“Peace on earth!” the angels sang at Christmas, and now we “repeat the sounding joy.”
“The Peace of the Lord be with you,” we say in worship and Christian greeting. “God’s Peace!” we close a letter, text, or email. And as we begin this New Year 2017 we pray for God’s peace for ourselves, our family, our nation, and our world.
But what does that really mean? What can we really expect to happen when God’s peace comes upon us? We certainly know what it does not mean. It does not mean that all problems will go totally away. It does not mean that instantly there will be no more war or strife around the world. It does not mean that everything in our lives will quickly turn to total bliss. It does not mean that all our troubles at home, work, or school will suddenly disappear. So what does it mean to have “The Peace of the Lord?” The angels said we have it. We declare it to each other. What does it mean?
I believe we can get a true understanding of what “The Peace of the Lord” really means if we look at a simple acrostic I recently developed. It uses each letter of the word “peace” to begin an accurate statement about God’s Peace, “The true peace of the Lord.”
Pressure is off. When Christ came at Christmas and when He died and rose again, all the pressure of what we must do to “save ourselves” came off. No longer is it “on us” to “get right with God.” No longer is it “on us” to “do what it takes to get to heaven.” No longer is it “on us” to “be good enough to earn those stars in our heavenly crown.” No. All the pressure is off us because Christ took all this upon Himself. He provides the solution. He provides the salvation. His holiness becomes our holiness. He offers Himself to us, and simply by faith we hold on to His promise that He is “enough.” The pressure is off us. This is the true “Peace of the Lord.”
Eternity is secure. And because the pressure is no longer on us, but on the merits of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we know for certain that our eternity is secure, secure in heaven with all those who share this saving faith. Too many people these days seem unconcerned about their eternity. But we should all be aware that we are eternal beings, and that our only hope for eternal security is in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. This is the true “Peace of the Lord.”
Action is natural. Because of God’s action in sending His Son Jesus to us to be our Savior, it is only natural that we then become “action figures,” to borrow a term from toy land. Yes, as we know and experience this blessed reality of the true “Peace of the Lord,” we can do no other than go to work in the world taking this true peace to others through acts of love, sacrifice, and service. And this action is as close as our own homes and as far away as ministry and mission around the world. We do not “work for our own salvation,” but simply in natural and joyful response to this great peace that fills our lives. This is the true “Peace of the Lord.”
Christ is the center. It goes both ways. When we have “The Peace of The Lord,” Christ is always at the center. He is the center of our lives in every decision, every priority, every relationship, every minute of every day. Our whole existence revolves around Him. He leads and guides us in all we do. And it also goes the other way, too. When Christ is the center of our lives, then we most definitely have “The Peace of The Lord,” and the anxiety and uncertainly of our lives dissolves into a calm and serenity that makes our hearts and minds relaxed and settled, knowing we are living the best way possible. This is the true “Peace of the Lord.”
Expression is praise. With “The Peace of The Lord” securely in our hearts, the expression of praise bolts joyfully from our lips. We can do no other than “thank and praise, serve and obey Him,” as Martin Luther said. We can express our praise to God in all sorts of ways. We can praise Him in the silence of our hearts. We can praise Him with words acknowledging His grace, glory, and grandeur. We can sing His praise with loud songs, hymns, and anthems. We can sing with the angels, “Glo-o-o-ria in excelsis Deo!” Glory to God in the highest! We can sing “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” We can sing “How Great is Our God” and “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” Our expression is always to “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” This is the true “Peace of the Lord.”
Yes. This is the true “Peace of the Lord.” Amen.
Kollmeyer is senior pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Fayetteville. www.princeofpeacefayette.org.