“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.”
In our last study we looked at God’s Plan – a plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together in eternity, before time began (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2)
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and joined with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in determining an eternal plan “before time began.” We see God’s Plan revealed through God’s Word.
Overcoming the World
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In just one brief statement, Jesus Christ summarized God’s eternal plan. We are considering this amazing statement in four stages. We’ve seen that God has spoken through prophets and His Son. Now we move to the second stage.
The Need for Peace
What happened in the garden of Eden moved Adam and Eve from a position of ruling with God to being in need for reconciliation with God. That was a big change in their relationship – a change God had planned for in eternity.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:8-10
God knew where Adam was, but His question addressed the heart of humanity’s problem. Adam and Eve “hid” from the presence of their Creator. The problem? Fear. Why fear? Because Adam knew what he had done. He was afraid of what was coming. God had told him – “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Adam knew he had disobeyed God and brought a terrifying change into their relationship – that change was “sin.”
Rejecting “the word” of God is rebellion against God. That rebellion of rejecting God’s Word “is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15:23). “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). There can be no peace where there is rebellion, lawlessness and wickedness (Isaiah 48:22). Even though God immediately introduced the ultimate path to forgiveness of sin in His words to the serpent (“He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel”), the human race would suffer greatly from the rebellion.
“To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.’ Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:16-19
God made tunics of skin and clothed Adam and Eve before they left the Garden of Eden for the struggles that awaited them outside. God taught them how to make “sin offerings” that He would accept. Adam and Eve taught their children how to present the offerings to God (Genesis 4:2-5). As descendants of the first parents rebelled against God, the Lord started again with Noah and his family and taught them about the penalty of rebellion and the importance of obedience and offerings to God (Genesis 8:20-21). As descendants of Noah rebelled against God, the Lord chose Abram and taught him the importance of obedience and offerings to God (Genesis 15 & 22). As descendants of Abraham rebelled against God, the Lord chose Moses and taught him and the people of Israel the importance of obedience and offerings to God (Exodus 12 & 29; Leviticus 3, 4, 5, 9, 12, 14, 17, 22, 23).
All of these offerings were pointing to THE PLAN God designed in eternity “before time began,” that He then revealed “in time”. God planned to offer HIMSELF to make peace with those who rebelled against Him. That PEACE would come in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Peace In Christ
The He in “He shall bruise your head” is Jesus Christ.
“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:9-11
We have peace with God through the “blood of His cross.” Another plan made in eternity.
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Colossians 1:19-22
When God told the serpent (Satan) in the garden of Eden that He would put “enmity” between Satan and the woman and between Satan’s seed and the woman’s Seed, who would bruise (crush) the head of Satan’s seed, God was presenting His plan for human reconciliation. What we see in God’s eternal plan is that God would do everything in reconciling humans spiritually and physically. God the Father would send God the Son from Heaven to earth who would be born of a virgin after God the Holy Spirit had “come upon” her (Luke 1:35). God the Son would die on the Cross and “triumph” over Satan by wiping out the requirements against us, “taking it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14-15).
The Hebrew and Greek words for “peace” are used hundreds of times in the Bible. Peace is a primary theme in God’s eternal plan. God wants us to have peace with Him and with each other.
The Hebrew verb שָׁלַם (shalam) can be translated as “be whole, be complete, make amends, make safe, be sound, be uninjured, requite, recompense, reward, offer sacrifice, make peace-offering.” The noun shalom can be translated as “completeness, sounds, welfare, safety, health, prosperity, quiet, tranquility, contentment, friendship, well-being.”
Here are some examples of how the Hebrew words for peace are used in the Old Testament.
“Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.” Genesis 15:15
“So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.” Joshua 9:15
“Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the Lord.” 1 Kings 2:33
“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
“I will hear what God the Lord will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly.” Psalm 85:8
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
[Other Hebrew words translated as “peace” include חָשָׁה (chashah), תּוֹדָה (todah), שְׂגָא (sega), and שַׁלְוָה (shalvah)]
The Greek words translated “peace” include the noun εἰρήνη (eiréné – peace of mind, harmony, concord, security, safety, felicity, tranquility), the verb εἰρηνεύω (eiréneuó – keep the peace, bring to peace, be at peace, live in peace), and the adjective εἰρηνοποιός (eirénopoios – peacemaking, peacemaker).
Here are some examples of how the Greek words for peace are used in the New Testament.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
“And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:34
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18
“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:13-16
God is the “author” of peace. The “fruit” of the Holy Spirit is peace. Jesus “made” peace in “one body through the cross” so He might reconcile Jew and Gentile to God. Our peace is truly “in Christ.” Peace is God’s eternal plan.
In the next part of our study, we will look at the third stage of God’s Eternal Plan – Tribulation in the World.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”