As this Christmas approaches I am reminded of the beautiful harmony of my college choir singing,
Peace, peace, peace on earth and good will to all
this is a time for joy
this is a time for love
now let us all sing together
of peace, peace, peace on earth.
Peace is something we long for in a broken world, and yet something that we seldom enjoy. And perhaps the reason that we do not experience it, is that we do not really understand what it is.
In Luke 2:13-14 we read, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!’” In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
The peace Christ came to bring is drastically different from the peace the world is looking for. The world’s peace is superficial, temporary, and never fully realized. But the peace that comes through Christ is real, eternal and will be fully, completely, and perfectly realized when Christ returns to take us to glory.
So what is the peace that Jesus brings? Paul tells us that the foundation of our peace is our justification. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word justified is a judicial term meaning “to be declared righteous.” And it is evident in this verse that the grounds of our justification is faith in Christ. We are told here that when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died in our place, shedding His own blood for our sins, and resting in His works and not ours, we are justified. And the result of this justification is that although we were once enemies of God we are now made friends of God through what Christ has accomplished. Before we were at war with God, but now we are friends by faith through Christ.
Now that is amazing! Christ came to bring peace: peace between God and man. The world looks on with astonishment, unable to comprehend. Make no mistake about it, the sense of enmity between God and man is felt by the world, not to mention the enmity that exists between men. We see it every day as we turn on the news and watch as nations are torn apart by war. Yet, the world looks for peace in all the wrong places. The answers to peace cannot come through economic sanctions or through peace talks. Peace does not come by deposing a dictator or raising up a democracy, as important as those things might be. True peace can come only through Jesus Christ.
If you are in Christ, then friends you have peace with God! And that peace is something to rejoice in and to proclaim to others not only in this season but throughout the year. Because what Jesus did was to give himself as a sacrifice, standing in our place, receiving the judgment we deserved, that by faith we might receive the greatest blessing of all: to be brought back into fellowship with God. If you do not know such peace, then I urge you to ask yourself why it is that you will not place your life in the hands of the only One who can give true, eternal, peace. Peace, Peace, Peace on Earth!