Monday, March 12, 2018

Lent Words Day 23: Peace

"You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all."
Acts 10:36

The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom, often used as a greeting, it however holds a much deeper meaning. Shalom includes all of the ways we think of peace- the absence of war, the absence of conflict, strife and animosity, but it’s much deeper meaning is that of a sense of well-being and fulfillment that comes from God and is dependent on His presence. Shalom is peace and so much more, it is  wholeness, harmony, health, prosperity, security and fullness of life that only comes as a result of a restored relationship with God. God’s desire is that we know His shalom peace and throughout the Bible we see a story of a people who are longing for that restored relationship with God. 

In the beginning of the Bible we are given a picture of what a life of shalom looks like. It is the picture of life in the Garden of Eden before sin separated man from God. In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we see life the way God created it to be. Man was in perfect, intimate fellowship with God, all their needs were met, they experienced no guilt and shame – life was pure bliss. But sin enters the world in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve choose to live their own way and break fellowship with God and Shalom peace between men and God was lost. The rest of the Bible is the story of God’s plan to have His peace restored with man.

Peter points us to God's peace plan in his sermon recorded in the book of Acts ~ "the good news of peace through Jesus Christ". This is God's plan for redemption, for restoring those who were formerly alienated from Him. Paul puts it like this in Romans 5:1-2,
Since we have been justified [made right with God]  through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand….”
And in Colossians 1:19-22,
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Christ), 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. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation -"

Jesus is our peace. He is the instrument through which God brings us back – reconciles – us to Him. Through Jesus, God restored our peace with Him ~ in this we can find reassurance and rest in it. Through Jesus we can also find peace day-to-day,
"Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Rest in Him.

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Thessalonians 5:23

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