Down through the centuries mankind has looked for peace. Treaties have been made between nations and broken, wars have been fought for peace, and families have been destroyed by continual conflict and lack of peace. Individuals have come to a sad end because they could not find peace. Paul quotes from Isaiah 59:8, “the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:17-18).
Any peace without having the foundation of “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15) is at best very temporary. Zechariah prophesied that John the Baptist would be a prophet who pointed to “the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light…to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). Without God intervening, we have no way of finding lasting peace. We were “dead in trespasses and sins…separated from Christ, alienated… strangers…having no hope and without God in the world…who were far off” (Ephesians 2:1, 12). It had to come through His Son. “For He Himself is our peace” (2:14).
How is it that God can offer us peace; we who were His enemies? “We shall be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:9-10).
How do we understand this peace that God has given us in his Son, Jesus Christ? Perhaps we see the most hypocrisy to this peace within the Church. Because many Christians fail to live in the power of the Spirit, their lives are peppered with conflict; within families, the Church, and with the world. Paul reminds us that “to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (8:6). The full scope of the gospel cannot be grasped unless we are letting the Spirit continually instruct and feed our understanding (John 14:26; 16:13). When we fully depend on the Spirit, we will see the “the gospel of peace” work in us, and then have an influence on those around us.
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