Continuing my series going through RC Sproul’s, “The Holiness of God.”
Chapter seven, War and Peace with a Holy God
At this juncture in Dr. Sproul’s treatise on the Holiness of God he begins to bring everything to a head. He’s defined holiness, he’s covered what it means to consider or rather reflect on God’s holiness, and now the reaction to it. This reaction is primarily to be viewed with the knowledge of what Jesus Christ has done for those whom have faith in his righteousness as their own.
He begins by referring to four biblical characters and their stories confronting God personally; Jacob, Job, Habakkuk, and Saul/Paul. Each has a story arch that touches on despair, fear, doubt, and then peace. Whether Jacob in his wrestling with God himself, being fearful of the consequences of meeting his vengeful brother for the first time in years; Job coming to grips with God’s prerogative in how he mediates with us through our own despair; Habakkuk’s doubts as to if God is truly there in our sufferings; Paul’s defiance in his former existence persecuting the very people Christ has redeemed, claiming them as his own body; we can find the “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
This peace is given to us through faith in Christ. The faith that Christ has accomplished everything for us, and bestowed upon us his very own peace. “It is a holy peace, a peace that is “other” than a routine earthly peace. It is the kind of peace that only Christ can bestow. It is the kind of peace that Christ Himself possessed.”(pg. 184)
Now onto the questions…
- Has God ever engaged you in an honest struggle, as he did Jacob? What was the outcome?
Yes, I do believe he has. When I was 28 I had a major crisis in my own life and walk with the Lord. I had been running from the implications of what the gospel truly was; though I did not acknowledge or realize it. I broke down and prayed that the Lord place me where ever he deemed right, and I would go. He brought me to the place I never wanted to go again and established me into the most peace filled and humble hearted situation. I could never have imagined where I’m at now would garner such thankfulness.
- Have you ever challenged God, as Job did? What was God’s response?
I honestly can’t say I openly challenged God in a way similar to Job. But passively? Sure. God’s response was to take everything away, and give me what I actually needed, rather than desired. It turns out, what God gives us we turn out to desire. For as a gracious father he knows best what it is we need.
- Habakkuk’s battle with God ended in a statement of faith: “Even if happens, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” What are the “even if’s” in your life? Are you willing to surrender them to the Lord?
My “even if’s” are loneliness based. To surrender them to the Lord is a matter of being content in his Spirit’s presence. Continuing the humility that comes in being part of a local body that emphasizes such peace. On top of that being open to the new things the Lord places in my life, be it relationships I avoid(due to comfortability in being solitary), opportunities for advancement, or being someone people look to for guidance and leadership.
- What does it mean to you personally that Christ’s death offers us unending peace with God?
It means the world. I’m already a pretty peace-filled person, but with the unending peace that comes with the gospel, I have an objective peace that I don’t have to create from within myself.
- How will you worship God for giving us unlimited access to Himself?
By seeking to pray incessantly, loving the saints, striving my fellow brethren to holiness and knowledge of God, and doing all I am called to do within my means and giftings.