“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord … 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, good will toward men” (Luke 2:10-14).
Traditionally, as we enter into this “holiday season” the main theme and hope of the world (at least, the “Christian” world) has been “love, joy, and peace” the words of the angels, “on earth peace, good will toward men” are oft repeated in greeting cards, pageants, carols, etc.
However, in the last decade or so, in light of increasing strife, hatred, and turmoil the world has become more disillusioned and cynical saying “where is the promise of His coming?” Turning their hopes to material and physical contentment.
The world continues to be in a constant state of unrest and turmoil because when the Prince of Peace (i.e. Jesus Christ) came the first time, He was rejected by the great majority of those to whom He came and is generally still rejected by the world today.
Notwithstanding this rejection, the promise is still true today for those who show repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Peace is one of the greatest gifts that God gives to His people; it is a fruit or attribute of the Holy Spirit which indwells us at the new birth. One of the departing promises of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples was “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
However, even those that know Christ, are born again and indwelled with the Holy Spirit often seek peace from the same sources as the world. We look to political leaders, a strong military, a booming economy, or personal relationships to give us the peace of mind that we so desperately seek. But the peace spoken of here transcends all of that. It cannot be found within the world, or even within ourselves, nor can it be imparted through any other source than the Holy Spirit of God through the Word of God.
The Apostle Paul disclosed the formula for obtaining this peace to the believers in Philippi, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
But before we talk about attaining the “peace of God” we must first be sure that we are at peace with God. The two are not the same. The Bible tells us that we are born into this world alienated from God and at enmity with God. Because of sin, we are separated from God: “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:20-22).
The only way that we can be at peace with God is through faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross for the remission of our sins. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Roy Delia is pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, Ontario. He can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The Argus Observer weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.