Thursday, December 6, 2007

Peace on Earth

I deliberately avoid Christmas cards that bear that expression. The reason I do is that the world has a completely different idea of "peace on earth" than the bible does. The world desperately wishes for peace. When people wish others "peace" they refer to a dictionary definition: a state of tranquility or quiet; freedom from civil disturbance; a state of security or order. But they want it for the current world, and it can never be obtained. I like the baby onesie below that says "visualize whirled peas" rather than "world peace." Wishing for world peace is almost as ridiculous, and is completely impossible. A baby has a better chance of getting "whirled peas" than anyone has of "world peace."

Our pastor John has been teaching about the future of this earth. The bible is very clear that the world is not headed for a state of peace. In fact, the bible predicts more and more unrest, suffering, and the like as the time of Christ's return approaches. However, there is a type of peace that is obtainable, and I was reminded of that this morning in my reading of John's book, God's Gift of Christmas. To quote:

"In Messiah's kingdom there are no conflicts because He is the Prince of Peace. He offers peace from God (Romans 1:7) to all who receive His grace. He makes peace with God (Romans 5:1) for those who surrender to Him in faith. And He brings the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) to those who walk with Him.

As we hear so often at Christmas, the beginning of Jesus' earthly life was heralded by angels who pronounced peace on earth (Luke 2:14). There never really has been peace on earth in the sense that we think of it. Wars and rumors of wars have always characterized the entire two millennia since that first Christmas, as well as all the time before it. The announcement of peace on earth was a two-pronged proclaimation. First, it declared the arrival of the only One who ultimately can bring lasting peace on earth (which He will do when He returns to bring about the final establishment of His earthly kingdom). But more importantly, it was a proclaimation that God's peace is available to all men and women. Read the words of Luke 2:14 carefully and note this emphasis: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with WHOM HE IS PLEASED." God is pleased with the people who yield their lives to Him. "The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy." (Psalm 147:11) When the angels proclaimed peace on earth, they were speaking primarily of a very personal, individual application of God's peace that grows out of a firsthand knowledge of the Prince of Peace."

So, next time you hear the words "peace on earth" take time to ponder the special meaning from God's Word. It is not to be found any other way. Praise God that we can celebrate this peace from God at Christmas and always.

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