Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
We see this verse included on so many Christmas cards every year and it always gives me joy to read it. The Heavenly Host pronounced this to the shepherds as they watched over their flocks on the night Christ was born. It seems the angels just couldn’t contain their joy and appeared to men praising God and pronouncing peace on earth. They were announcing the birth of Jesus who would give His life so we can live. He is the only way to peace, but it is up to each of us individually to accept His peace.
First, let’s take a look at world peace. Is there peace on earth? Have you seen the news lately? We read of wars and rumors of wars, persecution, violence, murder, riots, and on it goes. Where is the peace that the angels sang about?
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
We hear of peace talks, peace treaties, and peace accords. World leaders gather and try to come to some sort of agreement regarding world peace, but the one most important element is missing from the negotiations by world leaders. What is that missing element? It is the Prince of Peace. He is rejected by these world leaders who don’t understand that no true peace will come on this earth until the Prince of Peace rules.
“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
Only when Jesus reigns on earth (and one day He will reign on earth) will this world observe unprecedented peace. That peace will last for 1,000 years. Of course, after that millennium of peace Satan will be unchained and he gets one last chance to deceive the masses. At the end of those 1,000 years of peace, all those who follow Satan and reject Christ will end up in the lake of fire forever. That may sound harsh to many of you, but that’s the price of rejecting Christ and His salvation. It isn’t a secret and each individual has a choice.
Saber rattling, then wars, and then man’s foolish attempts at establishing peace on earth are a cycle that began thousands of years ago and will continue its cycle until Christ once again steps foot on planet earth and brings real peace with Him. Can anyone really imagine 1,000 years of peace on earth? It’s never been so in the past. Since Adam sinned and he and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden humanity has been in turmoil because it seems easier and more appealing to go the way of the world rather than follow God’s Word. As a matter of fact, there have always been wars somewhere on earth. God didn’t want it this way, but knew that sinful man would be at war with one another. He knew that nationally and individually there would be strife.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
I have a license plate frame on my car that reads “Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace”. That is so true. Peace on earth is a choice that we each have to make for ourselves. It is inside of us when we become indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but if we do not submit to Christ we will not find His promised peace. Peace comes from being right with God…choosing His ways by denying self and following Him.
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
What does it mean to deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me? Basically each of us is self-centered. We want everything on our own terms. Salvation is wonderful as long as we don’t have to change our ways of doing things. By taking up our cross we see things as Christ does and our choices are based on His ways even if our human self thinks things would be better our way. In order to have the peace which passes understanding, everything in our life needs to be turned over to Jesus.
Our choice of friends (are they fellow Christians), job (if you are a Christian you don’t want to be a bartender), entertainment (what do you look at on the Web or what movie you watch). If Jesus rules our choices, peace will live in our hearts. Since the day Adam sinned we have been separated from God, but as the angels sang about peace on earth, they were proclaiming joy that God was born to reconcile man unto Himself. We need to understand that peace will only come through Jesus. Turmoil and unrest are caused by the wrong choices we make.
Do you feel angry all the time? Are you confused because you think that once you accepted Christ everything would be perfect?
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
God does not bring confusion. The turmoil, confusion, and anger in our life are there because we make poor choices. When a Christian makes choices based on Christ’s ways there will be peace inside of us no matter what is happening around us. Conflict arises when choices are made that are opposed to Christ’s ways and peace that passes all understanding is forfeited.
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16).
You cannot have heavenly peace if you are living a worldly lie.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Does it surprise you that Jesus did not promise us peace in the world, but tribulation? He spoke these words to His disciples just before His arrest. He wanted those faithful followers to know that it was not going to be easy to follow Him. Throughout the ages it has not been easy to stay true to Christ. Every born-again believer in Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and we should all have peace within us, but for the most part humanity all around the world will never see peace on earth.
They are those Christ-rejecters who are endlessly roaming the highways and byways of life completely oblivious to what’s coming – tribulation such as humanity cannot imagine. It isn’t easy to make godly choices today, but after the Rapture it will be worse. Many in this lost in space crowd have no idea that peace on earth is impossible until the Prince of Peace returns. Jesus Christ will return and establish His Kingdom, His earthly rule as a monarch, our King of kings and Lord of lords. Praise God, can’t wait.
Christ promised that after His death He would send the Comforter.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).
The Comforter, that is the Holy Spirit, dwells within every born again Christian and He is our source of peace. Don’t fight Him. Inner conflict happens when a Christian makes choices that are ungodly. This conflict only brings a lack of peace.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Unless you submit to Jesus Christ, you will have no peace. Unless you know the Prince of Peace you will never know true peace.
God bless you all,