Peace without judgement?

My weekly big-block study time this morning was in Jeremiah 27. In particular, I was struck by how this chapter sets up the confrontation between Jeremiah, a true prophet of the LORD God, and Hananiah, who was eventually shown to be a false prophet speaking words of false hope (see Jeremiah 28).

As with other prophets (eg, Ezekiel), Jeremiah is given a physical illustration of the message he brings: the people of Judah and the surrounding nations faced a choice: bow to the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar or be punished by sword, famine and plague (ie, suffer the consequences of a military campaign against you). In effect, the people were being given an opportunity to acknowledge their sin and bow their heads to Nebuchadnezzar as a mark of repentance to the LORD. Included in the particular message to the king of Judah and the priests in the temple is a warning not to listen to false prophets. The LORD makes it clear that such prophets actually prophesy lies. The truth was that there was going to be no deliverance from Babylon, and there was going to be no immanent return of temple articles. Instead, Judah was to be entirely subject to Babylon, and the remaining temple articles were also going to be carried away.

Any prophetic message calling for humility in confession and repentance must be taken seriously as a message from the LORD. A prophetic message of peace without such humility is a false Gospel. Peace with God and eternal life is only granted to us when we give ourselves up to judgement. Yet, here is the wonder of the true Gospel of amazing grace. We do not have unconditional peace with God apart from judgement, but a peace with God that is secured for us by Jesus as he fulfils the condition of our judgement in our place, upon the cross.

Anyone who speaks of peace with God apart from saving work of Christ is speaking a false Gospel.

Any preacher, elder or church leader who speaks a message of peace with God without any call to humble yourself in confession of your sinfulness and repentance of sin that permeates to your very core should be treated with caution and their message regarded as a false Gospel of hope apart from the gracious saving work of Christ.

Anyone who speaks of peace with God only thru saving work of Christ is speaking the true Gospel.

Conversely, any preacher, elder or church leader who speaks a message of peace with God that necessarily entails a personal humility in confession of your sinfulness and repentance of your sin-corrupted nature should be accepted with honour and their message regarded as the true Gospel of hope that depends on the gracious saving work of Christ.