Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. (2 Peter 3:14)
I vividly remember the morning. It was still dark and as normal as any other morning driving to work. Suddenly my windshield was covered with debris and gravel and I could barely see anything because of the cloud of dust that seemed to swallow my vehicle. Through the dust I noticed a set of headlights heading straight towards me just as fast as I was driving towards towards the oncoming vehicle. The vehicle swerved toward the driver side of my vehicle, missing me by just a foot or two.
I was struck like never before by the reality of death and the brevity of life. I really thought I was going to die in what would’ve been a head on collision. In that moment, the words of 2 Peter 3:14 flashed across my mind like lightning, and I remember asking, “Lord, am I truly at peace with you?”
How can we be sure that we’re at peace with God? The answer to the question can be found in something I read concerning David Dickson, a Puritan from the seventeenth century. When a friend went to visit Dickson on his death bed, he asked him how he was doing. The dying man responded, “I have taken all my good deeds, and all my bad deeds, and cast them together in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace.”
I have taken all my good deeds, and all my bad deeds, and cast them together in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace.
We can know that we’re at peace with God when Jesus Christ alone is our hope, our boast, our confidence, and our glory before the living God. We can leap off the cliff of time and plunge ourselves into an endless eternity with strong confidence when our confidence in standing before a holy God is grounded in and founded upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Have you taken all your good deeds, all your bad deeds, cast them together in a pile before the Lord, and have you fled from that pile in order to lay hold of the resurrected Jesus? If so, enjoy the sweet peace that flows from having your sins forgiven and being reconciled to God. You’re complete in Christ. Enjoy the sweet peace of knowing that for the repentant, believing sinner, “it is not death to die.” For you, death will be a beautiful chariot to transport you to an infinitely better world.
On the other hand, if you haven’t ceased from trusting your good deeds, placing them in the same pile of all the detestable things you’ve done, you may have a sense of peace but be assured that its a peace that will wither and burn the moment you appear in judgment before the God who created you. The Bible teaches that trusting your good deeds is just as bad as deriving pleasure from your bad deeds. Your only hope of salvation and of being accepted by God is to turn from your bad deeds and your good deeds and to place your hope and confidence in Jesus Christ, who lived the life His people could never live and who died the death His people should’ve died – under the wrath of Almighty God.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)