Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is impossible to become recipients of true peace without first becoming the recipients of grace. Peace is essentially a cessation of hostilities. Earthly peace requires two parties to come to an agreement to solve a crisis, whether that crisis is between nations or between persons in a civil or legal matter. The problem with earthly peace is that it is so often only a plaster (band aid) over unresolved injuries and is therefore only temporary and shallow. This is especially the case when the peace that is declared is actually an enforced peace or imposed peace. When such an agreement is enforced by the strength, skill or legal position of one party over the other the peace that follows is often only conditional until the weaker party regains strength or additional resources, at which point hostility will break out again, more often than not on an entirely different issue! An example of this enforced type of peace at a national level was Germany at the end of WW1. In this case Germany was forced to make peace due her to surrender by the Western Allies. Beaten and dejected Germany had no option but to make peace and accept the terms of that peace. However many of the issues of WW1 were still unresolved and Germany felt that the economic burden imposed on her to make war repatriations were unfair and insulting. It was this sense of that perceived injustice that allowed Hitler to rise to power and as soon as Germany regained military strength almost as one nation, she rose up again in violent hostility to wipe away the shame of their former defeat and so ensued WW2.
But it is the same with personal hostilities. If a person is forced, say by a court of law to make peace or reach a settlement with another party, then regardless of the rights or wrongs of the case there will be a sense of injustice and grievance even if the aggrieved is at fault. This is because the law is designed to deal with actions and not the matters of the heart!
However true permanent peace is only achieved when grace is extended by one of the parties involved.
Grace is undeserved favour. When the Allies gained the victory in 1945 to conclude WW2 they learnt their lesson from WW1. A conscious decision was made by the Allies to refrain from humiliating the vanquished but instead to rebuild their former enemy’s economies, so removing their shame and giving unmerited favour to both Germany and Japan. Those nations are so longer a threat to world peace because they became recipients of grace. Therefore the peace that exists between those two nations and the rest of the world is real and stable.
Grace always has that effect, and that is why we can have peace with God. Before we accepted Christ as LORD we were by nature objects of wrath and at war with ourselves, each other and God. We were consistently doing things that were against God. As David the Psalmist states in Psalm 51v4 against You only have I sinned. We were completely helpless to change ourselves or our behaviour, always blaming others, even God Himself for our failings. But God extended grace to us when He wiped out the record of our hostility towards Him through Christ’s death on the Cross. Indeed on that very Cross Jesus Christ bore the sin and hostility of the whole world, so making peace by His Blood shed on the Cross. By receiving God’s forgiveness through the offer of grace we can now have true permanent peace. For such there is now no hostility between us and God. His thoughts to us are only good, and our thoughts to Him in return are of praise and thanksgiving. This then results in peace of mind, which in turn breeds confidence and assurance even in difficult situations since we know that God is in control of our lives and that nothing can separate us from His love.
So since we have become such recipients of such incredible grace resulting in peace let us ask this one question – is there anyone to whom we can offer grace today, someone who doesn’t deserve such kindness, so that we may live in peace with them? If there is let us not delay, let us extend GRACE today and so be agents of PEACE!
OUR PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, thank you for the grace and peace you have given to us through the LORD Jesus Christ. Enable us to boldly share this message of grace to others today and bring to our minds any who need us to extend grace to them that we may live at peace and so mirror Your grace to this world.