Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV]
Counterfeit peace is the greatest enemy of true peace with God, especially during an exhausting war. After protracted engagement with the enemy the thought of living at peace is attractive, even beguiling. No one wants to spend their lives waging a war with no end, or being constantly vigilante for sneak attack. Worn down by an ever present battle the combatant will be physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually fatigued. It is at such times two things will happen, are guaranteed to happen, for the Christian.
First, the Spirit of God in us will protect us from the results of the assaults of the enemy, even when it seems our enemy is winning. We cannot be taken away from God nor will He allow those who are His to walk away from Him. Secondly, the enemy will do what the enemy does. He will lie, offering a reasonable compromise, or something which seems reasonable to the fatigued warrior. Which do we believe? Do we believe the promise of a liar or the promise of One Who Cannot Lie?
Our peace is not dependent upon our actions, the conflict in which we find ourselves, or the work of any created being. Those who promise must be able to deliver and want to fulfill what is promised. We must view, not the promise but the one who has made the promise, as able to deliver. We cannot look to the promise itself, or our understanding of the promise. Bent by sin will cause a misinterpretation of every promise. We will manipulate and coerce and control the promise to get what we want, leaving behind the true promise for an unreasonable expectation. Our enemy wants us to focus on anything other than the Great Promiser.
Satan disguises himself in order to deceive. He disguised himself as a serpent and lied to Eve and Adam. They listened to him and were driven away from a place of peace to a world of conflict. Since that time, throughout history, people have lied and been trained to lie.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. [2 Corinthians 11:13-15 ESV]
We first lie to ourselves and then to others. There is a remedy.
We must embrace God and allow our attitude toward and about the world to change as He changes us, preparing us for eternity. Such a simple statement reveals deep and complicated ramifications. If it were truly simple, and perhaps we complicate it more than we need, then those who are indwelt by the Spirit, our promise and guarantee of salvation, would instantly recognize the truth and every lie seeking to compromise truth. Paul would have written one letter, not more than a dozen, and perhaps dozens more we no longer have, giving easy to follow instructions to the Church. We would win the war with sin, raging within each Christian, and never compromise.
God does not want us to win this war with sin. This is something His Son has already done. When He said “it is finished” [John 19:30] He declared the work He came to accomplish was done and would never be undone. We cannot undo His work. We can view His work as incomplete. Doing so reveals an absolute misunderstanding of who God is and why Jesus came. God wants us to know we are His and to act like we are His.
Peace is not something for which we should strive. It is to rest in what is finished by the One who promises and will deliver on what is promised. We are in the midst of a war internally filled with conflict and surrounded by promises of more lies. Having peace under such circumstances is a powerful testimony to the truth of God.