Peace from GOD
We have grown to expect politicians and diplomats to work hard to end international conflict through peace agreements. What happens after an agreement has been signed? As if the ink was not dry yet, another summit is needed to create another treaty. It seems that peace is as difficult to achieve as it is desirable.
It is striking that God is called "God of Peace" (Hebrews 13:20).
Fact or feeling, or both?
How did you feel when you first heard those words? Is it subjective, i.e. I feel peace from God, or objectively, i.e. I have peace with God? The majority of people assume the second, but tend to favor the first. I am here to convince you that the author was referring to the second, and that subjective peace is a (blessed!) result of it.
How is God, the God of Peace?
This means that God is the God who brings peace. God is the source and maker of peace, as well as the one who grants peace. Without Him, there is no lasting and true peace.
We think of peace in a natural sense as order. Do you remember the first words in the Bible? "In the beginning God ..." Next, the text continues to say:
"The earth was unformed and void, and the darkness was over all the depths." And the Spirit of God hovered over the waters." (Genesis 2:1).
The next verses are God's declaration of creation. His creative word brings order to the world. He orders creation to order. He is the God of Peace.
The Day the Record Was Broken
In a few chapters, however, we learn about the record skipping. Adam and Eve commit sin, and plunge all of humanity and all creation into a cursed world (Gen. 3:15ff). This has caused the world to no longer function as well-ordered and perfect as it was before. While it still retains some of its old world charm and beauty, it is not full of all the splendor.
The prevalence of disorder is one way we can see that things aren't working properly. We see death, disease, and disasters. These are all attacks on the God of Peace and his creations. These things are not accidental intrudes in God's creation, as we can see from the Bible. They are consequences of our sin. Sin creates chaos. It is a disorder that invades God's goodness creation.
The God of Peace Brings Harmony
We can see how the God of Peace has intervened to solve the problem. God of peace is the God who brings reconciliation. We know that our rebellion, sin and disobedience have caused us to be separated from God.
There is one level of disorder in creation. We just discussed it. It has also caused chaos in our souls on a primary level. It has caused a fracture in people's relationships with God. We are most often at odds with God or apart from Him. A peace treaty is needed to end the spiritual war.
How is peace made? It is the God who creates peace with His warring subjects, His creation. Jesus Christ is God made man to make peace.
Consider what Jesus is doing in the gospel stories.
- He heals diseases. We read Mark 1;40-43 (and other places) about Him healing the sick or lame. He heals a leper in this passage. Why? To prove that He can deal with the curses of sin. He can heal the disease (the fruit), but He cannot fix the root (the sin). God of peace brings order.
- He calms the disaster. We read Mark 4 :35-41 of Jesus lying in a boat. All were afraid when the sea began to rage. Jesus speaks to the sea when they call upon Him. What happened? In a flash, the raging sea subsided. It was like glass. The God of Peace brings order to chaos.
- He raises dead people. We read John 11 of Jesus speaking to someone who has been dying for many days. Lazarus is raised from the dead and risen again. Jesus has power over death. He brings peace. He makes payment for sin. We read in Colossians 1:20-21 that Jesus made peace through His blood on the cross. Through His death, He reconciles all things. Jesus reconciles all the parties to a lasting and eternal shalom. His death brings peace. He restores order. Jesus saves rebellious people such as you and me. As a suitable payment for our sin, He offered Himself on the cross. He reconciles us to God through the abolition of our sin. He reconciles us with God. The God of peace creates peace.
This is the main meaning in which Hebrew writer is speaking. In the sense that God is the God of Peace, he means that He is both the source and maker of peace and therefore the giver of peace. We have peace because of the peace God has made.
What can we do about it?
(1) It is important to remember that God works in all things to make them new. The cross has made it possible to heal the disorder caused by sin. This will happen at the end. If you feel the effects of disorder (disasters, diseases, death, pain, etc.), you should remember that God of Peace is actively working to make things right. God's actions are linked to God's nature. Even though things may seem to be crumbling, take comfort in this truth.
(2) Remember that peace is your greatest need in history and all eternity. We sin and declare war on God, but Christ made peace for spiritual rebels like us through His cross. Keep the beauty of the gospel for peace alive in your heart. It is worth remembering every day.
(3) If you don't know the God of Peace, you can now if you are ready to give up your weapons of war against Him. He will accept you if you repent of sin and trust you in Him.
(4) God converts people into peacemakers (Mt. 5:9 Scriptures on peace). Because God made peace with us, we are called to seek peace with all people (Rom. 12:16,18). We don't hold grudges or act vindictively. 12:15). We serve the God who is peace.
(5) This doesn't diminish the subjective sense of peace but informs it. Because we are at peace with God, we feel peace from God. The second is permanent and doesn't fluctuate. However, the first can change depending on how we react to situations. The gospel gives us objective peace that can inform and shape our feelings.