Peace, Peace, Glorious Peace
Read Luke Chapter 2
Lk 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
Yesterday, we mentioned some things that Jesus did not say. Today we will do something similar, except it will be “what the angels did not say.” They never said, “Glory to God and on earth peace to all mankind.” They specifically said, “Peace to men on whom His favor rests.” Jesus did not come into our world to establish peace to all mankind. He only came to give peace to those who believe in Him and accept His words and attempt to obey Him. On earth, there is no peace to those who are God’s enemies. Real, meaningful peace comes only upon those men on whom God’s favor rests.
Most of mankind has always sought after peace. Life is tough at its best and extremely tough when there is no peace. Many of our Muslim neighbors seem to be seeking turmoil, and maybe a few other groups do as well. But by and large, man wants to live his life in peace. But today’s passage tells us that peace is unattainable to anyone who does not possess God’s favor upon their lives. Who are those people who seek peace but will never find it? Who are those upon whom God’s favor does not rest?
- Anyone who does not acknowledge God’s existence. There is obviously no peace for anyone who does not submit to Him and His truth.
- Those who believe that there are other avenues to God other than Jesus Christ, His Son. – Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
- Those who “believe” in Christ but refuse to accept and adhere to His word. There is no peace today for men and women who ignore their sins, unwilling to adjust their lives in accordance with His instructions. For example, those who are living together without the benefit of marriage, having children out of wedlock, will have no peace. There will always be turmoil and strife in their lives.
And now, we can address this in relation to our personal application. There is no peace for the saved man or woman who willfully sins. Having personal experience in this area, I can attest to this one. After I have willfully sinned, God’s peace totally escapes me until such time as I repent (as mentioned yesterday), and even until I have “sat in sackcloth and ashes,” figuratively, of course. Peace returns only when God allows it to return. I may know that I am forgiven, but peace doesn’t automatically return to me just because I have repented and accepted His forgiveness. I must humble myself before Him, and He will lift me up in His own time. Think not? Maybe I am misapplying the following verse:
1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
My opinion only – I don’t think we automatically get lifted up when we repent and ask God for forgiveness. It seems to me that we can take God’s grace too lightly. We are willing to accept and recognize His forgiveness, and that we must. But doing so without really thinking of the seriousness of our transgression can give us the idea that sin isn’t as serious as it really is. That can cause us to let down our guard when temptation arises, and take away some of our desire to resist it. Just as we studied yesterday, we need to take repentance seriously. Doing so will give us more strength to resist temptation next time. We should not wish to lose the peace and favor which our Savior has so graciously given us.
One more example: When I do not believe that God’s promises apply to me, I am not at peace. For example, I can read how much God loves me and will not desert me, but peace only comes when I rest in the truth of His word. God doesn’t lie, and to disbelieve or doubt Him robs us of the peace which is ours to claim.
Prayer: Oh Lord, how many times have I lost the peace which You have given me? I don’t know. They are too many for me to remember. Give me, and all of us, a heart for You. Give us a more firm commitment to You and Your commands. Give us greater understanding of repentance, forgiveness, peace, and grace. We are tired of our propensity to sin, and traveling that arduous road back to You.