Rev. Chuck Muether Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church
In the wake of the horrific terrorism that overshadowed the Boston Marathon, the question was raised by a cable news commentator, “What will it take to get real peace in this country?”
Before such a question can ever be truly answered, we need to ask and answer this, what is real peace? We might follow that inquiry with these questions: What is peace to you?
Is it the absence of war that defines peace? Is it the removal of conflict, strife, turmoil, or persecution? Perhaps, peace is a combination of harmony, tranquility, and passivity. When does peace begin and when does it end?
A person may sincerely desire peace, and all sinful people need peace, but not everyone understands the need for peace or even understands what real peace is.
In our greeting card age, the world has made distinctions regarding peace. There is the faith aspect to peace that would correlate to a Christian peace, a Jewish peace, or even a Muslim peace. And then there is that secular peace. Platitudes exchanged in a sort of general arm-length away that says, you have your peace and I have my peace, so let’s make peace by respecting each other’s peace.
The problem is that peace by its very definition is really singular because to have two “peaces” is to have conflicting definitions, and conflict by its definition suggests the absence of peace. There can only ever be one true sense of peace, and the real questions are what is that peace, and who is behind it?
We need a peace that transcends all understanding, a peace that Isaiah prophesied: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
It was the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ who ushered in peace, and he did that by not just being born, but by also through daily obedience, death, resurrection, and ascension, he became the propitiation. As propitiation he became the suitable sacrifice and appeased God’s wrath. He also removed our sin and guilt and became sin himself, properly understood: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
It is quite simple really. We cannot obtain peace among ourselves without being at peace with God. When we confess our sins and confess the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and we turn from our sins, we find peace with God. The work of our Lord on earth was to testify to the truth, and in doing that, Jesus came to reconcile the sinner to the heavenly Father. And that is real peace.
It is this one true peace that puts all wars into perspective, whether its the drug war, the cancer war, or that which has occupied the top headlines for years, the war on terror. It is this one true peace that can only envelop discord and disunity in the home, in the family, and in the church.
This weekend we will be enjoying our tulip festival and showing the colors and music of our Dutch heritage. May we not forget that our forebears came to settle in this part of the country to escape religious persecution and to live in peace that surpasses all understanding–peace with God.