If someone were to ask for a one-word description of what the gospel brings us when we repent and believe, there is little doubt that most people would answer with the word salvation. Certainly, this is an appropriate reply, for we are saved from the wrath of God when we put our faith in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 1:9–10). But there is another answer to the question, and that is the word peace. After all, Paul refers to the gospel as the “gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15), and he also tells us that having been justified by faith alone in Christ alone, we have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
We know from Scripture and experience that unredeemed sinners do not have peace now. Unregenerate people are estranged from God, and estrangement from our Creator is the lot of all of Adam’s natural-born descendants before they know the Savior. We are born in sin (Rom. 5:12–21), and thus we are not only estranged from God but also at enmity with Him until we trust His promise of salvation. Apart from Jesus, we are friends with the world and hate God; we approve wickedness and justly deserve His wrath (Rom. 1:18–32; James 4:4).
In order to have peace we require a mediator — a person or persons who can represent both sides in the dispute and help effect reconciliation. For human beings at enmity with God, there is but one mediator — the God-man Christ Jesus (John 1:1, 14; 1 Tim. 2:5). He is the “mediator of a new covenant” who guarantees an inheritance to those who believe on His name (Heb. 9:11–28). Being fully human, our Savior is able to represent His people and their interests as the perfectly righteous One in whom His disciples are reckoned just before our holy Creator. Being fully God, Christ Jesus represents the interests of His Father as the supreme Emissary sent to reveal God’s wrath against the sins of His people on the cross and God’s great love in giving His Son to die in our place.
Unlike Jesus, we cannot be mediators in the sense of redeeming others from sin. What we can do is imitate, however faintly, our Creator’s work of peacemaking by helping to bring about true and godly peace between warring parties who cross our paths. In so doing, we prove that we are children of God (Matt. 5:9).
It is important to note that the peacemaking that reveals our status as God’s children is peacemaking concerned to promote an authentic, holy peace. The false prophets of Israel promised a fake, ungodly peace, and many people today want to paper over real differences and make light of ungodliness in the interest of “peace.” Let us never attempt to make this type of false, temporary peace between others.