At this time of year when much of the world celebrates the Catholic holiday "Christmas", we find much ado about the phrase "peace on earth" from Luke's account of Jesus' life (Lk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.). Unfortunately, most people think of this "peace" as a physical state of non war between all the countries of the world. While this is a lofty ideal - it can never be accomplished on this side of Heaven. Jesus sheds more light on the subject in John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid. The peace of Christ is far different than the way the world views peace.
True peace, the type that the Christ brings, is a three fold peace. First and foremost it is a peace between sinful man and a Holy God. We see this in Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Second, it is a peace with self, an inner peace. Phil 4:6-7 shows this clearly as it states "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Thirdly, it is a peace between the nation of Israel (as the chosen of God) and the Gentiles (as those without hope). Eph 2:14-18 says "For he himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father."
How much more precious is the peace that Christ offers. All the peace in the world would be in vain if man was still separated from God. There ARE many peaceful people in the world, but without Christ, they will be lost in the end (Jhn 14:6, Acts 4:12). Christ offers a true and everlasting peace. The peace of knowing and embracing God's gift of salvation. Therein lies the "good news" of Luke 2:10 "- - - good tidings of great joy which will be to all people" A spiritual peace is an eternal peace. Peace in the world is fleeting and temporary. May we take the peace of Christ to all who will hear. (See also Isa 9:6-7, Rms 8:6)
Mike Sullivan 12/04/02