Tag Archives: Peace

Forgiveness

Relationship issues are on the increase these days. There are clashes, wars and brutal killings demonstrating hatred among people. Family ties, the strongest of relationships, are also deteriorating. Everyone wants to get even with those who have offended them. It gets worse between communities. Peace negotiations and treaties between communities can only remain on paper because nobody is  willing to forgive the other.

Unforgiveness could turn out to be a health hazard. The Lord Jesus taught us to forgive others, even our enemies. The Bible says that God forgives any sinner who admits his sinfulness and reaches out to God for mercy. Those who have received forgiveness from God should be willing to forgive others. Jesus illustrated this through the story of an unforgiving servant recorded in Matthew 18.

A servant who owed a huge amount pleaded for mercy and his master cancelled his debt. He could never have paid back that amount during his life time. Even though he had received such mercy he was unwilling to forgive someone who owed him a meagre amount. He took legal action against that debtor. This made the master very angry. He summoned the servant and gave him what he deserved.

It may not be easy to forgive someone who has hurt you very deeply. But that is what we are commanded to do. Jesus was responding to Peter’s question as He narrated the above story recorded in Matthew 18.

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Mt.18:21 NLT)

God in His mercy has cancelled our debt. We have received the forgiveness of our sins. We need to forgive others as well. Is there someone who has offended you? Are you keeping that score
and waiting for a chance to repay? May be you are bitter towards that person even though you are not planning to take revenge. Why not forgive that person today, deliber.ately and consciously.

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Starting Right

The Bible says that God created us in His image, with the ability to think, relate and choose. He wants us to have unhindered relationship and constant communion with Him.

Broken Relationship

But sin has separated us from God. We try in vain to please God through our charity, piety and religious rituals. The Bible says that no one is made right with God through his/her own efforts. God’s justice is far beyond our reach, so no one can satisfy it and justify himself before God. Hence, God in His love offers a way for us to reconcile with Him through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus who paid the price for our sins. Thus God has made Jesus the only Saviour of His creation.

Reconciliation

All those who believe what Jesus has accomplished through His death on the cross and accept Him as their Saviour, Lord and God will be reconciled with God. God will forgive their sins and accept them as His children. This is called regeneration or a new birth. Jesus will live in them and remain with them for ever. This is the assurance of the Bible. One who has made such a decision is a Christian. The Bible makes it clear that no one is born as a Christian, but has to be born again.

New Life

The Christian life, according to the Bible, is a new life. As we continue to yield to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, our attitudes, thoughts, words and actions will be renewed by the Spirit of God. God our heavenly Father loves to commune with us and reveal His plans for us. This is understood by regular study of God’s Word, prayer and fellowship with other Christians.

Apostles, Messengers and Workers

Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. Don’t take along a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals. And don’t waste time greeting people on the road. As soon as you enter a home, say, “God bless this home with peace.” If the people living there are peace-loving, your prayer for peace will bless them. But if they are not peace-loving, your prayer will return to you. (Luke 10:3-6 CEV)

These days, Christian ministers and workers are competing to establish their influence and popularity among the masses. The Largest church in town, the fastest growing church, and what not. They enrich their people so much that they are spiritually obese and become so cult-like, almost worshiping their leader. They become so closed to the people of the world. There are some who take up on themselves big titles, like Apostle, Patriarch, Bishop, and so on, to show their superiority. But Jesus tells us to forget about ourselves and labor for His kingdom.

Pray for Workers, but you too go

Jesus before commissioning His disciples told them to pray for more laborers to do the harvesting. There is always a scarcity of laborers in His field. The Lord of the harvest has to commission more laborers into His field before the crops are lost. Then He sends us to do our part. Because the harvest is too large for a few churches or denominations or organizations can handle.

Don’t worry about your needs or future

He tells specifically not to carry any money, personal goods or items of comfort when you are out in the field. This is a little difficult for us to digest, but the principle is that God will take care of you and your needs. ‘Seek first His kingdom…and all these things will be given’ is the promise of the Master. But how often we try to secure our own position and our future forgetting the fact that it is He who holds our lives and our future?

