War is rampant on the earth, and where there is no war, societies are filled with civil and political strife. Yet the believers in Christ may echo the Lord’s own proclamation of peace to a world in conflict—a peace that anyone can experience, a peace that can descend upon any situation, a peace that is beyond human understanding.
This peace does not come from victory in war; it does not come from new legislation or judicial action; and it will not arise from demonstrations, protests, or from the ascendancy of any political ideology.
This peace is Christ Himself.
“For He Himself [Christ] is our peace, who has made us both [the Jews and the Gentiles] one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility 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, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:14-17)
In Old Testament times, God’s chosen people, the Jews, lived separately from all other races (which they referred to as Gentiles). This separation was effected by “the law of commandments expressed in ordinances,” that is, the Jewish ceremonial law. The separation created by the law was so strong that a Gentile might express surprise at being spoken to by a Jew (John 4:9) or, as Peter phrased it in Acts 10:28, “You understand that it is unlawful for a man who is a Jew to join himself to or come near one of another race.” This was the case, but Peter continues—“…yet God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
At the dawn of the New Testament age, through the shedding of the blood of Jesus on the cross, the wall—the separation between Jews and Gentiles—came down; Jesus abolished the separating ordinances on the cross.
Now, He Himself is our peace, and as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17) the Lord has come to all mankind to proclaim this peace!
Translating more literally, one version of Ephesians 2:17 says, “And coming, He announced peace as the gospel to you who were far off [the Gentiles] and peace to those who were near [the Jews].” May all the believers realize and treasure the fact that we have what the world seeks—Christ proclaimed peace as the gospel!
The New Man
Ephesians 2:15 tells us that Christ created “one new man,” joining together the Jew and the Gentiles.
In Colossians 3:10-11, the apostle Paul expands our understanding of this new man. In the new man, that is, in Christ, “there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11).
What is implied here is more than just oneness in Christ—what is implied is that the separating ordinances abolished by Christ on the cross include the myriad differences that divide people from one another: things like race [“Greek and Jew”], religion [“circumcised and uncircumcised”], culture [“barbarian, Scythian”], and social status [“slave, free”]. Jesus Christ has abolished all the differences!
When the believers allow the peace of Christ to rule—to arbitrate, preside, or referee—in their hearts (Col. 3:15), they are kept in sweet oneness with one another. No earthly accord can compare to this peace. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psa. 133:1).
According to Ephesians 6:15, this gospel of peace is a firm foundation for the believers to wear as shoes on their feet, that they may stand in this evil day (v. 13). Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us echo the Lord’s proclamation by preaching Him as peace to all mankind!
If you are not yet a Christian, it is not hard to receive Christ as peace. Simply pray aloud: “Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I am a sinner. I believe that You died on the cross that I might be forgiven and cleansed, that You have been raised from the dead, and have come to proclaim peace. I’m weary of all the conflict in the world and within myself. I open right now to receive You as my Peace. Come in and fill me with the peace that surpasses understanding. Amen.”