Jesus came to earth (something we remember especially at Christmas) to bring us three kinds of peace:
- Peace with God. The Bible teaches that our sin has separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and made us God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21). This is why Jesus needed to come to earth as a mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). God’s terms of peace are total, unconditional surrender. When we accept these terms, admitting that God is God and that we are not, we find peace with God. As Romans 5:1 puts it “…we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
- The peace of God. Once we have peace with God, God wants us to experience the peace of God in our hearts. There are so many things to trouble our hearts and make us friend (John 14:27) which is exactly why Jesus came to bring us the peace of God. Jesus was born to give us a better way than worry. Worrying is talking to yourself about your problems. This causes anxiety to rise. Praying is talking to God about your problems. This causes anxiety to dissipate. As the prayers go up the anxiety goes down. Prayer to worry is like amoxicillin to an ear ache – it makes it go away! The apostle Paul put it this way in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Peace with man. The truth is, we’re better at fighting with each other than getting along with each other. What causes these fights? The Bible says the culprit is our sinful nature. Galatians 5:20 says our sinful nature produces discord, jealousy, hatred and selfish ambition (among other things). Is it any wonder we have conflict with others when our hearts are filled with such things? Jesus came into the world to remedy the problem of our sinful nature. He came to give us a new nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” That is, Jesus comes to empower us to put to death our selfish nature and to live according to our new selfless nature.
Getting these gifts of peace that Jesus came to earth to bring is a lot like buttoning up your shirt. When you button up your shirt it’s super important to get the first button right. If you don’t get the first one right, the rest will be wrong too. In the same way, you have to get first things first with God. Begin with making peace with God. If you skip this part you’ll never get to experience the peace of God or peace with man. If you get the first part wrong, everything else will be wrong too. The opposite is also true. If you get the first part right, everything else be right as well. Make peace with God and you’ll get to experience the peace of God, and peace on earth, good will toward men.