Monday, April 16, 2018

Peace and/or Peace?

Ah yes, and then there is the duality of peace!

Luke 2:14: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

But on the other hand:

Matthew 10:34: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth...".

But on the other hand:

Isaiah 9:6: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given...and his name shall be called...Prince of Peace."

But on the other hand:

Ezekiel 13:10: "they have misled my people, saying, 'Peace,' when there is no peace...".

But on the other hand:

Philippians 4:7: "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The U.S., France, and the U.K. fired upon Syria...there is no peace.

The one dying in the hospital and yet holding to Christ...full of peace.

Without understanding the both-and nature of what is in and under Christ, then we easily jump on the dispensational way of thinking: the kingdom of God has not yet come. Where is the peace? Surely, it is rather the case that Satan is alive and well on planet earth (to borrow a phrase -- and a book title -- from Hal Lindsey).

But this misses everything. Genesis 3:15 promised the dragon's defeat. It happened around A.D. 33 on the hill of the skull, outside the city gates of Jerusalem. When Jesus son of Joseph died on a Roman cross resulting in 5 holy wounds: upon his two hands, into his side (we don't know which side, but we speculate his right as this is the side that brings His holy ones to Himself esp on the Glorious Last Day), and upon his two feet. Remember when David prepared to slay Goliath? Do you recall how many smooth stones David collected? They numbered 5. Jesus' 5 wounds defeated the devil. The enemy is bound.

Proof that Jesus is truly the Prince of Peace who fills us with God's peace? Behold, His gospel still breaks people out of the bonds of Satan. Sinners are forgiven their sin; sinners cross over from death to life!

But what about the other stuff? O God permits that stuff. It reminds us never to get too comfortable with this world -- a world not to be despised, but cared for -- and yet a world we're not to be engrossed with. This world with all its troubles reminds us -- even while we are filled with God's peace -- that we suffer from a lack of peace with the world, an appropriate lack of peace. And this is permitted by God so that we never lose the eternal and glorious for the temporal and passing. Hold to the gold, don't worry too much about the vapor.

Being filled with peace when there is no peace...this is the state of the Christian.

Regarding Polycarp -- disciple of St. John the apostle -- "Thus the dialogue went on. When the judge threatened him with burning him alive, Polycarp simply answered that the fire that the judge could light would last only a moment, whereas the eternal fire would never go out. Finally, we are told that after he was tied to the post in the pyre, he looked up and prayed out loud: 'LORD Sovereign God...I thank you that you have deemed me worthy of this moment, so that, jointly with your martyrs, I may have a share in the cup of Christ...For this...I bless and glorify you. Amen (Gonzalez, Justo L., The Story of Christianity: Volume I: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation, San Franciso: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1984. 44)."

We have peace when there is no peace to be seen. Praise God! We don't need to see it. All we need is Christ our Peace!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Update: My book, Faith That Sees Through The Culture (Concordia Publishing House) is ahead of schedule for release...the 30 day pre-order stage will be here very soon! Please help spread the word!