He has made it pretty clear that He is sending us like sheep into a pack of wolves. And yet tells us we need not be concerned about our maintenance or safety, because He will take care of that.

Announce God’s peace, proclaim God’s kingdom

Don’t waste time on they way greeting and entertaining others but go straight into your business. Announce God’s peace up on the family and people you meet and tell them about the kingdom that is so near so that they can enter in. As you give the message, heal their sick and exhibit the love, compassion and the power of the King who sent you. You are the messengers of God’s peace. God’s peace will rest on those who welcome it and will leave those who reject it.

Accept hospitality

Wherever you are welcomed, minister to the people there, accept their hospitality. The worker deserves his wages. God provides through His people who are willing to share.

In doing the ministry we are workers and servants of the King, carrying the message of the kingdom and sent out with the King’s authority. The least among us will be the greatest in the kingdom.

Peace-Maker

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life. (Rom.5:1-11)

People the world over are seeking peace. Rebels are fighting and Governments are negotiating for peace. Even the terrorists claim that they are in the struggle for global peace. Unfortunately, none of these people know peace. But in the midst of all these turmoil there is a group that enjoy the real peace because they have discovered the source of peace.

Peace with God

The Bible reveals that a sinner, whether he agrees or not, is an enemy of God. Jesus came as God’s initiative to reconcile the sinner with God. Through faith in Jesus one can make peace with God. He is the “Prince of peace”, the real peace-maker. There can be no real peace in the world unless this Prince of peace reigns in the hearts and lives of people. Without individually making peace with God and finding peace within one’s own self there can never be peace among people. Religions, philosophies and governments are at a loss here.

Peace With People

Jesus alone can reconcile a sinful man with God. By faith in Christ Jesus I can experience this peace. No one else can give this peace or take it away from me. All those who have experienced this peace are given the mission of promoting this real peace. We are called to be peace agents in a strife-torn world.

As we are drawing near to the return of the Lord for His church, we see more and more unrest. There are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and natural disasters at never before frequency, and increasing hatred among people groups. Religion is against religion and nation against nation, as foretold by the Bible. Immediately after the rapture of the Church, the Antichrist will appear as the trouble shooter, offering a false peace and deceiving those left behind.

Uniqueness of the Christian Faith

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Rom.5:1-5)

Christian faith is unique in its offering of a specific means to get right with the Almighty God, who is absolutely holy and perfect. We cannot expect such an awesome God to be pleased with our worship unless He has made us acceptable to Himself. Our utmost stringent observance of rituals, prayers, fasts, pilgrimages and almsgiving cannot qualify us to be accepted in God’s presence.

It establishes Peace with God through Reconciliation

The Bible reveals that God initiated the act of reconciliation between Himself and mankind while we were still rebellious. We never initiated it, we never could. It has to originate from unconditional love which God alone possess. In fact the Bible reminds us that God is love. God initiated reconciliation and invites us to be in right relationship with Him, as Father and children. Since God has shown us the example we need to initiate reconciliation with one another. The Holy Spirit extends His help by filling our hearts with the unconditional love of God. Without having ‘peace with God’ it is impossible to have lasting peace ‘with one another’. Thus peace with God and with fellow beings does not just remain a theory in Christian faith.

It emanates unfailing Hope through Suffering

This is one of the so called ‘paradoxes’ of the Christian faith in the eyes of the world. The Bible states that it is by dying that you live, it is by giving that you receive, and it is by choosing to be humiliated that you will be exalted. There can be no crown without the cross and no glory without the groaning. Suffering develops endurance, endurance builds Godly character, and character brings unwavering hope! Suffering is the way God perfects His people and prepares them for sharing in His eternal glory.

God’s (unconditional) LOVE brings (indestructible) PEACE which in turn produces (unending) JOY. This is what we need, the world needs!