Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Reflections on the second Wednesday in Advent: “Peace in Christ”

The New Testament word for “peace” (eirene) is equivalent to the Old Testament word for “peace” (shalom). We often miss the full meaning of the word. The word means “wellness, wholeness, unity, and salvation.” Even more, the word means being one with God. So if you’re right with God, you’re healthy, you’re whole. You have peace! How far we’ve strayed from this meaning of peace. Today, “peace” is a socio-political idea epitomized by the 1960’s “peace sign.” This is an anti-war concept. Ironically, however, if we practice this reductionism of peace, we lose true peace. The “peace sign” is even worse than one might think. In-spite of various interpretations of the sign, it seems clear that it is an inverted cross with the cross arms broken. Speaking of irony, however, to “undo” the cross of Calvary would be to lose all peace! The Word of God teaches in Romans 5 that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 1) and then goes on to elaborate on this peace won through the reconciliation Christ established through His blood (Romans 5:9-11). Christ’s blood has won our peace with God. We are now right with God and to be right with Him is quite simply to have all we need in this life and the next! In this context, we know the truth that Jesus is indeed “the prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6), we understand the proclamation of the angels at the birth of Christ: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14) We understand why Simeon was so filled with peace upon seeing the baby Jesus that he was fully prepared to die and leave this earth (Luke 2:29-30). And we know why St. Paul describes what you know in Christ: namely, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, [that] will guard your hearts and minds…(Philippians 4:7).” This peace, however, is to never be confused with the earthly “peace” movements. In fact, Christ warned that in regard to human dynamics we should not think that He came to bring peace, but division. This is what He teaches in Matthew 10:34: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” People are divided, especially because they are divided about Jesus Christ. Some follow Him, others do not; some love and worship Him, others do not…ultimate allegiances in life cannot be hidden; different values and worldviews inevitably bear out and for this reason there is no peace in the sense of the “peace sign.” That peace is artificial and unreal, but thanks be to God that He has given to us the lasting peace, the real peace, the peace that comes through sins forgiven and through knowing God as our Heavenly Father. Let us give thanks as Christmas approaches that peace is not this far-off possibility, but rather an accomplished reality: Christ came and is coming to give us peace with God! This peace is yours! In Christ, Dr. Espinosa

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  1. thanks for such a nice information. i appreciate your work.

  2. I appreciate the feedback!

    Dr. Espinosa

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