Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace. We’ve all seen the bumper sticker. Nice, easy slogan. Maybe we believe it, maybe we don’t. But one thing I’m sure of is that even if we do believe it, we are only talking about our own personal, inner peace. The wars that go on inside our own minds. Maybe, just maybe, we can apply him to our peace within our own friends and family groups, to offering forgiveness and healing our relationships nearest and dearest to us. So, our own inner peace in Christ can be applied to healing relationships and making amends in our own personal life. But, we in no way apply knowing Jesus to knowing peace on anything other than a personal level.
In our secular age, we have grossly reduced the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have privatized the gospel to make peace nothing more than a matter of private mental health. Private mental health and a way to go to heaven when we die. But…this is NOT the original apostolic gospel preached and taught in the Bible.
Read what the apostle Paul concerning the accomplishments of Christ in his letter to the Ephesians.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” Ephesians 2:14-17 NIV. The emphasis here is NOT a private, inner peace. It is a peace between groups of people who have had a long period of bitter animosity.
Jesus is our peace, Jesus makes peace, and He proclaims peace to those near and far. We modern Christians have simply submitted to the secular view that God, if He exists, should be kept behind closed doors. We have basically fully submitted to the secular idea that God is a private entity. We’ve accepted that our religious views should simply be another part of our own private individualism. We’ve capitulated to the idea that God has no place in the public realm. We’ve agreed to a division of the sacred and the secular. We declare Jesus is Lord, but only in matters of our own private spirituality. Jesus is the light of the world, but that is really just the tail light of the 747 taking us to heaven. Matters of global conflict are left to those truly qualified to handle such matters, namely our secular governments.
But this is a betrayal of the original apostolic gospel. Christian forgiveness is not just a private matter between one sinner and God. Forgiveness goes horizontal as well as vertical. “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:11-12 ESV. We ask God to forgive us while we promise to forgive others. Forgiveness is God’s way of achieving peace. Justice alone can never produce peace. The peace the Bible is talking about is not just a temporary cease fire but a reconciliation of enemies, reconciliation of relationships.
Christians should be the leading authorities on peace. But of course, we have to actually practice peace and live peace before we can claim any authority on the subject. But this is how we can take our place as the light of the world and sons and daughters of God – by proclaiming and practicing a gospel based on peace and forgiveness.
Paul says Jesus purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Does this sound like a private matter to you? Jesus is Lord, not secretary of afterlife affairs. He led the way, lived the life we are supposed to be living, and offered forgiveness as we hung him from a tree. He forgave us our sins right there, assumed His throne right there, came into His glory right there on the cross. He both forgave us and reconciled us to Himself, declared us right with Himself. Not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but so we would we can follow His way, learn to live and give forgiveness to one another, reconcile ourselves to each other, so we can be the one humanity we were made to be.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…