What Is Peace On Earth?
It's the Christmas season and a common theme is peace on earth. What does the Bible mean when it talks about peace?
For a long time I found this to be a confusing question. On the one hand, peace... the end of all war... seemed like a good thing. Yet Jesus said: "Don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
We think of Jesus as being all about peace and love, but that does not appear to be true.
In Luke 22:36 Jesus tells his followers that to have a sword is so important that they should sell their clothes to buy one. The Book of Revelation describes a future time filled with war and death. Romans 13 tells us one purpose of government is to oppose evil with the sword (war). This all seems at odds with our general understanding that Jesus brings peace. Yet, the truth is Jesus does bring peace. We're just not thinking about the right war.
What is the greatest war? What war has been going on continuously for 6,000 years? Romans 5:10 tells us that before we are saved we are enemies of God. The greatest war is our opposition to God. That is the war Jesus came to end. Jesus came to bring peace between us and God. Through His death on the cross He brings peace between us and God, for all those who accept this gift He has given us.
This is what the Bible means by peace on earth. It is peace between mankind and God. This is the peace we are to work for, by our sharing the gospel with others. Until there is peace between mankind and God, there can be no peace among mankind... in fact Jesus makes it clear that as He brings peace between man and God, He brings war even within families.
What can you do to help bring peace on earth? The Bible tells us what we are supposed to do.
Go out and share the gospel. Tell people about their need for a savior. Share the good news that Jesus died to pay the penalty they owe for disobeying God. Tell them how on the third day He rose from the dead, showing us that we too will live. That is the way, the only way to true peace.