My Peace I Give to You … by Jim Nelson
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
In this text, peace, (shalom) is a precious word to the Jewish people. It means so much more than just absence of war or conflict. Peace means wholeness, completeness, health, security, and even financial stability. When you are enjoying God’s peace, there is a joy and contentment that goes deep into your soul, even when we are in the middle of a trial. God’s peace is not like the peace that the world offers. If you take a deeper look, you will find that the world finds its peace mainly in resources and material things by focusing on this temporary life. Whereas God’s peace is found in an eternal personal relationship with Jesus our Lord.
As we look at our world today, we find very little peace. I’m sure you feel like something is wrong with our culture today. Let’s take a quick inventory; we find; a deep political divide among family and friends. Do we wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, get the vaccine, or don’t get the vaccine. New issues coming to light are; critical race theory, hate speech, cancel culture, wokeness, intersectionality, which covers all of your victimhood categories. Our children are being taught by the culture with non-biblical views. These views include; celebrating LGBT, gender neutrality, radical abortion policies, and every kind of sexual immorality. Indoctrination in our culture and schools about systematic racism, white privilege, the list goes on and on. Sadly, you can’t keep up! The bigger your list of victimhood, the more authority you have to drive change, everyone else needs to be quiet. The overarching theme is on victimhood, but it should be on sin.
The works of the flesh reflects these current views well. In Gal. 5:19-21, “The act of the sinful nature are obvious; sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is where the world is, and more or less always has been. Read Isaiah and Jeremiah to see what it was like 2500 years ago, much the same, a rebellious people focused on their sinful and selfish flesh vs. obedience to God’s Word. Pastor Tony recently preached from Acts 2, Peter’s sermon at Pentecost warning them to be saved from this crooked and rebellious generation. You see the predictable cycle of sinful man, to quote scripture; “there is nothing new under the sun”. When the world renames sin into victimhood, and repentance into social justice then the world is rebellious to God. Romans 12 tells us “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
The world today has invented a manmade solution to deal with all of these victimhood issues outside of obedience to God’s Word, it’s called social justice, some call it the social gospel, and as believers we need to be watchful. Pastor and Theologian Voddie Baucham tells us, “Social justice has nothing to do with Biblical justice – true justice.” Secular humanistic worldview is rapidly becoming the dominant worldview which is pushing non-Christian values by the wayside and is now infecting the church via social justice, and they are very clever at it. Today some churches are embracing these social justice programs and diminishing or even replacing the true saving gospel of Jesus, either consciously or unconsciously. Apostle Paul warned us about preaching a different gospel, see Galatians 1 for the seriousness of this!
Charles Spurgeon has two quotes that apply when he was battling with the “liberal downgrade” in Europe during the mid 1800’s
1) “That very church which the world likes best is sure to be that which God abhors.” And
2) “Avoid a sugar-coated gospel. Seek that gospel which rips up, and tears, and cuts, and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again”
Pastor John MacArthur goes even farther, “Social justice has no cross, no empty tomb, no forgiveness, no Savior, and offers no eternal life. But the saving gospel of Jesus does”. At the end of the day it’s a sin issue. When we rename sin into victimhood and then sanctify it by social justice we are heading to judgment.
The source of true peace is Christ. To be right with God means to enjoy the peace of God. In Romans 8, (my favorite chapter in the Bible) scripture tells us that when we walk in the Spirit we have both life and peace, but when we walk in the flesh it results in eternal death. For the Christian, peace is God’s wonderful gift, received by faith. We enjoy peace in spite of trials we face because of the presence of His Holy Spirit. The Spirit uses the Word to give us His peace (John 14:27), His love (John 15:9-10), and His joy (John 15:11). This will calm a troubled heart. Paul refers to “the God of all peace” (Romans15:13, 33) Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, (Gal. 5:22).
Jesus tells us that “in this world you will have many troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) so, peace is not the absence of trouble; it is the presence of God. We can accept difficult situations on earth by remembering that our true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Let’s keep our hearts and eyes on Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith. And, love our neighbors as ourselves. Biblical love includes being truthful and obedient to the authority of God’s Word.
Your brother in Christ, Jim Nelson