Summary: Jesus brings us real peace.
THE PEACE THAT JESUS PROVIDES. One of the things that stands out to me from my seminary days is a lecture that one of my professors gave on the topic of the peace that Jesus has secured and gives to those whom He saves. Who knows where my notes are from that class but I do remember that this professor began the lecture by saying that the peace that Christ has secured and gives to those whom He saves is a THREE-FOLD IN NATURE. This really caught my attention because when I hear the word “peace” my mind simplifies the complex nature of the word to mean the absence of conflict. By definition, the word peace does mean ‘the absence of conflict.’ At that point and time in my walk with the Lord I understood the peace of Christ to be referring primarily to the perfect peace that we who have been saved would experience in heaven with Him. My concept of peace of Christ was limited to my future reality with Him. This professor, in his lecture about the three-fold nature of the peace Jesus gives to those whom He saves, opened up my eyes to the reality that the peace of Christ is not simply some futuristic concept describing the reality of our eternal destiny but is a present reality as Jesus transforms the chaotic hearts of chaotic people resulting in peaceful and peace-filled people of love, mercy and grace that reflect Him throughout the world. In this message entitled “Today, Peace is Here,” as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, I want us to take a look at the three-fold nature of the peace that Jesus has secured and gives to His own that is a present reality for those who know Him. Today, peace is here!
PEACE WITH GOD
A Common Conviction. From the beginning of mankind’s history outside of the Garden of Eden, there has, is and will continue to exist within the heart and soul of all mankind the belief that there is something wrong between God and man. There is some sort of unrest and/or conflict between God as Creator and man as the created by and accountable to his/her Creator. The response to this belief has produced:
• Atheism. It has always intrigued me how determined the atheists are to adamantly fight against that which they do not believe to exist. The adamant fight against that which one believes does not exist is like the kid who grows out of the “imaginary friend” stage of life but still has the imaginary friend except for the atheist it is the “imaginary enemy” in their mind. The motivation for the perpetual opposition is because of the churning of the soul that exists because of the unrest/conflict that exists between God and man.
• Religion. Every world religion, outside of Christianity, is based upon one common principle…the desire to appease the god or gods of that particular religion. Religious activity and rituals are required in hopes that the unrest/conflict that exists between the god or gods may be overcome by their efforts.
• Non-Religious Insanity. Even crazier than organized world religions is the cultural rural religion. This is the man or woman who acknowledges “the “Big Guy” upstairs,” and claims that he/she and “the Big Guy” have made a deal and he/she is at peace with “Him.” The conviction that there is unrest/conflict between God and man exists and the way to approach and overcome is through some “deal” contrived in the heart and mind expressed in some sort of “prayer” they prayed.
Where does this common conviction come from? It is the reality of the conflict between our sinfulness and God’s perfect holiness. Why was it that Adam and Eve hid from God once they had sinned in eating of the forbidden tree? They knew that there was unrest/conflict/enmity between the two parties and hid in fear because of it. However, as we have heard in our passage, the unrest/conflict/enmity between sinful humanity and holy God has been rectified and now there is peace because of Jesus. EPHESIANS 2:13-14a reveals to us that it is only through and by the blood of Christ that we who were “far off”—a reference to the unrest/conflict/enmity that existed between us and God because of sin—have been drawn near in peace. Jesus has accomplished all that was necessary to secure peace between God and man in His perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection.
A Peace Treaty. A peace treaty is a document drawn up by two parties that are at odds with one another. The treaty draws out how peace will be secured and maintained. The treaty does not go into effect until both parties sign in agreement. In a sense, the “peace treaty” between sinful humanity and our holy God has been drawn up and Jesus has signed it with His blood. Those who have, through confession and repentance of sin, trusted in Jesus Christ and Him alone for their forgiveness of sins resulting in peace with God sign, so to speak, the peace treaty at the moment of faith. Have you? If not you are at enmity with God no matter what effort you have put forth to overcome the conviction of your soul. I realize that you may be thinking, “This is Christmastime and here you are talking about the possibility that I may be at enmity with God because of my sin?” I must say such lest I fall into the trappings of the sinfulness of the prophets and priests of old when, rather than proclaim the truth of God’s Word to the people, the coddled them in their sin and said that there was peace between them and God when there was not.