Salvation: Objective and Subjective


The salvation of God in Jesus Christ has an objective and a subjective side that are inseparably linked and yet clearly distinguished. Not distinguishing between these aspects of salvation can lead to confusion and unnecessary emotional turmoil regarding one’s own testimony of faith in Christ.


Objectively, our justification before God depends completely upon the Lord Jesus Christ. This is clearly expressed in Romans 5:1, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The wrath of God against you and me (sinners), is removed because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. We are set free from the just condemnation of our sin on the basis of Jesus giving Himself a ransom for us on the cross.


Subjectively, we have the peace of God within us as we understand all that was accomplished for us and realize the relationship we now have with God in Christ. This is the peace of God, that passes all understanding that Paul refers to in Philippians 4:7.


Peace with God does not depend upon the peace of God. In other words, God's just condemnation against you the sinner is not removed by your sense of peace. Jesus Christ alone is the reason for peace with God. Faith in Him alone satisfies the sinner’s need for righteousness. This same faith in the same Christ leads the justified sinner to live in the grace of Christ and experience the peace and joy that comes through Him.


Peace of God is the experiential side of our salvation. Peace with God is the foundation of the peace of God. The first is conditioned on Christ alone. The latter is conditioned on our response to Him, including looking to and thinking upon Him.


This distinction is important lest your confidence before God be turned away from Jesus Christ unto yourself, which will surely disturb your peace. Keeping your mind fixed upon the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of sinners, will encourage your sense of peace in relation to God. But your sense of peace is not the determining factor of your peace with God. You must believe with the faith that is from God and placed in Jesus Christ. The sense of peace that follows this faith is the peace of God.