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Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

In the book For the Fame of God’s Name, Ray Ortlund presents a great list of the truths that are taught in the book of Philippians (it is only 4 chapters, which is 3 pages in my Bible). I am reproducing the list below in order to give a taste of what one small part of the New Testament teaches. It contains a lot of theology. I hope that this list can help Christians better understand this book and help Muslims better understand what the Bible teaches about God, Jesus and those who follow him.

  • he who began this good work in them will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (1:6);
  • they are all partakers of grace together (1:7);
  • they are experiencing the affection of Christ Jesus himself through their relationship with Paul (1:8);
  • they will be pure and blameless for the day of Christ (1:10);
  • human opposition, far from defeating the gospel, is serving to advance the joyous spread of the gospel (1:12-18);
  • should life be lost, Christ is gained (1:21);
  • temporary survival is gospel opportunity (1:22);
  • to depart and be with Christ is far better than this life (1:23);
  • the further one goes with Christ, the more joy one experiences (1:25);
  • the gospel of Christ is an uplifting power (1:27);
  • opposition to gospel witness presages the doom of the opponents and the glorious destiny of the faithful (1:28);
  • it is a God-given privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ (1:29);
  • union with Christ brings encouragement, comfort form love, participation in the Spirit, affection, and sympathy (2:1);
  • Christ Jesus himself is living proof that the arrogance of this world is doomed and that gospel humility is the path of great reward (2:6-9);
  • Jesus is King, and he will have every rational creature in the universe know it and own it, to the greater glory of God the Father (2:10-11);
  • the Philippians do not need Paul always present to lead them by the hand; God himself is deeply at work in them (2:12-13);
  • knowing Christ Jesus the Lord redefines all trophies of self-exaltation in his death and resurrection; he is so superior to all things in the world that, whatever path one may take into resurrection of the dead, the price to be paid is small in comparison (3:7-11);
  • in conversion, Christ Jesus takes eternal possession of the believer (3:12);
  • the call of God in Christ Jesus offers a prize far beyond this world, worthy of the believer’s all (3:14);
  • to whatever extent any believer struggles to grasp the upward call, God will reveal all that that believer needs revealed (3:15)’
  • to settle for the rewards of this world is to make oneself an enemy of the cross of Christ and to make a god of one’s earthly appetites, which is the path of destruction and the reversal of a truly human life (3:18-19);
  • those who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh also find their citizenship in heaven, from which they await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will raise even their lowly bodies into his immortal glory by his power over all things (3:3, 20-21);
  • their names are written in the book of life (4:3);
  • the Lord is at hand (4:5);
  • God receives the prayers of his people and sends his overruling peace to guard their hearts when the circumstances of life would have them frantic (4:6-7);
  • if believers will follow the apostolic example of lovely heavenly-mindeedness, they will experience the presence of the God of peace (4:8-9);
  • Christ strengthens his people to accept with contentment whatever life may bring (4:11-13);
  • when the Philippians support Paul’s ministry, the fruit increases to their own credit (4:17);
  • God receives their partnership with Paul as a scacrifice pleasing to himself (4:18); God is committed to the Philippians’ own needs with all his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (4:19); in it all, God will get glory for himself forever and ever (4:20);
  • in the meantime, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ will steadfastly be with their spirit (4:23)

“The Pastor as Worshipper” by Ray Ortlund in For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piperedited by Sam Storms and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, Il: Crossway, 2010), 411-413.

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Who is Jesus Christ? This is one of the questions that undoubtedly divides Christians and Muslims. Muslims say that Jesus was a prophet of God and a messenger of God. Christians affirm this, but say much more. Jesus Christ is more than a prophet, for he is God incarnate. He is God. We believe this, not because it readily makes sense to us, but because this is what the Injil teaches. For example, John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He was with God (thus there is some kind of distinction) and he was God (there is some kind of unity). We do not, however, believe in multiple Gods. There is one God. I believe this as strongly as any of my Muslim friends. To think otherwise is blasphemy.

But often, my Muslim friends just don’t see any reason to believe that Jesus is God. They don’t see why Jesus Christ has to be both man and God (an admittedly difficult thing to explain). I read the following answer by Sinclair Ferguson in his book, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life and thought it might be helpful for my Muslim readers to better understand why we think it is so important that Jesus is both God and man, even if you still disagree.

