Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

08/02/2017

Randall Caselman 

Peace Perfect Peace

 

  Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He came to establish peace in three ways: Peace with God, Peace within self, Peace with others.

 

  Peace with God. Scripture teaches that sin separates us from God, makes us enemies of God. So then,forgiveness of sins results in the peace of reconciliation. “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies,we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" ...."Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5.8-11 & 5.1).

 

  Peace within. Sin results in our being lost, destined to eternal punishment. What fear. What pain. What tragedy. There can be no peace because we have no resource to forgive ourselves. The Hebrews’ writer tells us that "the blood of bulls and goats only brought an annual remembrance of guilt, not forgiveness." Then came Jesus: "He entered once for all into the Most Holy Place and became our sacrificial atonement" so we can be forgiven! No guilt! Peace is ours! We can know that we are saved, heaven bound people. Not because of what we have done, but because of what Jesus did for us. Praise God for His peace, "the peace that surpasses human understanding," made possible through our response to Jesus' death on the cross. "Peace, peace, perfect peace."

 

  Peace with others. It takes two to quarrel, but if one or both of the two are Spirit-led, there is no quarrel. Paul contends that one of the manifestations of being Spirit-led is peace: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace." God calls us to be peaceful folk, after His own character. You see, when Jesus lives in us, we too will be at peace within ourselves and with others.

 

  Indeed, peace with others is not easy to maintain, but it can be done if we're willing. Allow me to give you three steps for stopping quarrels and bringing about peace:

 

  Understand what causes quarrels. The root cause of hate, ill will, and animosity is our own pride. Whenever we’re proud, we are easily provoked. Little things set us off, hurt our feelings. Whenever we’re congratulating ourselves, we become more sensitive to these hurts. Self-assertion, self-importance, self-aggrandizement, self-assurance, me-first, narcissism are ruining our one-anotherness. But when the spirit of Jesus is alive in us, we become: humble, meek, and gentle. Amen? Humility allows us to find rest, peace, and contentment, because we are no longer on a pedestal from which we can be knocked off. Indeed: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." "Blessed are the meek." Blessed with peace!

 

  Be willing to discipline ourselves. Quarreling folk tell me: "I can't help it, I was born with a temper. I just say what I think and let the chips fall where they may." Not so!! We have a will. We are in control. We can stop quarrels! That is if we want to. Others say: "It's their fault; they gave me good reason to be angry." No one can make us angry. We're angry because we choose to be. You see, these are nothing more than excuses, a smoke screen, which allow us to act out our own selfish desire to keep the quarrel going. Instead, we ought to cry out in absolute earnestness: "O God change me. Lead me by Your Spirit to forgive, forget, and restore this relationship." We're free moral agents. We act as we choose. Choose peace!

 

  Let go of revengeful retaliatory thoughts, just forgive. As long as we mull over the quarrel, fan the flame, fondle the hurt, perpetrate revenge and retaliation, we keep the wound open and susceptible to further infection. Jesus gives us the remedy: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you... Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that" (Luke6.27-28 & 31-33). As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone... Do not take revenge, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge;  I will repay," says the Lord" (Romans 12.18-19).

 

  Here it is, we must ask ourselves: Do we want the peace Jesus came to make possible? Really? Then we must give close consideration to His formula for stopping quarrels and gaining His perfect peace.

 

  I sincerely hope we are each enjoying the peace made possible by His coming... Amen?

 

—Randall Caselman