God calls followers of Christ to live in peace. That is, since we are made to be at peace with God through the saving work of Jesus, we have a gospel obligation to be pursuers of peace. As we learned last Sunday, this peace is not a subjective feeling, but an objective reality (Romans 5:1-5). Those who are in Christ are no longer enemies of God, but are justified by the grace made available through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, Ephesians 2:14 says, For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. In the context, this has to do with the fact that Jews and Gentiles must come to God the same way—through Jesus the Messiah. Instead of having separate churches, Jesus-following Jews and saved Gentiles should worship the Savior together. Ethnic unity within the church is rooted in Jesus being our peace. But Jesus being “our peace,” as the apostle says, also has massive implications for our personal relationships with one another.
Since Jesus brought us near to God; we must pursue peace with one another. Since the Prince of Peace has done all that was necessary to reconcile us to God, we are commanded to do everything in our power to maintain peace with one another. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” Jesus taught (Matt. 5:9).
This aspect of graciousness is one key evidence that you have been made new by the Holy Spirit. This peace is a characteristic of Christ-likeness. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Professing Christians who dig in their heels by refusing to forgive others, and being unwilling to be reconciled, have displayed the true condition of their heart. Their words profess saving faith in Christ, but their actions betray them.
What, then, does the fruit of the Spirit look like in the arena of peace? What does it look like to be more and more like Christ who is our peace? In Romans 12:16-21, the apostle answers these questions by giving three admonitions.
- Replace pride with humility (v. 16).
- Resolve conflict as soon as possible (v. 18).
- Repay evil with good (vv. 17, 19-21).
We are called to bear the fruit of peace. This is what Jesus and the apostles teach. This is the way; the way of the gospel. This is also the way of wisdom.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.James 3:17-18
Do you want to reap a harvest of righteousness? Then sow peace. Be one of those who make peace. — Watch or listen to the sermon.