Where to Find Peace
Peace Comes Through Jesus Christ
The history of this world is a history littered with war. I just saw a staggering statistic. There were 160 million people killed in the wars of the 20th century alone. And we weren't too far into the 21st century before we in the United States were confronted with another war, when we were suddenly and viciously attacked on 9/11/2001.
Not only that but there is much fighting amongst individuals and families in our world as well. Domestic violence is rampant. There are 1500 shelters for battered women in the United States. Three to four million women are beaten in their homes each year by their husbands, or male lovers. One woman is beaten by her husband, or partner every 15 seconds in this country. And one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
Besides war and domestic violence, there is a lack of inner peace, leading to suicide. Worldwide 1 million people commit suicide yearly. That's about one death every 40 seconds or 3000 per year. And for each person who actually commits suicide, 20 people make attempts to do so. Suicide has a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000 people. Clearly there is a problem.
Fortunately, the Bible has much to say about peace. And there is hope for this world which otherwise has no hope of ever achieving the peace that all of us long for. That hope comes form the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Peace Was Lost in the Garden of Eden
Man was created to have fellowship with God and with one another. But things changed radically in the Garden of Eden. Eve was tempted into sin and Adam knowingly and willingly disobeyed. The Apostle Paul says that it is through this disobedience of Adam that sin entered into the world (Romans 5:1). Sin is, in effect, saying to God that He, the creator, has no right to tell His creation what to do. Since Adam, man has become a sinner by nature and by choice. And, it has put man at war with God. Also, that selfish and prideful sinful nature has caused all of the wars, violence and hatred that we know today. Because of sin, man isn't even at peace with himself, which is why we have all of the suicide in this world.
II. Our Sinful Nature, the Source of all Wars
In the book of James, we see the source of wars:
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even your lusts that war in you members? You lust and have not: you kill and desire to have and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not; because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts."
The New Living Translation has got this right when it translates it this way:
"What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?"
So we see that war begins inside us. It ultimately comes from our sinful nature. Peace, can never come without doing something about this nature. Our Lord Himself said that in this life before He returns, there will always be wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6-8). But thankfully, Jesus has done something about sin and made it possible for total peace.
III. Jesus' Death and Resurrection, the Source of Peace
In Isaiah 9:6 it was prophesied that Jesus would be the Prince of Peace. And God the Father is called the God of peace (Romans 15:33). If there ever was to be peace, it had to start with God. The Father sent the Son to bring peace to us through Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus, who knew no sin, died in our place, and paid the penalty for our sins, That penalty is death, and ultimately leads to eternal death or separation from God for eternity. God the Father accepted the sacrifice of His Son on the cross, and because of that we can now have peace with God. In Romans 5:1 Paul tells us this very thing:
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Everyone can have that peace, but only those who accept the gift of salvation by faith will ever know true and lasting peace. (Ephesians 2:8,9; John 3:36).
IV. Peace is Ultimately Internal
Ultimately peace is internal. It doesn't depend on external circumstances. We can have peace no matter what may be going on in our lives. It comes from the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). It is knowing that our sin is forgiven and all is well with our soul, and with our relationship with God. It is the realization that God is using the circumstances of our lives for good, and that He has what's best for us in mind. And it is the realization that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38,39). This leaves us free to live our lives, loving God and loving each other without fear for the future. Our peace with God brings us peace with each other as well, as we grow to be more and more like Jesus Christ.
In this war-torn world, there is a dire need for that thing which only Jesus Christ can give. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior then, whether you know it or not, you don't have peace. You are still in rebellion and at war with the God of the universe. You need to accept the peace offered to you, that Christ won when He hung upon the cross. And you too can know the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.
Let us all praise God that Jesus will one day come back to this earth and forever remove from it all war, violence and the struggles we have with our old nature. We will live in a New Heaven and New Earth wherein dwells righteousness. And that peace that He brings will never end, because this universe will once and for all be lead by the Prince of Peace. As the song says: "What a day, glorious day that will be!"