Sunday, December 9, 2018

In Pursuit of Peace

During the holiday season, we are often reminded of what the angels declared when the Son of God was born in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” The New Living Translation of this verse reads, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Jesus came to reconcile all sinners to the Father but that doesn’t happen to everyone by default. One must choose to be in right standing with God.

Still, there are individuals who persist in finding peace apart from Jesus Christ. Some dabble in cults or other belief systems because they want to continue living in sin. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” Other unbelievers try to categorize Christianity with other religions claiming they’ve been the cause of every war on this planet.

Most everyone wants peace in their house and for their country. They should begin by looking to the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus said in John 14:27, “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.” He also said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.”

The Bible is full of other verses associating Jesus with peace. The Lord often said to His disciples “Peace to you!” He rebuked a windy sea by declaring, “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39)  After the woman with the issue of blood received her healing, Jesus told her, “Go in peace.” (Luke 8:48) Many of the epistles began with the greeting, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Of course, following Jesus comes with a cost. If you’ve been a disciple for any length of time, then you soon found out not everyone was thrilled with your decision to become a Christian. You probably had friends and even family members shun you. The Lord made this paradoxical statement in Matthew 10:34-36…

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’”

I’ve had sinners tell me Christianity is confusing. Yet 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 says we are shod “with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Every believer should be ready to offer God’s peace to those who don’t know Him. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Many people campaign for world peace but that won’t become a reality until the Second Coming. Before Jesus Christ returns to the earth to set up His millennial reign, the antichrist will set up a false sense of security that will last a short period of time. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

One of John Lennon’s best-known songs has the lyric “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”  I offer this advice to any non-believers reading this: “Give the Prince of Peace a chance.”

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” - Isaiah 26:3

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