“It is not possible to have the Peace OF God without Peace WITH God.”
The second Sunday of Advent, like each of the Sundays in Advent, has a traditional theme. We focused on hope last week. This week our focus is about preparing in peaceful way for the coming of the Lord. To make his path straight in perfect harmony begins with you and I especially in a world where there seems to be very little peace. Advent as a journey, a reminder, and a return to the horizon of ultimate hope in life is about a peaceful hope in relation to something new that God has done for the ultimate peace in the world. God sent Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace to deal with the divisions, wars, corruption, discrimination, pride, and violence in the world bearing in mind that ‘the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23). The Good News is that, God is not interested in the death of sinner.
In an age when the term peace has been clearly connected with the absence of war, the Old Testament usage of peace which is “Shalom” means so much more than the absence of conflict or turmoil. The word Shalom points to harmony and completeness. Shalom, the peace that Jesus brings qualifies him as The Prince of Peace. Jesus brings peace between you and l, and God. Peace with God determines our peace of God. Peace of God is not determine by money or position or any other cultural examples of false or stimulated peace. The world cannot give peace. Only God can give us peace.
Example of peace Of God and peace WITH God started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden but the moment they disobeyed God, they lost the peace of God because they lost peace with God. The reflection is that nations, individuals, communities and churches ‘because of sin in our lives has a problem with God.’ The truth is that, there are wages for our corruption, wars, divisions, greed, pride, and violence just as there are wages, penalties when we break the red light or any government laws. The Bible says, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Is 59:2). The truth is that God wants us to follow His rules and commands hence, we sin when we do things He does not like according to His Word. Sin is deadly. Sin is a killer. Sin creates barriers. Sin promotes war and divisions. When we sin, we become short of God’s glory. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they created a barrier between themselves and God, like wise today, when we disobey God as a nation or individuals or churches, we create a barrier between ourselves and God. According to Romans 5:10, because of sin, we are in lost and sinful condition and refers to as the “enemies of God.”
Just as ‘all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way,’ Advent reminds us that the Lord GOD has laid on Jesus Christ the iniquity of us all (Is 53:6). Advent prepares us for Peace Of God and Peace With God because ‘before we can have peace with God, something must be done about the sin in our lives.’ Advent summons us to return to God in repentance in expectation of the Prince of Peace, who paid the wages of our sin by dying on the cross thereby granting us peace of God and peace with God. The reflection is that no amount of human peaceful reconciliation and commission can see the light of the day without peace WITH God. The peace of man without the man WITH peace of God is vanity. The knowledge of the truth and essence of Advent warns and invites us to seek peace with God and according to Hebrews 10, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people” (vs 26-31)
Beloved, Advent is about peaceful journey with God. It is the peace of God which surpasses all human and scientific understanding that can guard human hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Jesus is our peace and if we want peace to rule in our lives, He must rule in our lives. The plan and purpose of God is not to give us peace separate from Himself. Remember, ‘a heart bent on showing the glory of God, will know the peace of God.’