On Earth Peace Among Men
E. Russell King
At this time of the year when more than the usual number of people turn their attention toward the One born “Prince of Peace” and meditate upon the peace that He promised, a great deal of frustration arises because of the awareness of universal trouble, conflict, and violence — everything but peace and tranquility. Yet, we must remember that Jesus said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division” (Luke 12:51 NKJV). Now, how can this be reconciled with the message of the heavenly host who, on the night of His birth, announced to the Shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased” (Luke 2:14 ASV)? The answer lies in understanding the realm of the promise.
The announcement by the angels was peace on earth “among men in whom he (God) is well pleased.” This promise was limited to a certain class of men specified as “in whom he is well pleased.” Later, when Jesus said He did not come “to give peace on earth,” He was speaking in reference to a world-wide peace viewed especially from a political perspective. That was not God’s purpose in sending His Son then, nor is it ever to be His purpose. Just hours before Jesus was crucified, He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). Peace that the world gives is by force, and we know that not even a 15,000 pound “daisy cutter” bomb nor of all our military power combined can do that.
However, when “the gospel of peace” is heard, believed, and obeyed (“the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” – Philippians 4:7), then there is peace “among all men” who are brought into fellowship with God and one another. That is made possible by the act of Jesus who “abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:15). Therefore, the peace that God promised is for all believing men who have been baptized into Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:27). By this action they are “conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 2:11). They are the class of men who, being in Christ, in the kingdom, are at peace with God (Romans 5:1) and who “pursue the things which make for peace” (Romans 14:19). Consequently, they are the ones in whom God is well pleased. Their life is committed to God both in conduct and in environmental service. Furthermore, to the extent of their ability, they pursue peace with all men “without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
It is a sad state of affairs when the admonition from God, “Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13) is broken among His people, often over trivial things growing out of selfish desires. When that occurs surely the singing of the angels of heaven turns into lyrics of sadness and sorrow. The peaceful existence and working of the kingdom of heaven among men is a much longed for oasis in this world of sin and sorrow, and it is the only hope for any improvement in our earthly environment. In view of this fact, Paul wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:15) — the resounding message of “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased” (Luke 2:14 ASV). -Rt. 5, Box 310, Keyser, WV 26726.
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