What makes this two-nature [God and man] Christology essential to the gospel? John’s answer [from the Gospel of John] is twofold:

1. Only God – the One through whom “all things were made” (John 1:3, cf. v. 10), in whom “was life” and “light” (John 1:4) – can reverse creation’s death and dissipate the darkness caused by sin.

2. But since that death and darkness are within creation, within man, the Word must become flesh in order to restore it from within. The Creator must enter His own creation, groaning as it is under the burden of alienation from Him.*

*Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life (Orlando: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007), 13.

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There are many similarities between Muslims and Christians. In fact, as a follower of Jesus the Messiah, when I am with Muslims I often feel more comfortable than when I am with Americans or other Westerners. My values are much closer to an average Muslim than to a secular Westerner. We especially noticed this several years ago while studying Arabic in Syria. There was a big difference between us and some of our European classmates (I only remember one other American, though, interestingly, we did meet a Somali who lived about a mile away from us in America).

As similar as many of our values are, there are differences in our theology, especially regarding our beliefs about Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus Christ? What did he do? It is the answers to these questions that separate us (the separation is theological – it doesn’t have to be relational).

This morning as I read my Bible I came across a passage that defines the differences between us. When I read this text my heart fills with praise to God and gratefulness for his mercy and compassion. I am really happy that I am reconciled to God, that I have peace with the Lord of the worlds. Here are the verses:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. – Colossians 1:19-20

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Called to Be Peacemakers

Contrary to the popular conception of the Messiah among Jews in the 1st century, Jesus did not come to take up his sword in order to defeat his enemies. He came in order to serve and ultimately die for his enemies. “Unlike the other kingdom-announcers of his time . . . Jesus declared that the way to the kingdom was the way of peace, the way of love, the way of the cross. Fighting the battle of the kingdom with the enemy’s weapons meant that one had already lost it in principle, and would soon lose it, and lose it terribly, in practice.”1

Peacemaking was central to Jesus’ ministry. He was often crossing boundaries and barriers in order to bring reconciliation and peace to those others thought should be left on the outside. In John 4 Jesus crossed boundaries of race, sex, and “morality” in order to bring reconciliation to an immoral woman and her village.

Jews and Samaritans did not having dealings with each other (John 4:9) and holy men did not engage strange women in conversation, especially if it was known that the woman had had five husbands and was currently with another man. But none of that stopped Jesus. He overcame all these barriers in order to show her who the Messiah was, in order to show her who he was. His simple act of ignoring the man-made barriers brought salvation to this immoral Samaritan woman as well as to many in her village. He reached out in love to those others considered an enemy.

“Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt 5:9). Having seen God’s work to bring peace in Jesus Christ to his people it is no surprise that he would call us to be like him in working to make peace with others. The peacemakers are blessed because “they shall be called sons of God (Matt 5:9). They will be called sons of God because they will be seen to be children who bear his likeness.

One of the most difficult commands of he Sermon on the Mount is the call to love our enemies.

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:43-48).

Just as peacemakers are called sons of God, so also those who love their enemies are “sons of your Father who is in heaven” (v. 45). This helps us better understand what it means to be a peacemaker. We do not just seek peace with those we are close to (family and friends); we must also seek peace with those who hate us and do evil to us. Ultimately this command is rooted in the nature of God. We must love our enemies and be perfect just as God loves his enemies (us!) and is perfect.

We are called to seek the peace of our enemies just as God seeks the peace of his enemies. We value all life just as God values all life. In his sermon to the Athenians Paul reminds us that in a sense we are all children of God. He emphasized the commonality between all people, which is rooted in creation, when he said, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place… he is actually not far from each one of us… we are indeed his offspring” (Acts 17:26, 27, 28).

God shows he values all life by sending Jesus to be “the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 4:4). To be a peacemaker as God is we too must value all life. “All life is valued, even the lives of our enemies, because God has valued them. The risk of so valuing life can only be taken on the basis of the resurrection of Jesus as God’s decisive eschatological act. For through Jesus’ resurrection we see God’s peace as a present reality. . . Through this crucified but resurrected savior we see that God offers to all the possibility of living in peace by the power of forgiveness.”2 We are able to seek peace, even with enemies, because we have peace.

