Probably going to get myself in a little trouble, but I’m going continue my theme from yesterday.
The overarching mission of God is the project to set right through the cross our world gone wrong through sin. Many, maybe most, say Jesus was born to die. I would say He was born to announce, enact and implement the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is a peaceable Kingdom. One of our worst problems in humanity is the complete inability to live together in peace. And our quarrels run to our very core, often based on religion, ethnicity, and national boundaries and pride. But this is the hostility no less than the apostle Paul says is overcome by the cross. We may today limit the peace of Christ through the cross to “spiritual peace”, that is not what Paul believed. According to Paul…the achievement of the cross is peace in every sense of the word.
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20 ESV. The cross brings peace across all dimensions – on earth and in heaven, spiritual and political, personal and global. Of course, that peace has not yet been fully seen! But we should not regard this as an impossible task. It is a challenge for us to much more faithfully take up the cross and follow Christ.
Of course…we do see wars and the road to Armageddon in Revelation (told you I was going to get myself into trouble!). “And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” Revelation 16:13-16 ESV. Right off the top, and very simply, I am not prepared to start or participate in any debates on end times prophecy. But just as simply, no theory of the end times frees us to cheer for war and oppose peace. And even more simply – if the devil is leading the nations of the world to war, we do not cheer him on in his work. Whatever theory of the end of the world we think we get from the Book of Revelation, we still are not exempted from the very clear teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount – “”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 ESV. To be clear – peacemakers are not Antichrist. If we claim or aspire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we are called to love peace, declare peace, and work for peace. Peace at every level – in our families or among nations. In our own warring minds. Even on Facebook and Twitter. Our family business as the sons of daughters of God is to help bring about the Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven.
Wars do come…but they must never come in the name of Christ. That would be Antichrist. They also should not be assumed to be inevitable or the will of God. And we DO NOT rejoice in them.
“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”” Luke 10:25-28 ESV. Trouble is…we are still trying to answer the question – “Who is my neighbor?”
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18 ESV
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:17-18 ESV