Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Living By Grace: Part II

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
What is peace?
Many ideas exist concerning its nature:


“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliche that must have been left behind in the 60s, that's a problem. Peace and love are eternal.” (John Lennon)

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” (Eckhart Tolle) 

And finally, the dictionary definition of peace of says: 


"a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors."

So what is the truth? What is peace?

The book of Titus focuses on how God's gospel of grace leads to good works. In studying this book for the past month, I was struck firstly by how the key to living in God's grace is through submission to Christ. Our Christian lives are lived in vain if they are without a humble submission to His lordship. There, and only there, do we follow the example of Jesus Christ, who humbly submitted Himself to the Father's will. He went to the cross for our sins, obediently and willingly, never exalting Himself or demanding His rights (which He fully deserved).

Here, we find the source of peace.

We see it in the opening of the letter (Titus 1:1-4), when Paul writes:


"Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior" (v.4).

I love how very clear Paul is!

The world searches for peace in a multitude of ways. The quotations above relate peace to understanding, to eternity and to self-actualization. Other ways I have heard peace spoken of is circumstantially and emotionally. Have you ever heard similar phrase to these?


"I felt a lot of peace over that decision."
"I was totally alone in the woods, and it was so peaceful."
"No matter where I go, I just can't seem to find peace." 

But is peace really any of these things? (I'm talking to myself here, because I have used similar statements in referring to peace.) A striking truth gleaned from the opening of Titus is that Christ is our peace. 

True peace results from the perfect reconciling of our lives to God through Christ: 


"For in [Christ] 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).

True peace means "that which has been bound together again after having been separated." We are united to our Father "in his body of flesh by his death" on the cross (Colossians 1:22). Peace is found in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, through God's miraculous saving grace. 

Yet, isn't it a known fact that sometimes peace seems absent? The difficulty for us is that we still live in the "now, but not yet". Yes, Christ is our peace--but we are still being perfected in peace. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and while we never lose Christ, we can quench the Spirit. Sin can steal our peace. How we yearn for the day when sin will be defeated in totality.

But for now, praise God that He has adopted believers as His children, making peace by the blood of the cross of Christ. This world is not our final stop! Jesus will perfect the heavenly work that God began in us. So may Christ, our true peace, rule in our hearts, from now unto eternity.

What would it look like to trust Christ today as your Prince of Peace? 

Prince of Peace, Thank you that we know true peace in You! Your love runs so deeply for us, and we thank you for the cross--what it means for our eternity with You and our every day. Open our eyes to the truth that You are our peace, and help us to walk by the Spirit. You are steadfast and faithful!

Amen. 

Take a listen to "It Is Well With My Soul". May we be able to proclaim this today, in each and every moment, because we have been united to the Prince of Peace. How does Christ's peace strengthen you today? Leave a comment and share with us!

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