In the Human Dilemma, that is our fallenness, we find it impossible to experience both real peace and true freedom. In the human world, these are incompatible. One must give way for the other. But the fact that we still strive for both is telling. Our longing for these is the lingering effect of what humans once enjoyed prior to the beginning of the Human dilemma. It is the suggestion of how humans were intended to live. And it is the shadow of what is to come.
This begs the question: How do we get it back? If real peace and true freedom remain in us as an echo from the past and a hope for the future, what must we do? Human history proves we will never achieve this on our own. No human effort will ever correct the condition that brought on the dilemma. Here we find a truth we must embrace: The Human Dilemma requires a Divine Solution. In other words, we need help from the outside from someone who does not wear the stain of human fallenness.
Thank God, our help has come. The Divine Solution came in the man Jesus Christ. Amazingly, the Bible records Jesus’ words regarding our longing for real peace: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) And for true freedom: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free….Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32, 36)
There it is, the lost treasure offered to us again. Through Christ we can again know real peace and true freedom. But notice He says His peace is different from that which is sought in the world. And though He doesn’t say it, it is likely that His freedom is also of a different order. Those who understand this different order often find themselves in conflict. The history of Jesus’ disciples is not the story of comfort and ease. Quite the opposite, it is the story of persecution, affliction, imprisonment, harassment, and death. Yet those who understand Jesus’ different order claim to know peace while persecuted and freedom while in chains. How can this be?
The answer is simple, yet hard. True followers of Jesus know peace and freedom now in their spirits. As long as they live in this world, peace and freedom are internal. The Holy Spirit living in them sustains and encourages them while they endure the frustrations of this world. But this is not just consolation for suffering. The Spirit also enables them to know that peace and freedom will not always be internal only. There will come a day when Christ will return and establish His different order. Then real peace and true freedom will be external as well.