Although it is all but impossible these days to find anyone who would say humanity is at war with God, Scripture states clearly that until God takes the initiative to call a person into a saving relationship with Christ Jesus, there can be no peace between the Creator and that individual. This is certainly an important theme in the writings of the apostle Paul. We see in Romans 5:1 that the atonement and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to His people results in peace between them and God. When a sinner repents and trusts in Jesus alone for salvation, the war between that person and the Lord ends and peace is forever established between Creator and creature (Col. 1:19–20).
There have been many false peace agreements throughout human history; perhaps the most famous one was the so-called “peace in our time” that Neville Chamberlain “secured” with Adolf Hitler prior to World War II. Yet unlike these broken treaties, God makes an everlasting peace with His people. Grounded in the perfect work of Christ and established according to the promises of the One who cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Heb. 7:25), this peace is eternal. The Lord disciplines His children on occasion, so we may sometimes feel anything but peaceful, but this does not mean God has broken the friendship secured in the atonement. All those who truly know Him will enjoy the blessed peace of His presence forever.
Jesus’ precious blood gains for us peace with God, and His work in fulfilling and setting aside the Mosaic law establishes peace between Jew and Gentile. This work was finished two thousand years ago, but it still remained necessary for the full explanation of the benefits of the cross to be given to God’s people. Consequently, Jesus “came and preached peace” to those who were far off (the Gentiles) and those who were near (Jews). In Ephesians 2:17, Paul is referring to the apostolic preaching of the atonement delivered in the letters of the New Testament. This preaching is nothing less than the preaching of Christ Jesus Himself, which the apostles wrote in words inspired by the Holy Spirit. Because of the writings of Paul, Peter, and the other apostles, we can see just what Christ accomplished at Calvary, even if it will take an eternity to plumb the depths of the cross.