Peace on Earth?

As we approach the Christmas season, we meditate on the birth of our Savior and the events surrounding His birth. We look back to the time of Christ’s first coming and we look forward to His second coming.

Christ came into the world to bring the gospel of peace. On the night of Christ’s birth, there were shepherds watching their flocks by night. An angel from the Lord appeared and announced to them the birth of Christ who is the Savior (Luke 2:8-12). After the announcement, a great host praised God and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:13-14) This is a proclamation of peace. Importantly, this statement of peace on earth is not a promise of total peace with all governments at all times. However, when we look at this world, we do not see peace on the earth. We need to remember that scripture does promise peace on all of the earth one day with all governments and mankind. Included in this proclamation is our need for peace with God. We do not have peace with God, because we do not measure up to God’s holy standard. We have sinned (Rom. 3:23). We deserve the judgment of God. The Savior’s birth is the beginning of an unfolding plan of man having lasting peace with God. The statement, “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” can be better translated as, “and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased.” Those who have peace are those “with Whom He is well pleased.” We cannot please God on our own. True peace with God is only possible with His gracious favor toward us in Christ.

At Jesus’ baptism, the Father says, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17b). The Son pleased the Father perfectly in his life. Man could not do this. Thus, the only way for God to be pleased with us is by having Christ’s character and obedience credited to our account. When we rest in Christ’s shed blood to satisfy God’s punishment for our sin, Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account. We are then in Christ (Eph. 1), and God is well pleased with those who are in Christ. Those who are in Christ are the “well pleased” with God, and they will have lasting peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Peace with God has also given us peace with one another. Gentiles and Jews now have peace with across their ethnic groups within the church (Eph. 2:14-18). As believers, we are to live peaceably with all men as much as we can (Rom. 12:18). Our peace with God should bear the fruit of living at peace with one another.
If you look around at this world, you will notice that this world is not at peace. This world is not at rest. Governments war against each other, marriages are torn apart, families are falling apart, and conflict destroys the workplace. There does not seem to be “peace on all the earth”. This world is filled with unrest. We must not fret at this unrest nor be surprised that governments war and fight with one another and within themselves. We must remember Christ’s second coming. The promised “peace on earth” is not only a vertical peace, but it is a horizontal peace that will be established on the earth when Christ comes again.  Isaiah 9:6-7 reminds us that there is only one government that will bring true peace on the earth. The Prince of Peace is the only one who will bring true peace to a world lacking peace. “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end…” (Is. 9:7). The gospel of peace with God has come, but we look forward to the Prince of Peace ruling and reigning on the throne of David one day. When that day comes, there will be lasting peace.

With Christ’s first advent, let us thank our Father for Christ being our peace, and let us remember our ministry of peace with one another. Let us also look forward to Christ’s second advent when He will come and establish His government of peace on this earth
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