This is post #12 of a series entitled Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace. We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here you’ll find very practical and biblically-sound advice on building bridges instead of walls, offering hope instead of despair. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Click on the link below to listen to the podcast version of this blog!
Truth #4: Peacemakers Embrace the Biblical Power of Peace.
Today’s Lectio Divina: For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness (Peace). His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness (Peace) He brings. Isaiah 9: 6-7a (MsgB)
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life (shalom). God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3: 16-17 (MsgB)
Last time, we introduced you to the amazing Hebrew word: shalom, which translates into English as peace. Today, let’s turn over to the New Testament. And in doing so, we’ll need to learn a new biblical word: the Greek for peace, eirene.
If you haven’t done so already, I’d highly suggest that you go to The Bible Project’s website to view a wonderful 4-minute video (see link below). It offers one of the best visual descriptions of the biblical meaning of peace I believe you’ll find anywhere. If you want to view that right now, I’ll wait for you here!
*This is the fourth in a variety of practical suggestions/resources we will make throughout this blog/podcast series. We call these exercises:
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 9 (NIV)
Tool #4: What is Peace?
As we discussed earlier in this blog/podcast series, the New Testament writers tell us that “in the fullness of time (Galatians 4: 4-7),” God acted on behalf of His creation, sending His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to inaugurate God’s plan for world-wide rescue and redemption.
In other words, the shalom (the wellness, completeness, security, and contentment) that Adam and Eve experienced during their first days in the Garden; the peace that occasionally rested on God’s people throughout the Old Testament; has now manifested itself, setting up camp, so to speak, right before human eyes. Eugene Peterson translates Jesus’ description of all that is happening, this way…
God’s Kingdom is right on your doorstep! Luke 10: 9 (MsgB)
And so, throughout the entirety of the New Testament (nearly 100 times), we find its writers picking up on the Hebrew word shalom, using this Greek word, eirene, in describing the in-breaking presence of peace as it has now been so generously poured out on all flesh through God’s Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Look at these following texts as just a small sample:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5: 1 (NIV)
For He himself (Jesus) 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)
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Jesus), and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1: 19-20 (NIV)
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13: 20-21 (NIV)
So, all this begs the question.
In truth, shalom or eirene are most commonly associated in the Scriptures with right living with God and others. So, if the shalom or eirene of God is best accessed through the life, death, and resurrection of the Great Shepherd, Jesus of Nazareth, can we seek peace on earth outside the Prince of Peace? Allow me to quote Glenn E. Schaefer, from the website Bible Study Tools, in addressing this important issue:
The Lord established a covenant, which resulted in the participants receiving His shalom in abundance, “like a river” (Isaiah 48:18). However, peace could be disturbed if one did not live before the Lord and others in righteousness; in fact, peace is one of the fruits of righteousness (Isaiah 32:17-18). The psalmist poetically describes the relationship between the two as righteousness and peace kissing each other (Psalm 85:10). The God of peace and the peace of God sanctify the child of God (1 Thessalonians 5:23). On the other hand, Scripture specifically states that there can be no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21). Paul described the difference as follows: “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 2:9-10). One of the key issues among the prophets was the doctrine of “peace.” The false prophets proclaimed “peace, peace” and in that announcement hoped to create peace for their constituency. The true prophets argued that peace could never be achieved apart from righteousness and justice. In this light, one can better understand what Jesus meant when He declared, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And Paul wrote, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). Judgment on sin, historically and eschatologically, must come prior to peace.
Hmm. “Judgment on sin…must come prior to peace.” Pretty strong statement, don’t you think?
As I see it, while many Scriptures point in that direction, I believe it’s also very important to view God’s judgment on our sin and self-centeredness through the lense of New Testament grace. In other words…
Jesus isn’t nearly as interested in us doing things exactly right as He is us doing the right thing exactly!
So, for me, doing the right thing (so that peace might prevail), is me moving closer to Jesus of Nazareth, God’s centerpiece of peace, both now and forevermore.
Join us next time as we look a bit deeper into that “forevermore,” the future of God’s peace in the days yet to come.
My Prayer: Father God, as the heavenly host sang on Christmas Day, Jesus of Nazareth has become the cornerstone in all of Your plans for peace on earth, goodwill toward men. Without a doubt, the prophet Isaiah was right. The Master is a true gift of God’s mercy to us all. He is the Amazing Counselor, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Wholeness, Completeness and Peace. Shalom and Eirene. Forever and ever. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Questions to Ponder: So, what is my response to the biblical narrative of Jesus of Nazareth, the Prince of Peace? Has He revealed Himself to me as such? Has following Him brought me a true freedom to live my life, not by trying to do things exactly right before God’s peace arrives, but by receiving His peace, and then, in response, doing the right thing exactly?
So, how are you experiencing God’s presence as you are becoming a peacemaker for the cause of Christ?
Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace.
We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!