God is a peacemaker and he calls us to be peacemakers as well. Our theology of God as peacemaker carries with it the explicit ethical call to be peacemakers. As Stanley Hauerwas argues, ethics is not just something we do after we have figured out theology, but it is part of theology. “I think in many ways the separation of ethics from theology has had unfortunate consequences. Ethics is but one aspect of the theological task… If theological convictions are meant to construe the world – that is, if they have the character of practical discourse – then ethics is involved at the beginning, not the end, of theology.”3 Our theologizing about peacemaking should always be connected with actually making peace. And of course, our actual peacemaking must always be connected with our theology of God as peacemaker.

The New Testament is full of commands to be at peace with others. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18). “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom 14:19). “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another,  agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11). It is one of the clearest commands of the New Testament and yet one of the most avoided. How often do Christians have conflict in the church and then rather than make peace they just find a new church? How often does someone offend another and rather than make peace he ignores the offense only for it to resurface later in the forms of anger and bitterness? Or to put the question another way, how many times have we seen someone walk out of a worship service in order to be reconciled to his brother before he offers his gifts to God (Matt 5:23-24)?

Jesus prayed that his disciples would live in unity so that the world would know that he was sent from God (John 17:21). Yet we often fail to live out this unity because we are unwilling to humble ourselves in order to seek peace with each other. Lack of humility is our greatest problem. We do not like to confront our own hearts to see the sin that remains. We are much more fixated on the sins of others. But Jesus made clear that until we have dealt with our sins (the log in our eye) we are unable to deal with the sins of another (the speck in his eye) (Matt 7:1-5).

Peacemaking requires humility and it must be rooted in the gospel. We can only be peacemakers when we live in the freedom given by God when we are ourselves at peace. We are able to love our enemies because God first loved us. “Love of our enemies is not recompensing love, that returns what it has received. It is creative love. Anyone who repays evil with good has stopped just reacting. He is creating something new. Love of an enemy presupposes the sovereignty which springs from one’s own liberation from enmity.”4

When speaking of our spiritual armor Paul says, “as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace . . .” (Eph 6:15). It is the gospel of peace that enables us to run. We must be experiencing ourselves the peace of the gospel if we want to be effective in proclaiming the kingdom of God through the gospel of peace to others.

Because we have experienced the gospel of peace in our own lives we are able to reach out to others, even those different than us, in order to preach peace to them. We are able to follow Christ in making peace with those of other communities (i.e. the Samaritan woman in John 4). Jesus said to his disciples, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Jesus was sent as a peacemaker. So are we.

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1. N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 595.
2. Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983), 88-89.
3. Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom, 54.
4. Jürgen Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions. (trans. Margaret Kohl; San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990), 132, emphasis his.

Posts in this Series:
Introduction
Peace (shalom) in the Old Testament
Created in Peace and the Consequence of Sin
The Gospel of Peace and the Death of Jesus Christ
Peace with God
Peace Within
Peace with Others
Peace in Creation and the Cosmos
Excursus – Is Peace an Attribute of God?
Called to Be Peacemakers

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Excursus – Is Peace an Attribute of God?

God is referred to as the “God of peace” six times in the New Testament (Rom 15:33; 16:20; Phil 4:9; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 3:16 [“Lord of Peace”]; and Heb 13:20). All of them are in benedictions.

God is the God of peace because he gives peace. This is seen in Philippians 4. In verses 6-7 Paul exhorts the Philippians to not be anxious and then promises that the peace of God will guard their hearts. Just two verses later he promises “the God of peace will be with you” (4:9). We see this same idea in 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

This name, “God of peace,” has its roots in the Old Testament. When the Lord called Gideon, he appeared to him as “the angel of the Lord” (Judg 6:11ff). Gideon presented a young goat and unleavened cakes and gave them to him, placing them on a rock. Then fire came from the rock and consumed them. This was when Gideon knew that this was the angel of the Lord and he was frightened, “‘Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.’ Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord is Peace” (Judg 6:22-24).

