Looking for Peace on Earth
By Janet Ruth
When we think of the Bible and the word ‘peace’ we are likely to picture the scene of shepherds guarding their sheep by night. Suddenly, an angel appears with good news about a baby in a manger, then a multitude of angels join in singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to men.” We hear about it every Christmas: peace on earth. We sing about it. We pray for it. Peace on Earth: an end to wars, an end to bitterness and hostility, an end to fear. We even talk about how nice it would be to have Christmas all year long, so we could always focus on Peace and Goodwill to Men (and Women – all of Mankind, in fact).
But the wars go on. Bitter struggles that have lasted for centuries continue. We find new ways to kill, new things to be afraid of. The Christmas ideal of Peace on Earth seems to be nothing more than an oasis in the midst of a violent world – or maybe it’s just a mirage.
When we think about peace, it’s important to remember that Satan and God have been at war since the beginning of time. As Christians we have switched sides in the Great War and joined God’s forces. We are no longer at war with God. He has offered us peace. Unfortunately, peace with God means we are now at war with Satan and all his forces. So our peace is not complete, yet. It won’t be complete until Satan is defeated and removed from the earth or we go home to be in heaven.
Perhaps the angels meant that because of Jesus’ birth we can find peace with God and eventually complete peace will reign when Satan is defeated. But I think there’s something more to the peace God offers than just an end of war and conflict. It involves more than just the lack of commotion and difficulties. It promises something else than the absence of fear. Jesus didn’t come to earth to take our problems away. He came to stand with us in the midst of our problems so we would find that he, himself, is our peace.
The word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’ or ‘good tidings.’ The angel that came to the shepherds said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” (Luke 2:10) He came to announce the gospel, the good news that Jesus had come into the world. The good news doesn’t end with the Christmas story. Jesus taught us how to know God and how to serve him, he showed us how to love each other, and then he gave his own life as a sacrifice for our sins so we could live with him someday in heaven. But the good news doesn’t end with Easter, either. Jesus is living in heaven right now, watching over us. The Holy Spirit lives within us to help us know God better and to experience his love. God has a plan for your life, and he has a plan for the whole world. In the end, everything will work out according to his plan, and he – and we – will be victorious. That’s good news!
So this Christmas when you think about Peace on Earth, thank God for sending his Son to be our Peace – now and forever.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
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Janet Ruth is the author of Standing Firm: Living Victoriously in a Cursed World, a study on the Armor of God. This article is an excerpt from the chapter on peace. You can learn more about Janet and her books at www.JaneTruth.com.
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