Peace with God
By Pastor J.D. Link
In reading Ephesians 2:13-19, we find that Jesus is our peace (vs. 14); He made peace (vs. 15); and He preached peace (vs. 17). Through our faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1). On the cross, Jesus was chastised for no fault or sin of His own, but for our peace He suffered and died (Isa 53:5). Jesus made peace through the blood of His cross, to reconcile us to Himself (Col 1:20).
In Isa 9:6-7, we find that the prophesied Child born and Son given was the mighty God, who is the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His peace, there shall be no end. When this promised child came to earth, the angels of God announced “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Lk 2:14). It is very important to note, that this peace was between God and man, not among men. In His first coming, Jesus did not come to bring peace among men, but rather, division (Matt. 10:34, Lk 12:51). The Gospel is divisive on earth. It separates the sheep from the goats. Like a sword, it pierces between that which is soulish, and that which is spiritual (Heb 4:12).
Now it’s true that we should be peacemakers (Matt 5:9); at peace among ourselves (1Thess 5:13); and as much as possible, we are to live peaceably with all men (Rom 12:18). However, peace among men is only the byproduct of the peace Jesus came to give between God and man. The Christmas message is Jesus – the Arm of God, and the olive branch from Heaven – coming to this earth to reconcile man with the Father. That is the primary thing.
Isa 55:12 says we shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace. While this is a Kingdom verse, we must remember that as new creations in Christ, the Kingdom is within us – because the King is within us (Lk 17:21). This means we are led forth with peace now in our spirit. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17), and peace is the fruit of that spiritual union (Gal 5:22). Therefore, the peace of God abides within us. It does not come and go, but remains (Isa 54:10). The only thing that comes and goes is our acknowledgment of it and walking in it.
What should this peace produce within us? First, freedom from fear (Jn 14:27). We need not be afraid or troubled, for Jesus has given us His peace. Second, it produces joy (Jn 16:33). His words bring us peace; and when we have trials and troubles in life, we can be of good cheer – for He has overcome the world.
How do we practically walk in this peace? We must be spiritually minded (which is life and peace), by keeping our mind always focused on Jesus (Isa 26:3, Rom 8:6). We read and meditate on God’s Word, to remind ourselves of His promise of indwelling peace. We must let this peace rule (govern, umpire) in our hearts (Col 3:15). “Let” means we can allow it or prevent it. We can choose to let it reign, or we can allow troubles, worries and cares to dominate our thoughts. It is up to us.
What should then be our proclamation? Peace (Isa 52:7, Rom 10:15, Eph 6:15). As ambassadors of Christ, our message is reconciliation (2Cor 5:17-21). We have the ministry of reconciliation. Like the Angels of Christmas announced, Jesus is peace and goodwill from God to man. “Be reconciled to God, for through Jesus Christ, He has reconciled Himself to you.” This is the Gospel. This is what the Incarnation (God becoming flesh) is all about. Before the resurrection was the cross, and before the cross was the Incarnation. This is what we celebrate this week – and truly, every week!
I pray this Christmas week, we would all meditate on this wonderful truth. The truth that Almighty God has made peace with us through His eternally begotten Son. That if we have accepted and proclaimed Jesus as Lord and Savior, God is at peace with us. We are not His enemy. He is for us, not against us. Are you at peace with God? God has extended His hand from Heaven – will you reach up in faith and receive His offer of peace? If we reject this awesome and benevolent offer, what else is there for us to do (Heb 2:3)? We must be born again (Jn 3:7).
I pray each of you have a very blessed, peaceful, loved-filled and merry Christmas; and may the peace of God abound within you in 2017.