Saturday, March 17, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 25 ~ Making Peace

Day 25 ~ Making Peace

James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Jesus comes as a peacemaker. Peace comes to those who are at war or who are opposed to each other. We are born at enmity with God, as the King David once said, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5). We are born as His enemies, dead in our sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-3). Apart from Christ we live in constant anarchy against our divine Lord and Creator. We always talk about humanity's "fall" into sin like we tripped over a branch and just "fell" into a hole we call sin. But, as theologian Gerhard Forde says, that fall was upward. It was a treasonous act of rebellion against God. We sought to overthrow the throne of heaven.

Sin is not an accidental slip-up, it is war against God. We turn on God and become His enemies! Such action places us under God's wrath. In this war, God will win. We have the weaker, smaller army. He is God. He is like the unstoppable army of Alexander the Great. We are like a box of arrogant toy soldiers. All hope is lost for the rebels.

But, in an unbelievable act of mercy, the offended God makes peace. The Lord of hosts (that is, of the angelic armies) makes an offering of peace. He Himself is the offering! He is the offering of reconciliation who creates peace! "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them" (2 Corinthians 5:19). This work of peace-making has raised a harvest of righteousness. In other words, in offering His life as a sacrificial peace offering and dying in our place, Jesus has also given us the gift of His righteousness. So that, through the death of Christ, God sees us as saints clothed in the righteousness of Christ and not as treasonous sinners.

We have been reconciled to God through Christ, our peacemaker. And now, Paul says, "He has committed to us the message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19). We go as those clothed in the righteousness of Christ, at peace with God, and proclaim His peace to those still at war. The God they fight against Has forgiven them for Christ's sake! Let us be the ones to proclaim this peace to them!

Confession: Heavenly Father, what gracious work your Son has done so that I no longer need to fear you, but can call you my Father. Forgive me for my rebellious sins and use me to bring peace with your Word, just as it has been brought to me. I thank you for your grace to sinners like me. AMEN

Challenge: Write three letters to soldiers and bring them to church to be mailed.

Pastor Bob

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