It is a wonderful assurance we have that we belong – we belong to God. Not because of anything we have done, but because in love God Godself has brought us near. It is by God’s own work of grace through which God has destroyed all that has made us outsiders and brought us into relationship and fellowship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
A recent message of Dr. Stone’s was on the passage in Luke when Simon the Pharisee had Jesus over for dinner, and a woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed them with ointment. I was drawn to the last verse where, after saying to the woman “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus then said, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). I wondered what Jesus meant by “go in peace” and felt it must be much more than simply something like, “You may be on your way now and be at peace.” In fact, the dialogue resonates with Paul’s words, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). Looking into the Greek, I found that “go” (poreuo) may be translated “proceed”, and “in” is not the normal word en but eis which is often translated as “into”. And so it could be that Jesus, after pronouncing the woman forgiven, then directs her to go or to proceed into a state of peace – with all barriers between her and God now removed, she enters into peace with God. This is pure gift, one we all can or have received from God by grace. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and we experience real inner peace.
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 us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. (Eph 2:13-19).