Walt Lampi | The Voice of Zion December 2017 --
The announcement of Jesus’ birth came with the angelic proclamation of “good tidings of great joy” for all people. Genuine peace and joy of Christmas starts in one’s own heart and his or her relationship to God. It is the foundation of all interpersonal relationships. Peace is rare in the world but abundant in the kingdom of the Prince of Peace.
Jesus’ peace is different, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27), since it is an inner peace of heart. The trials and cares of life may plummet and stress but the peace of God gives strength to endure.
For the believer, peace with God is firstly related to keeping faith and a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:19). Secondly, it is being content with God’s will. A defiled conscience robs one of the joy of salvation and eventually the hope of eternal life. It can fill one’s heart with bitterness and harm others too. Allow, “the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:15).
We are a battling congregation. Only by the power of the Spirit and light of the Word can we war against Satan and his kingdom. It is a battle of Light against darkness. Keeping the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3) includes discussing the way and the journey with others, sharing one another’s joys and sorrows, and caring for differences with the gospel.
As travelers on life’s way we can offend each other in word or deed. Fortunately, we have the throne of grace nearby for our feet are “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). The oral preaching of forgiveness is the power of God to salvation for all that believe. It is intended for our use and offered freely for our needs.
Peace is one of the many fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23). “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33).
God leads and guides His people through the office of the Holy Spirit. He does this through the congregation where servants are called into various spiritual duties. We are urged to pray for them and to “be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thess. 5:13).
Faith life is interwoven with congregation life. One will not be saved by believing in his or her own way but only according to the Scriptures as enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches us how to live in peace. We are urged to “follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another” (Rom. 14:19). First love, then joy and peace after which we may edify one another.
Even the most difficult and seemingly impossible matters to solve vanish when one first examines his or her own heart and finds there the greatest of all sinners, the one who most needs forgiveness. Trust that, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).