“15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”
After looking at the priority, passion and place of peace Paul now reminds us of:
- The price it cost to purchase peace
When you consider the price that was paid to purchase our peace, real peace is not just costly, it is extravagantly expensive. Jesus had to leave heaven, step out of glory where He was surrounded by worship and into a world of sin. He had to leave the Father and put on flesh and take the form of a helpless baby. He surrendered His Will to walk countless miles through the dirt and the dust only to be belittled and beaten. He traded the comforts of Heaven for the cruelty of a cross. He purchased our freedom through pain and bought us with His own blood. He went from Heaven to hell to restore our relationship with His Father. Why would God be willing to pay such a high price for me? Scripture screams forth the answer on every page of the bible, love. Love is what moved him to pay the supreme price for my peace, John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Later John pens these words in 1 John 4:9-11 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” It is here that we see the response that God is looking for in us, not only are we to respond to the Lords love personally but we are to present it to others. If we really trust in and treasure the love that he has showered on us then we will share it with others. Are you living life channeling Christ’s love into the lives of others? That means that we will be willing and even eager to pay whatever price is necessary to be reconciled in our relationships. What about you, will you follow the example of His extravagant love and live to be reconciled in your relationships? Is the Lord’s love living in you? Not only do we see the price it cost to purchase peace but we also see the:
- Privilege of proclaiming His peace
Real peace has eternal promises, when Jesus shed his blood on the cross, he provided a path for us to be reconciled into a right relationship with God. His sacrifice sanctified us so that we are no longer separated by sin and defeated by death. We are forgiven and free to enter the halls of heaven and enjoy an eternal home surrounded by the Father’s love forever, just as Jesus promised in John 6:47, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” Yet inherent in this gift of peace is the privilege and weighty responsibility we have of sharing His message of life giving peace with others. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” If you have responded and are a recipient of His peace then you have been given the weighty privilege of sharing His gift with others. We must clearly communicate the truth of the cross, both with the words that we say and in the way that we walk. Jesus taught His disciples that our most powerful and persuasive testimony is communicated in how we love one another. In John 13:34-35, he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The love that is most captivating and compelling to the world is not the love that we share and show to those who love us. As Jesus taught in Luke 6:27-36, anyone can love those who love them: 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” What distinguishes and defines us as different from the world is our love for those who are in conflict with us. When we let love lead, when we let go and forgive those who have deeply hurt us, or humbly confess our own wrongs, we are demonstrating the reality and the reconciling power of Christ in our lives. As others watch and witness His love flowing through us they get to taste the power of peace and the reconciliation they too can find in Jesus. As we walk in love our witness as peacemakers can lead others to trust in Christ and find eternal peace through him. Don’t just think of peacemaking as provisional, it can have powerful and eternal consequences.
1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.” What about you will you humble yourself, will you stop trying to prove your own righteousness, cast aside your worldly and worthless tactics for resolving conflict, and pursue God’s path for making peace, no matter how difficult it may be?
In Matthew 7:3-4, Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” What if you were to stop dwelling on what others did wrong and simply confess, in detail and with sincere sorrow, how you have contributed to the conflict?
In Philippians 2:3-4, the apostle Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” What if you were to stop making it about self and instead of focusing solely on your feelings in humility look at others hearts? Would you be willing to give as much effort to identifying and meeting their interests as you do your own?
In Ephesians 4:32, Paul writes, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” As you consider the one who has, deeply wronged you, gossiped about you, betrayed your trust, failed to keep a commitment, damaged your property or destroyed your reputation, what price are you will to pay to restore peace in that relationship? Will you divest yourself of the desire to make the other person pay? Are you going to let bitterness be your boss and control you or Christ? Think about the supreme sacrifice that the Savior paid to secure your forgiveness from the Father. You were forgiven because He lavishly overflowed His love to purchase your pardon and now He invites you to share in His sacrifice and extend love, even to the underserving. Are you as passionate about peace and reconciliation as He is? Will you make peace your priority and passion? What price are you willing to pay? Do you consider it a pain or a privilege to proclaim His peace?