Archive for October, 2011

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The Triune Nature of Peace; The World’s Focus and the Christian’s Fruit…

October 21, 2011

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” -Matthew 5:9

If there is one unfortunate mark of God’s fallen creation under the reign of sin it is the absence of peace.   The absence of peace in our world, due to greed.  The absence of peace in our lives due to envy.  The absence of peace in our families, due to selfishness. The absence of peace in our hearts, due to sin.  In all of these areas peace is sought but remains elusive.    Creation burst forth from the mind of God, uttered into a perfect state of peaceful balance.  There was morning and evening, seas for fish, sky for birds, earth for creatures to crawl about and man to bear His image.  The harmony of God with His creation was denoted by the presence of peace in that creation.  With the emergence of sin came the eradication of this balance.  Think of it, within the first moments of the first sin, strife entered the marriage of the first couple, and separation emerged between man and the one whose image he bore.  God cursed man and creation, and prophesied that peace would be absent between the serpent and the fruit of the woman.  The effects of this proclamation were immediate.  Animals began to prey and brothers began fight, and long before rain fell, blood watered the ground of God’s garden.  God barred the entrance to that peaceful paradise and for thousands of generations we have sought to return. 

As the human family grew so too did the amount of strife.  Fighting families grew into fighting nations, warring against each other and against God.  Among these families, amidst these nations God chose the smallest and least significant to be His vehicle to restore peace.  This nation would bring peace to the world, peace in the present, peace in the future; they would be the children of God.  But as so often happens, the allure of sin proved a great obstacle, competing for the affections of God’s children.   Nevertheless, God’s mission would advance, the Messiah would come, and He would prescribe the pathway to peace.

Discernable in Christ’s teaching and example is a three pronged approach to finding and making peace.  Peace with others, peace with ourselves and peace with God.  Each of these has both a secular focus which often falls short and a spiritual fruit that defines true peace.  Let’s examine each.

External peace- This is peace with others.  Inter-relational peace.  Peace with those outside yourself, whether they are family members, competing companies, or ally nations.  This particular peace is the focus of the world.  The world community has never longed for something more than for there to be peace among the nations and never have they been more unsuccessful.  The League of Nations, the United Nations, the OAS, the G-6, G-8, even the IMF, World Bank and other economic organizations all exist to promote stability and the financial benefits of peace.  For the Christian, inter-relational fellowship, external peace with others, is not the product of mere cooperation, but rather the fruit of Godly fellowship.  We see the importance of external peace in Jesus’ life and ministry.  Peace begins with those closest to us and radiates out.  We reconcile ourselves with our brothers in Christ, through our fellowship with Him we work to maintain peace; and pursue confrontation only and always with repentance and renewal in view. (Matt 5:24, 7:1-5, 18:15-20)

Internal peace- This is peace with yourself.  Personal peace, the quiet calm of your soul amidst the storm of life. This particular peace is the focus of our generation.  In an age bereft of calm and full of strife, our generation searches in vain for any source of internal peace.  The acceptance of others, the acclaim of the community, fame and its fifteen minutes, and when these prove shallow this generation seeks to find peace in the numb nerves of drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, medications, therapy and sleep.  Each dark dead-end hallway leads on and on, deeper and deeper, never reaching the root of the problem.  For our generation internal peace remains elusive.  For the Christian, internal peace, peace with one’s self is the fruit of Spirit.  Internal peace comes only through the presence of the Spirit in the life of the believer.  Christian’s who “are Christ’s and have crucified the flesh with its passions” (Gal 5:24), walk with and in the Spirit which produces; love, joy and peace.  So close is this relationship, that when sin is committed and the Spirit is grieved, internal peace becomes the first casualty; and can only be reclaimed through confession, repentance and renewal.    

Eternal peace- The final and arguably most important peace is peace with God.  This is eternal peace, peace that reconciles you to God and stays His wrath against your sin.  This particular peace is the focus of the religious in our society.  Theists of all stripes detect the presence of enmity between the creator and the creature.  This leads to innumerable paths and strategies to appease and live up to divine demands.  Fasting, praying, pilgrimage, indulgences, meditations, sacrifices, mantras and karma; all attempting to fill the void of separation between God’s holiness and our sin.  The combined weight of these efforts, on their own, is unable to tip the balance of divine judgment.  And peace again, remains elusive.  For the Christian eternal peace with God is the fruit of the cross.  Christ’s birth was the advent of eternal peace on earth. (Luke 2:14)  His work at Calvary satisfied the price of our sin.  And when we believe in that work and in the lordship of the one who performed it, we gain the immeasurable presence of peace with God.  The weight of Christ’s work crushes the scales of God’s judgment, and beneath the banner of His name, we enter with confidence into eternal peace with the Father.

Jesus proclaimed that the sons of God would make peace.  This proclamation is both a  challenge and a reflection on reality.  Do you wish to be among the children of God? Then make peace.  Peace with God through Christ; peace with yourself through the Spirit; and peace with others through Godly fellowship.  Our culture is searching for the source of a peaceful life. As Christians, are we displaying the fruits of those who have found the source?

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