Gideon understood who was before him. Like Isaiah (see Isa 6:1-8) he knew that this was the Holy One and that he was a sinner. But God did not consume him. Instead, he spoke peace to him. Extending peace was a gift of mercy. So Gideon built an altar to commemorate this and rightly called it The Lord is Peace. The Lord showed mercy by giving peace, but Gideon did not merely say that YHWH is a God of peace; he said that YHWH is peace.

In Isaiah we read that the messiah will be the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6). The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus brings peace, but it teaches more as well. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:13-14, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far of have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace…”

God is not the God of peace simply because he is the giver of peace. He is the God of peace because he is peace. He is always peaceful. Because he is God he is all wise and all knowing. Therefore he has no anxiety about whether he is doing the right thing. He is all powerful and therefore there is no fear of what another might do to him. There is no internal conflict in him. He is at peace with every decision and every action.

Even more, as a trinity—Father, Son and Spirit—each person is at peace with the others. Jesus is always in complete and willing submission to the Father. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19). So also the Spirit is always in complete and willing submission, “When the Spirt of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).

Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in harmonious agreement with the plan of redemption. Each is overjoyed to play his part and to bring honor to others. The Father sent the Son and seeks to exalt him (John 8:50, 54). The Son dwelt among us, died for us and and in all he does he glorifies the Father (John 14:13). The Spirit works in the hearts of God’s people to fill them with faith, he discloses to us the person of the Son and brings him glory (John 16:14).

Peace in the Godhead is certainly much more than just absence of conflict. It is a total and complete state of well-being. It is a blessedness of relationship, a wholeness of fellowship and a delight in one another.

God is love (1 John 4:8). He is not dependent on creation in order to show love, for there is perfect love between each person of the Godhead. God is peace (Judg 6:24). Again he is not dependent on creation in order to be at peace, for peace reigns between each person of the Godhead.

Like all blessings of salvation and Christian virtues, peace among men is a reflection of God’s own nature; it is a divine attribute. God is completely at peace with himself. We often experience struggles between contradictory impulses within us. God, on the contrary, is completely in harmony with himself. His three persons glorify and serve one another willingly and cheerfully. He is whole, well, and prosperous-blessed and happy.1

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1. John Frame, The Doctrine of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2002), 444.

Posts in this Series:
Introduction
Peace (shalom) in the Old Testament
Created in Peace and the Consequence of Sin
The Gospel of Peace and the Death of Jesus Christ
Peace with God
Peace Within
Peace with Others
Peace in Creation and the Cosmos
Excursus – Is Peace an Attribute of God?
Called to Be Peacemakers

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Peace in Creation and the Cosmos

Christ’s peacemaking work also has cosmic purposes. By his death on the cross he began the process of reconciling all creation to himself. This will ultimately be fulfilled when God brings about the new heavens and the new earth, when the creation obtains the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:21). It will be a time as described in Isaiah 11:6-9:

6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

This vision of peace in God’s creation is explicitly connected to the coming of the “shoot from the stump of Jesse” (Isa 11:1). It is the Messiah who brings peace.

Christ’s mission was to reconcile all things. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:19-20). This reconciliation will end all rebellion against God so that the creation and the cosmos will be at peace.

But this reconciliation of all things requires the pacification with those things that are set against him, namely the powers and authorities that have been warring against God. By the cross God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Col 2:15). The way he has disarmed them is seen in the preceding verses. Speaking of the Colossians Paul writes, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:13-14).

The powers are disarmed through the forgiveness of our sins. Because our sins are forgiven “these forces no longer have any grounds to accuse the Colossians and us who believe (cf. Col. 2:15). In such accusation lay their power. Christ dying in our place robs them of their power (Rom. 8:31-34). Christus Victor needs the explanatory power of substitutionary atonement.”1

God’s defeat of Satan and his minions was always a theme of Christ’s ministry. He was engaging them before the cross, but it was at the cross that he makes the decisive victory. Not all enemies can be reconciled and brought back into right relationship. Those who will not lay down their weapons must be pacified. Jesus makes clear that these enemies are not people (i.e the religious authorities who put them to death). His enemy is the god of this world who has sought to take his throne.

