Monday, December 21, 2015

“Peace With God, Peace With People"

    "He maketh wars to cease" (Psalm 46:9).

    The day will come when throughout the earth, the Lord establishes His reign of love, peace, and justice.  This is not that day, of course.  We rather live in times of "wars, and rumors of wars" (Matthew 24:6).  It is a day, however, when God can make wars to cease in our hearts, first with Him, and then with people.

    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).
    "He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us" (Ephesians 2:14).

   In Christ, God establishes and maintains a relationship wherein we are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).  Through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus, our Heavenly Father births us into "the whole family of Heaven and earth" when we believe (Ephesians 3:15).  He spiritually enrobes us in Christ's righteousness, accounting that the wrath we deserved burnt itself out upon the Christ who died on the cross.  Thus, we have peace with God, although in our present lives, we may not always experience the blessed gift of grace.  Our spiritual enemies seek to cloud our awareness of how accepted we are, and sin hinders our awareness and walk in the peace of God.  At times our Heavenly Father also chastens us because we are at peace with Him - "whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).  Such times will not feel peaceful at all, but again, the very fact of our justification and adoption as God's sons and daughters in Christ accounts for His loving heart and hand of discipline.  In Christ, believers eternally exist in a relationship of peace with God, a truth we must affirm based upon our confidence in the atoning work of our Savior.  The outworking of that relationship will not always feel peaceful, for the the reasons mentioned.  But the war between ourselves and God must be viewed as ceased if we are to a fuller experience and more faithful expression of our bond with Him.

    Regarding people, we possess the capacity in Christ to "if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peacably with all men" (Romans 12:18).  Indeed, we bear no sword against others, even if they do against us.  The Lord who so mercifully forgave and accepted us works in us to walk in the same attitude that seeks to establish a relationship of peace with people.  We do not compromise His truth in doing so, but we do "seek peace, and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14).  The presence of the Prince of peace constitutes the "as much as lieth in you" mentioned by the Apostle Paul, and confidence in His loving, involved and active presence often establishes terms of peace without compromise where we least expect it.

    Our Heavenly Father is devoted to the peace of our hearts, and to the peace of our relationships with people.  Let us anticipate His working in this holy regard, rejoicing in our bond with Him, seeking to walk accordingly, and seeking also to "live peacably with all men".  The joy that accompanies peace will fill our hearts, and our blessed Prince of peace will be revealed and glorified as He causes unnecessary wars to cease.

"The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace."
(Psalm 29:11)

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