For He Himself is our peace… Eph 2:14
The popular 1970s Christmas song asks the provoking question, “Peace on earth, can it be?” The song continues to ask: when will the day of glory come, when men will live in peace again? I wonder what the godless, humanistic composers and singers were thinking about when they used the word, “again.” When do they suppose it ever was that men lived in peace in the first place, that he might live in it, again? Well the Bible tells us that there was indeed a time when man lived in peace. After God created man, He lived in peace and harmony with God and with all creation. This peace however, was almost immediately lost when sin entered the world through man’s disobedience in his partaking of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Since that time, peace was replaced with enmity, between man and God, between man and his fellow man, and between man and creation.
S.E. Porter writes:
The concept of peace in the Bible is different in many ways from modern ideas of peace. Peace as the absence of strife, war or bloodshed, so often sought by humanity at any cost, is far removed from the focus of the biblical teaching. The biblical concept of peace is one in which God’s authority and power over his created order are seen to dominate his relations with his world, including both the material and the human spheres. (New Dictionary of Biblical Theology 2001)
One can say that the entire Bible then, is the story of peace – peace lost and regained. Peace is a good synonym for salvation. We are saved because God is the God of peace. Jesus is called the Prince of peace. Paul refers to Christ in our text as, our peace. It was the message of the angels who announced Christ’s birth: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Lk 2:14). Indeed the very message of Scripture is that of Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace, making peace, through His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross.
Sin always leads to separation. Sin left mankind aliens and strangers to God and His covenants. Sin puts men at enmity with each other, as individual pride, self-interest, and self-concern set man against man, each asserting and demanding his own rights, claiming and fighting over the same things. God, at the same time, commands us to love Him and love one another – the basis of human love being love for God. Man, in his human wisdom, supposes that he can love his fellow man, through negotiation – by being pleasant and friendly – but without needing to love God first. He wonders why this does not work, as wars, competition, striving, rivalry, and envy continue to separate men, despite his efforts. If men could be at peace through negotiation, then the Incarnation of Christ and the cross would have never been needed. But because He is our peace, and He has removed the horizontal, as well as vertical, enmity, the all-illusive, peace on earth is not only possible, but accomplished in Him.
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