Chapter Twenty: “At Peace with our Heavenly Father” (20-1)

We began this book by remembering that there once was peace throughout the universe. There was peace because all the members of God’s vast family trusted each other. They trusted their heavenly Father, and He, in turn, could safely trust in them. But then a war began in heaven, a conflict of distrust. An adversary leveled false charges against God, and God began His long and patient demonstration of the truth. This conflict was not over mere obedience to the rules, but over the very character and government of God Himself. In this last chapter we explore the outcome of that great conflict, what it means to be truly at peace with God. The resolution of that conflict was and is costly, but the ultimate outcome will be worth the cost.

Victory for God is more than the destruction of His enemies. He could have won that kind of victory very easily, by the exhibition of almighty power. But such a victory would be sad, since God’s enemies have been His own beloved and misbehaving children. What victory would it be for God to destroy them, easy as it might have been for Him to do? There will be no victory for God unless what went wrong has been set right, and peace in His family has been made eternally secure. God will not settle for a false peace based on force or fear, He desires a real peace based on freely given love and trust. How could He be satisfied with anything less from His children?

There could certainly be no peace if God were the kind of person Satan has made Him out to be–arbitrary, exacting, vengeful, unforgiving, and severe. And yet there are explanations of salvation that seem based on the assumption that Satan’s false picture of God is the truth. For example, “God is arbitrary,” some will say, “but as Sovereign He has the right to be.” “God takes vengeance,” others will say, “but for Him we should call it justice.”

Few would dare say that God is unforgiving and severe, yet they imply the same by urging the necessity of a friend up there to plead with God to forgive and heal. If God is like that, the mere adjustment of our legal standing would be like a presidential pardon. It would hardly bring peace between God and His misbehaving children. While He might choose to forgive under certain circumstances, peace with a God who is arbitrary, vengeful, and severe would be little more than a ceasefire, a temporary truce.

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