by Stephen Simpson
Publication: One-to-One, Winter 2006

ONE ANCIENT ROADMAP STILL POINTS THE WAY

Map - Peace on EarthAs my friends know, I enjoy “strange-but-true” news headlines. One of my favorites from years ago is, “PEACE ACTIVISTS RIOT.” Ah, yes, there’s nothing like a little bit of pacifism to finally drive one over the edge.

There’s a lot of talk these days about war and peace; I suppose it’s really nothing new. Even before time began, there was war in heaven; the proud archangel Lucifer had the notion to rebel against God, and he led a mob of malcontent angels against the Lord. The battle went very poorly for Lucifer and his followers, and they were cast out of heaven.

And so, Lucifer eventually found his way into the Garden of Eden–a place of beauty, harmony, and peace on earth–where God and man enjoyed perfect fellowship. There, in the form of a serpent, Lucifer–who is the devil, Satan, the accuser–tempted Eve, even as a passive Adam embraced a policy of detente and non-aggression. Adam, after abdicating his God-given leadership and protective role, then gave into the devil’s temptation himself, thereby plunging creation under the chaotic curse of sin.

War came quickly into Adam and Eve’s house, as their younger, jealous son Cain murdered his brother, Abel. Even as Adam and Eve’s other descendants began to multiply and fill the earth, jealousy, striving, and lack of harmony with God caused sinful men to plot and scheme against one another; these plots frequently lead to bloody violence. Even after the flood, when all of mankind perished, except for one righteous man–Noah–and his family, the “war gene” remained in the human DNA. This sin flaw within provoked eventual warfare and splintering in the human family.

Today, we live in the ”Age of Grievances” where virtually every people group has a grievance against another. I once heard Pastor Wellington Boone note that among the ancestors of us all are those who were enslaved; and also those who enslaved others. The soil of the five continents is bloody from the battles that have arisen from our fundamental inability to live in peace with one another.

And our fundamental inability to live in peace with one another arises from our fundamental inability individually to live in peace with God. That is, we are unable to have peace with God in our own strength. How wonderful it is, then, that enjoying peace with God is a blessing initiated by God Himself towards man, through the life of Jesus Christ. Even today, at the dawn of A.D. 2007, the same gracious offer from God still stands–all who would embrace faith in Jesus can have peace with God. Jesus stands at the door to our hearts and says, “Follow Me!” It is an offer made to men and women; boys and girls; to youth and to elderly; to all colors and nationalities; to Gentiles, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Presbyterians, and Cafeterians; to straights and to gays; to sinners and to…well, since all have sinned, that pretty much covers it!

Yes, the offer is good to sinners. Perfect people need not apply. We don’t come to Jesus through our perfection, but through His. We don’t have to be perfect to “get into the club.” He brings us in, and then He perfects us.

Peace is not achieved through pacifism; and–though I support a strong national military–I know that peace cannot ultimately be achieved through guns, either. No, ultimate peace is won by the Lion Who is a Lamb; the little babe in the manger Who became the Mighty Warrior; the One Who triumphed over sin, death, hell, and Satan; the Winner and still champion; the Greatest of all time, Jesus Christ, Lord of heaven and earth!

It is in receiving Jesus, and on that basis alone, that we can have peace with God; peace in our hearts; and peace with one another. The man who is at odds with God will eventually be at odds with his neighbor. However, the one who receives peace with God is not only blessed personally, but also becomes another signpost on the one, true roadmap to peace for everyone.

Have a peaceful Christmas and New Year!