"Not what my hands have done
can save my guilty soul;
not what my toiling flesh has borne,
can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear the awful load".
The author of peace is God. If you never had it, look to Him for it. If you used to have it, but don't any more, look to Him for it. If you used to have it-and still do-keep up looking to Him for it.
If all peace comes from God, then how do you explain the peace many unbelievers say they feel-and judging by their lives-do feel?
Well, let's start with the facts. The ungodly do not have peace, Isaiah 57:21,
"There is no peace-says My God-
unto the wicked".
If they don't have peace, what do they have? Watson says,
"The wicked may have something which looks
like peace, but it is not. They may be fearless
and stupid, but there is a great difference between
a stupefied conscience and a pacified one".
The unsaved enjoy the peace of a drunk soldier in the middle of a war. He thinks the explosions are fireworks; he mistakes gunfire for popping champagne corks. He feels great about himself, but he's in grave danger.
There's a difference between sleeping in peace and passing out drunk. They may feel the same, but they are not the same.
False peace can be distinguished from the real thing in three ways. Watson says,
"False peace has much confidence in it,
but this confidence is conceit."
If your peace comes from yourself-either in what you do or in what you don't do-then it's a phony peace. The Pharisee slept well at night-but went to hell when he died. True peace is set on Christ and not self.
"False peace separates those things God
joins together, namely holiness and peace".
True peace is not the result of holiness, but the two go together. Phony peace, on the other hand, is always claimed without anything in the life to support it. I know a man who has been drunk for most of the last twenty years. Yet, because of going forward at the end of a church service way back then, he's sure he's going to heaven. When you read verses in the Bible that say he isn't, he goes waves them off and tells you what he did twenty years ago.
"False peace is not willing to be tried".
This-I think-is the most important thing Watson has to say on the subject. A sincere person is open to God's probing. I John may sober him, but it doesn't scare him. A hypocrite is defensive. He either won't read I John, or, if he does, he only takes the tests he's feels sure to pass.
If your peace with God is conceited, defensive, or not attached to holiness, you can be sure that your conscience is seared-and not clear.
If hypocrites can feel "at peace with God"-without being at peace with Him, what about the saved? Do all believers have peace?
Objectively, we do! Every believer has
"Peace with God through
the Lord Jesus Christ".
But we don't always feel that peace. In other words, though we have real and lasting peace with God, we don't always enjoy peace of mind. Why not? Watson names three causes:
The first is ignorance,
"The godly may not enjoy peace through a misake
about sin. They find so much corruption that they
think sure, if there were grace, there would not
be such a strong working of corruption. But this,
so far from discouraging them and hindering their
peace, is an argument for it. No man may feel
sin but by grace. Dead things cannot combat."
Struggling with sin-and losing to it often-are proofs that your peace is real, not phony. As long as you imagine that a believer's life is pretty much free from temptation-and yielding to it-you'll never enjoy the peace Jesus Christ purchased for you.
"My little children, these things I write to you
that you do not sin. But if any man sins, he has
an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
The second is laziness.
"The godly may not enjoy peace through
remissness in duty. As the fire decays the
cold decreases, so as fervency in duty
abates, our peace cools".
Maybe you don't have the assurance you once had because you're drifting away from God. You don't read the Bible as much as you used to; you don't pray much any more; your church attendance is spottier than it used to be; and so on.
Peace with God is something like peace with your wife. If you ignore her or treat her like dirt, she still loves you, but the house won't be as quiet and comfortable as it used to be!
The third cause is the work of Satan.
"Through the fury of temptation. Though the
devil cannot destroy us, he can disturb us.
He disputes our adoption; he makes us
Question the work of grace in our hearts;
If Satan cannot make us ungodly, he will
Make us unqiet".
Some Christians give the devil too much credit. They seem to think he's got the Lord stifled. We know better than that. But, we often go to the other extreme-and not give the devil his due. He is powerful and crafty. If he can't take your soul, he'll try to take your peace. The great Bible example is Job.
Never underestimate the devil. If you know salvation is by grace alone and are trying to serve the Lord, don't be depressed about a lack of peace. It's just the devil bedeviling you.
If you've never had peace, where do you find it? Only in Jesus Christ. Many professed Christians have no peace because they're not saved. They're in the church, but they're not in Christ. You will never have peace-solid and lasting peace-till you find it through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But, if you've had peace in the past, but not any more, Watson tells you how to get it back and keep it. Four things:
Walk with God.
"Walk closely with God. Peace flows from
purity. God's Spirit is a refiner before
He is a comforter".
Why would you expect to have peace while prizing a known sin and neglecting God and His Word? Would you want to have peace while in sin? Would you want a good conscience while you were willfully disobeying the Lord? You'll never have peace without some holiness.
Make war on sin.
"If you would have peace, make war with sin".
If God is the Enemy of Sin, then how can you expect to have peace with Him and peace with sin at the same time? Should a man who supports Al Queda and praises Osama Bin Laden wonder why he doesn't get along with the United States Marine Corps? But that's just what many Christians do! They love their sins and wonder why they don't feel at peace with God.
"Let us ask God for it. He is the God of
peace who can beat back the roaring lion
and still the raging of conscience".
I don't need to say much here, do I? If you pray for lesser things (like a job or good health), why don't you pray for something really important? Like peace.
Go to Christ.
"Go to Christ's blood for peace. Some go to
fetch their peace from their own righteousness,
and not Christ's. They go for peace to their holy
life, not Christ's death. If conscience is troubled,
they strive to calm it with duties. This is not the
way to peace. Duties are not to be neglected,
but neither are they to be idolized! Look to
the blood that was sprinkled! If the blood of
Christ pacifies God, it must pacify conscience".
He is right on the mark here. There's no way to get peace with God or to keep it other than the keep going back to Christ for pardon and for grace. If you want to have peace, stay in touch with the Prince of Peace. And the love of God be with you. Amen.
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