Christian theology in a Sudanese context. God's chosen Saviour - Jesus!
In Sudan’s long running civil war, there have always been those people who are seeking what they call a ‘just peace’. While all sides militarily try to defeat the others, aiming to win a great and final victory, those seeking a ‘just peace’ are looking for ways the war can stop immediately – with a fair distribution of wealth, equal treatment for all people, shared rewards and responsibilities, plus full appreciation of each individual with his or her abilities and needs. To bring together two or more human enemies, there will always have to be some ‘give and take’, some compromises made. One side will give way on this demand as the other side gives way on that. The seemingly endless rounds of negotiations between the Sudanese Government, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, mediators from neighbouring African and Arab countries, and the past colonial and present world powers, have shown that reaching a ‘just peace’ is very, very difficult. When thinking about the need for peace between people and God, there is a rather different emphasis. People and God do not ‘negotiate’ on any terms, and certainly not as equal partners. How can the created dare to negotiate with the Creator? Humankind has become the enemy of God due to sin (see chapter 30). In Jesus Christ, God has made a ‘just peace’ between Himself and us (Romans 5:10,11). Each individual now has a choice. ‘Do I remain an enemy of God?’ Or, ‘Do I accept His offer of friendship to me and meet the terms that He sets down?’ “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:8). An individual’s peace with God depends upon him or her approaching God through the Saviour Jesus Christ. There is nothing any person can do to earn or buy peace with God (Galatians 2:16). God has graciously given us The Way we can come to Him. This is a huge difference between human peace negotiations and ‘peace with God’. In talks between warring sides, concessions are often grudgingly given. This party does not really want to give up its claim to something, but it has to do so for peace to come. The party resents what it has to do. How different from God, Who has freely, generously, willingly, liberally and lovingly given us what we in no way deserve: a peaceful friendship with Himself!
This does not mean that the serious things which make us God’s enemies do not matter. They are permanently real barriers between us and God. He has a holy hatred of sin and everything sinful. But – and here is the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ – God has fairly taken the barrier down Himself. What no person could ever deal with, God has dealt with Himself. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross paid the full penalty that was owing to the wrath of God (Romans 3:21-26). Because God has paid Himself what we owed to Him, He remains ‘just’ while forgiving us for our sin. He can only forgive us ‘justly’ because everything that was due has been paid. Because of our sin we deserved eternal death. God the Son, Jesus Christ, died that death in our place. We do not owe God our death anymore. And, since Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we can now live life at peace with our holy Creator. “If, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” Romans 5:10. Justification is a legal declaration by God that we are made instantly right with Him. My sin has been taken away – paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross – and His righteousness is given to me for my clothing in front of holy God.
Imagine a man buys bread regularly from the back of a Hilux truck. Almost every day he pays his money and takes his bread home. Then imagine the time comes when he has no money to pay. He is hungry and still needs the bread. What can he do? He could try and steal bread, grabbing some and running away fast through the suk. If he did so, the law would be against him and he could be caught and taken to prison. But supposing someone else came along and gave the man selling bread a very large amount of money. He said to the seller, ‘Every time this man comes for bread, please give him some, and take the cost from this very large amount of money I have given to you’. Our man could then take bread every day, without paying for it himself. The shopkeeper and the police would not mind him doing so, because the price has already been paid by someone else. He could keep on taking daily bread until this money was all used up.
God’s just provision for our peace with Himself through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
will never, ever, be used up!
Thinking it through.
(a).How does God’s holiness affect our sin and our salvation?
(b). What is the difference between receiving justice from God and getting what we deserve from Him?
(c). Describe how a person can experience complete peace with God.