Ephesians 2:13-14, 17
Some years ago, there was a singer who wrote a song in which he asked us to imagine a world in which there was no conflict or troubles or killing or death or war. And it was also a world in which there was no religion. Because in his mind, religion just leads to conflict and killing. Some years back, I worked with the guy, he said the same thing, religion just leads to to violence, to death. Is that what religion leads to?
Well sadly, in the course of human history, there have been a lot of wars and there’s been a lot of killing and conflict in the name of religion. Sadder still there’s been division and killing and wars in the name of Christianity. And some of it was in self-defense and it was justified, but some of it was not justified and it was misguided at best. So is Christianity just a religion that leads to conflict and killing and war?
Well, that might be what some say, but that’s not what the Bible says. That’s not what Christianity is about. Christianity is about peace and love. It’s how God saw this world and the mess that we have made of it because of our sins and the conflict within us and the conflict between us. And he said, I want to reconcile that world to myself. And so he sent his Son Jesus to do that very thing for that purpose. As we read in Ephesians 2:13-14,
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace… He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:13-14, 17)
God saw the mess that we had made of this world by our sins, and he sent his Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to win Peace for us. To reconcile us to him. Jesus came to this world of conflict and strife and violence, and he lived among a divisive, a violent, a sinful people. And he was killed, he was crucified. But in his death, he won peace for us. Because he paid for the sins that separated us from God. And so we’re now at peace with God.
Through faith in Jesus we can be at peace with ourselves. We have every reason to live in peace with one another. Because Jesus died for those around us as well. Jesus has won us not just peace, but he has also won us life. Christianity isn’t about death. It’s about the life that we have in Christ. In baptism, we are new creations and we’re heirs of eternal life, life of peace in heaven. And there we’ll live in peace forever and ever.
Until that day, we have lives of hope here on Earth, new lives of hope. Where we do all we can to live at peace with those around us and to share that hope that we have. What a blessing we have in the peace that Christ has won for us. Will you pray with me?
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for sending your son, the Prince of Peace, to win peace for us. We ask that you would fill our hearts with this peace and help us to live at peace with those around us as we live the new lives that we have in your Son. We pray this all in his name, amen.