Terms of Peace

Peace I leave with 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

I heard an account of the Pope’s Christmas Message given at mass in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.  Of course the French news report I was listening to left off the biblical context and just relayed the Pope’s hopes for world peace.

In searching on line for the actual text, I do see that the leader of Catholics did preface his political remarks with a brief account of how God became incarnate and how we must open the door of our heart to Him by faith. Then he tied those thoughts to wishes for earthly peace in different hot spots around the world.

In thinking about peace, I started to parse in my mind the various versions of peace.  A close family member of mine is representative of many in her honest wishes for world peace. She sincerely hopes that 2013 will be different. By peace she is referring to the absence of armed conflict, both the official kind between people groups and the unsanctioned version, that is ‘plain ole one-on-one unthinkable evil’.

There is also family peace, which is the absence of coldness and hard feelings that characterize unforgiveness.  Since we are all sinners, there is constant need and opportunity to forgive.  The family and work environment offer us lots of places to hurt one another.

However, the peace we most need to seek and hold on to, is peace with God.  Here is where I wish the Pope had led his listeners.  Conflict between people is serious and the cause of much evil and suffering.  But we can’t always do something about the other guy.  We CAN do something about our state of rebellion with God, though.  Explaining our guilty plight and sharing life-giving hope for real change would have been the best Christmas message the Pope could have given.

Simply put –

  • When we are born, we are enemies of God and to be exact, sons and daughters of Satan.  (sounds harsh, but it’s what the Bible teaches:   Eph 2:3b – by nature, objects of wrath/ Ps 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me/ John 8:44 – For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does.)


  • As an enemy of God, there is no peace that we humans can bring about.  We can’t sign a peace treaty with God because our real guilt and crimes against Him are in the way and loom insurmountable.


  • Jesus’ crucifixion pictures for us what God thinks of these crimes. What Jesus suffered is God’s verdict against sin.


  • We are helpless and without hope unless He does something.


  • He showed mercy by counting & reckoning to us Jesus’ payment for our sin, by counting & reckoning to us Jesus’ righteous acts day by day for 33 years


  • Our only response to this way of Peace?  To be grateful recipients of un-imaginable grace. Who would have invented such a twist to the story?  That’s why it’s called scandalous!


I wish the Pope had talked about this kind of peace. Truces will come and go.  War and more evil will happen because the heart is desperately wicked.  Human nature doesn’t change because of this bent toward evil.  Technological progress and education can’t affect our in-bred rebellion.

Where’s the hope?  It’s in this – only when someone is born ‘from above’ does a person receive a new DNA.  Christ in me, the ONE & ONLY sure foundation for peace.

As the unnamed author of the letter to the Hebrews puts it, “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…..Today is the day of salvation!”

To my brothers and sisters in Christ – May you and I enter 2013 in full assurance of our status as “permanently at peace with the God of the Universe”.  And may we now, as His purchased forever-family-members, work each day as His appointed Ambassadors/Stewards/Soldiers going about sharing the terms of the peace treaty:

“Lay down your arms, you rebels and submit to the Kindest King you can ever imagine.”

What adventure!  What purpose!  What a new life!