… A Place to Be at Peace
When Jesus was born, heavenly angels pronounced and sang:
“... behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. .... Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:10-14)
Furthermore, Jesus Himself elevated Christians who would be “peacemakers”:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
No doubt there is a wonderful joy that comes from spiritual brethren dwelling together in peace and unity:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
Based on these blessings, it is easy to see how many might misunderstand that Christians should be a people who appease, pacify, and surrender in all conflict for the sake of peace. Certainly, this can be easier and more pleasant for the moment, giving people what they want.
However, that is not the kind of peace to which Jesus called us:
“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.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:34-37)
How then are we to understand that Jesus was to bring peace and that Christians are to be peacemakers, since Jesus came to bring a sword of division, even to the point of cleaving families? The answer lies in closer examination of both Jesus’ and the angels’ words. Jesus was to bring “goodwill toward men;” that is, Jesus was to make peace between God and men, which often creates conflict among men of differing minds toward God! Likewise, Christians’ most blessed accomplishments reside in making peace between God and men by both teaching and applying the “gospel of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
Peace among Christians is maintained through diligent, trusting, loving effort (1 Corinthians 13:7):
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Consequently, some spiritual differences may need to be examined on occasion. Although this may produce some unsettling doubt or conflict for a little while, true Christians emerge not only with “one mind” (1 Corinthians 1:10) but also stronger because of an increased, proven love for each other and God’s Word (2 John 1-2). At Pepper Road, by helping each other grow closer to God through the truth in His Word (John 17:17), we also grow closer to each other. Only in this way can we build a true peace that will endure because it is built first on a foundation of maintaining peace with God (James 3:17). Will you build with us on this foundation of peace that God alone provides, “surpassing all understanding” (Philippians 4:6-7)?