He had confronted the religious leaders his entire life, but his heart for them at the end was still for their salvation. “And when he drew near and saw the city [Jerusalem], he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:41-42). This is clear from his attitude on the cross. In the midst of being put to death he cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

The Jews of his day wanted to usher in the kingdom of God through warfare. They wanted to rise up and throw off the oppressive regime of the Romans. They were looking for a Messiah that would take the sword and cut off the head of their oppressors. The believed God had promised them victory. Jesus, on the other hand, knew that this kind of battle could never bring the kingdom of God. He understood that their greatest enemy was not the Romans. “He believed . . . that the way to peace, blocked by zealotry all around, could only come by his fighting the real battle against the real enemy.”2

Being the God of peace required him to crush the enemy that will stop at nothing to destroy all peace. It is not incongruous for Paul to write, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20), for there is “no peace without disarmament.”3

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1 Graham A. Cole, God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 184.
2 N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 447.
3 Cole, God the Peacemaker, 184.

Posts in this Series:
Introduction
Peace (shalom) in the Old Testament
Created in Peace and the Consequence of Sin
The Gospel of Peace and the Death of Jesus Christ
Peace with God
Peace Within
Peace with Others
Peace in Creation and the Cosmos
Excursus – Is Peace an Attribute of God?
Called to Be Peacemakers

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Peace with Others

Jesus Christ not only brings us peace with God and peace within our hearts, he also brings us peace with others because by his death he tears down all walls that divide and separate. God shows no partiality and removes all grounds of boasting before him so that we all stand before him on the same footing. Jesus brings peace between people.1

This is most clearly demonstrated in Ephesians 2. Paul is speaking of Jews and Gentiles, who have been separated by Jewish law since the time of Abraham. But by the blood of the cross Jesus brings them together so that they are no longer two separate peoples, but one new people of God.

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph 2:11-14).

The Gentiles were separate from Christ and alienated to Israel. They were outsiders and were actually hated by Jewish people. A common insult among Israelites was to call someone a Gentile. When Jesus spoke of church discipline he said that if someone refuses to listen to the church in order to be reconciled then he should be cast out of the church and be to them “as a Gentile and tax-collector” (Matt 18:17). Their alienation was complete alienation. Jews sought to keep them as far away as possible.

Jesus changed all that, for he has taken the Gentiles and brought them near by his blood (Eph 2:13). Why did Christ do this? “For he himself is our peace” (v. 14). It was Christ’s nature to reconcile hostile peoples. And it was his purpose. By his death and resurrection he has brought them together into one person.

He makes peace by removing all possibility of boasting. The Jew cannot say his law-keeping or his race has made him acceptable to God. The Gentile cannot say his wisdom brought him near to God. Both are brought to God by the same means – the cross of Jesus Christ. Both stand before God accepted because of what someone else did. Both have peace purely by grace alone.2

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1 Matthew 10:34-36 must also be acknowledged. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” This text is talking primarily about the cost of following Jesus and the inevitable conflict that will arise as different people in the same family hold different allegiances. Therefore it does not contradict Jesus’ purpose as a peacemaker. Jesus specifically ties it to loving him more than we love our families and the need to take up our cross to follow him (see vv. 37-38). Following Jesus does not keep us from hostility, it actually puts us in the path of hostility. It is this reality that makes the command to love our enemy all the more important.
“The way to peace is not the way of avoidance of conflict, and Jesus will be continuously engaged in robust controversy…his whole experience will be the opposite of a ‘peaceful’ way of life. His followers can expect no less, and their mission to establish God’s peaceful rule can be accomplished only by sharing his experience of conflict” (R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew [NICNT; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007], 408).
2 John Frame also sees peacemaking between peoples implied in Paul’s blessing of grace and peace at the beginning of each of his letters. “Grace (charis) resembles a Greek greeting; peace (eirēnē) is the equivalent of the Hebrew shalom. So these terms summarize the benefits of salvation and also welcome both Greeks and Jews who believe in Jesus” (Frame, The Doctrine of God, 650).

Posts in this Series:
Introduction
Peace (shalom) in the Old Testament
Created in Peace and the Consequence of Sin
The Gospel of Peace and the Death of Jesus Christ
Peace with God
Peace Within
Peace with Others
Peace in Creation and the Cosmos
Excursus – Is Peace an Attribute of God?
Called to Be Peacemakers

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