Our Assignment? Peace
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Maintaining peace with those around us might be difficult but it is required of us as we are to be an example to the lost of the peace Jesus offers.
It seems that in the world today, peace is a rare commodity. Political pundits scream their viewpoints across the airwaves, religious conflict divides neighborhoods and countries, the poor are pitted against the rich, races look at each other with suspicion and hatred, and nations are perched on the brink of war. Turmoil is everywhere. Peace is nowhere to be found.
But into this cacophony, Jesus steps. Among the discord and clamor, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came and offered peace.
Jesus offers this peace to those who are near AND to those who are far. Whether we strive to align our political, social, and religious views with the teachings of the Scripture or if they are more closely aligned with the post-Christian, agnostic line of thought, Jesus came to offer us peace. For through Jesus, we BOTH “have access to the Father by one Spirit.” No matter where we are on the spectrum, Jesus came to offer us peace and access to the Father. It is only through Jesus - not political parties, social issues, or environmental problem solving - that we will find peace.
But while Jesus offers peace to the near and the far, Paul points out a major distinction between the two groups: The responsibility of living at peace with others in this world falls on us, the Believer, not the far or the lost. In Romans 12, we the Believers are told “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Be at peace with everyone. This is our assignment from our Savior.
Those people we disagree with politically? Those from other religions of which we are suspicious? That neighbor who won’t keep his dog off our yard? We are commanded to be at peace with them.
My husband, George, is much better at living at peace with people than I. (This will surprise no one who knows us!) He often refers to me as Ms. Justice as I am quick to do battle for “truth, justice, and the American way.” (But really, what else should he expect from a wife who is a U.S. history teacher??) I LOVE the Constitution and encourage my students to know their rights and to protect them. But as a Christian, I know that I am called to daily die to myself - and my rights - in order to live at peace with those with whom I disagree. It is a challenge, and to be honest, a struggle at times. However, as a follower of Jesus, how can I expect the lost to be interested in the eternal peace that Jesus is offering if I don’t strive to live at peace with them myself? It is a convicting thought.
Questions to Ponder
Even though God’s grace is personal, what social barriers should His grace be affecting in your community?
What is your role in that process?
Christ came to proclaim peace. What other terms would you use to define peace?
Would you say that your life is a message of peace?
What in your life needs to change in order to be more of a person of peace?
Scripture Memory | April | Ephesians 1:7
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”