Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grace that leads to Peace

Peace. What does it mean, where does it come from, what does it look like in our lives? It’s a big concept, isn’t it? As the Christmas season approaches you will see and hear this word a lot. “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward men” is a favorite phrase from the Bible. Non believers especially like this one because it gives them some sense of hope. Unfortunately it is a false sense of hope because the Bible teaches that there will not be a true peace on this earth until our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ returns. So then, what kind of peace are we talking about? I want us to explore this issue in a deeper way than maybe you ever have before.

Why, you may ask is this so important? Well, if you recall from last time, we were examining victory in Christ and what that really means. I believe that one of the best ways to determine whether or not you are experiencing victory is whether or not you have a true peace in your life. Did you know that the word peace is found in the bible about 250 times? Wow, it must be important. Over and over I have heard Christians say that they experienced a peace in their heart when they accepted the Lord but don’t seem to have that on a regular basis. Again, this contributes to their having a sense of failure or defeat in their life. Sometimes this even leads to one’s doubting of their salvation and walking away from the Lord completely. After all,” what good is this Christianity stuff if I still have turmoil in my life”. Sound familiar? You may even have felt this way yourself at one time or another. Let’s look, then, at what the bible has to say about this subject and then I hope to give you some real practical ideas about how this works. Remember that this is a blog, not a book, so we will take a little at a time. Just like my football teams, we can’t run the play well until we have the individual techniques and assignments down!

John 14:27 says, “ 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”. He said this to his disciples shortly before he was to be crucified. Paul started most of his letters with the phrase” Grace and Peace” to the people he was addressing. (How many? I’m not going to tell you, you have to look it up) What does this word actually mean?
Here are a couple of definitions from Webster’s dictionary:
1 : freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
2 : harmony in personal relations
Interestingly, the greek word used often in the new testament (eirene) speaks of harmonious relationships between men and between men and God. It also refers to quietness in the churches. The corresponding word in Hebrew would be shalom. It can also mean a sense of rest and contentment.
The definitions sound very similar with one big exception, a harmonious relationship between man and God. This, I believe is what Jesus meant in his statement to his disciples. It spoke of a peace that cannot be found without His sacrifice on the cross. No one else can bring this type of peace. He gave His life so that we could have a harmonious relationship with God. This relationship is God’s gift to us. That brings us finally to the doctrine that I believe one must understand in order to experience this kind of peace. The doctrine of grace. In our next time together we will begin to take a real close look at what grace is all about and what it is not about. As promised we will also look at practical ways that the “grace that leads to peace” works in our lives.
Until then may you be filled with the joy of the Lord. God bless and keep you.


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