Hail the Prince of Peace! At Christmas, this is truly the joy brought to the world. But let’s think about God’s definition of “peace.”
What is the peace of Jesus?
The apostle Paul reminds us what brought peace to all humanity if they will accept it: the cross, and the blood of Jesus (Colossians 1:20). Otherwise, for those who dismiss Christ’s death and resurrection, the most eternal conflict of all – the wrath of God and the destination of hell-- will descend on them.
For God so loved the world, that He sent a baby in a manger to touch our hearts. That baby was divinity in human form, and would allow Himself to be sacrificed by the humans He created. But then, He rose from the dead, because He has power over life and death.
Why fight against a God like this? Why not believe? There truly is no other, but we need no other, for He is the essence of eternal goodness and unfailing love. And the peace that passes all understanding will occupy the soul of every believer, every sinner who repents before the everlastingly merciful Savior.
There are still those whose sin is far more precious, and they will contend against Jesus with every deceit they can invent. Peace is not what they want. They want God to go away so they can make the world in their image.
It will never happen. But meanwhile, Christians will be seen as the bad guys.
Heed the words of Jesus: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). Will Christians suffer unjustified hatred? Yes. Not only will this happen occasionally, we should expect it, if we are living a life dedicated to Christ. The reverse is not always true, however—that those who claim to be Christians are always being faithful and reflecting sound doctrine when they experience conflict.
Satan is a clever deceiver who will summon a spirit of pride within some who are persecuted: “See what I suffer because I tell the truth!”
No, we must always check our doctrine at the narrow gate. Am I standing on the revelation of Scripture, in Spirit and truth? Is my heart bent toward mercy even for those who are vicious? Am I brave and willing to proclaim the whole gospel but in an attitude of humility, knowing Satan can manipulate my human failings?
Is my purpose to be at peace with all men if possible, while never compromising the truth?
It’s a very hard walk and we will all fail on some points. But this is the goal. And if we keep coming to the foot of the cross, looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith—that baby in the manger, who did not remain a baby— then we will be at peace, if not today, then one day as we join Him in heaven.
This is our blessed assurance, on Christmas and every day that we have on earth as believers.
O come let us adore Him!