The Peace of God
At the birth of Jesus, the angels of God declared to mankind, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”(Luke 2:14). Christ, God incarnate, is His “good will.” He is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), the One who proclaimed, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
God’s peace comes to the one who gets “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1), whose sense of guilt has been set at the foot of the cross, and whose worries about the future have been taken away by his simple trust in God. Such a peace, Jesus calls “my peace.” This kind of peace the world, with all its resources cannot give. Jesus declared, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
As the result of Christ’s incarnation, it is man’s advantage to “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). Through our daily connection with God by the study of His word and prayer, we can have the “peace of God,” which keeps our “hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
“I Came Not to Send Peace But a Sword”
Yet, Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). What does this passage mean in comparison to the initial verses? In this passage, the Lord was addressing those who expected and anticipated the establishment of the final Kingdom of God. And Christ wanted them to understand that it was not yet time for Him to establish that peaceful Kingdom.
Instead, Christ warned that Christians would face hostility for following his principles in this evil world. And this is inevitable because “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). The lusts of the flesh leads to self-indulgence and a life that is hostile to God and out of harmony with His will (James 4:4). Such a course causes separation from the source of life—a separation that means death. This hostility against God is the opposite of the peace that comes to those who live in the Spirit (Romans 8:6).
The Eternal State of Peace
The prophets of old looked forward to the time when the passing things of earth would give place to the lasting realities of eternity. The kingdoms of earth which, from a human point of view, often appear to rise gloriously, one after another, pass away like the dust of the wind. Earthly kings strive to last; but their will fade until Christ sets up His kingdom—one that will “never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44), one that will “not pass away” (Daniel 7:14), one that will be “an everlasting kingdom” (Psalms 145:13) and endure “even for ever” (Micah 4:7).
When the Lord gathers the saints at the second coming, then, the earth will once again experience the peace of God. “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7; also 2:2-4). But, until that time, Christians will face persecution, rejection and suffering.
In His service,
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