“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34
“If our Gospel were received in peace, it wouldn't be the true Gospel.” - Martin Luther
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the God of peace. Your peace is a gift, and it comes by grace through faith in Your beloved Son, Jesus, who took the full penalty on the cross for my sins, saved me from the eternal wrath I deserve, and granted me eternal life in Him. When I think about this truth, it just continues to stagger the imagination. Every day I find myself shaking my head in awe at what Jesus did for me. My God died for me. I have no words to express my gratitude except to say, Praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! All glory belongs to You forever and ever!
All is well with my soul because I trust in Jesus as my Savior, and because I trust Him, I submit to Him as my Lord. For by grace I have been saved. His saving grace fills me with the peace that surpasses all understanding and guards my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). He is my peace and joy, and everything in this world pales in comparison to Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
The Prince of Peace
One of the many names Jesus was known by was The Prince of Peace. Verses like John 14:27, John 16:33, Ephesians 2:14, and Colossians 3:15 talk about how peace comes from Jesus. By God’s grace, those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus are gifted eternal life, which produces a supernatural peace. This type of peace is the peace between man and God; the peace that surpasses all understanding. Those who are justified by faith and are in right standing with God, have peace with God. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
On the contrary, those who reject the gospel and the gift of eternal life through Christ will continually find themselves at war with God. People who reject Jesus may have a false sense of peace through their own deception, but they do not have any true peace. However, deep down in their souls, they cry out to God because He has put eternity into their hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God created us with the innate desire to live forever. No one wants to die.
Not Peace, But a Sword
What did Jesus mean when He said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). A sword is something that cuts and divides. Jesus meant that there will be division in the world because of Him. In Luke, He says, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division (Luke 12:51). This means there will be conflict and division between truth and lies, good and evil, light and dark, children of God who believe in Jesus, and children of Satan who reject Jesus. Although there will be a division in this world that comes from believing in Christ, (especially when we boldly proclaim His truth and share the gospel), we as believers should seek to be at peace with all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18).
Seeking to be at peace with all men doesn’t mean we stop sharing the gospel because of the hostility it brings. As believers, we are never to compromise the Truth for the sake of "keeping the peace" or for unity. However, we are called to be discerning and know when to shake the dust off our feet when sharing the gospel. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town (Matthew 10:13-14). We are never to continue sharing the free gift of eternal life with someone who refuses to receive something so glorious. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs (Matthew 7:6). If we do, God's judgment on that person only increases, as the more truth we are given, the more responsibility we have towards it. To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48).
The World Loves Darkness
We also must remember that Jesus warns us that we will be hated for His sake. “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you (John 15:18-19). It shouldn't come as any surprise that at times when we share the gospel, we will be reviled or hated for it.
Many people in the world coexist peacefully and get along just fine with self-professing Christians. That's because most self-professing Christians don't tell people about the truth in Jesus or the truth about hell to those who don't believe in Him. They don't tell people about their sins and their need to repent and believe in the gospel. They don't warn people of the dangers of hell at all, which is one of the most loving and selfless things we could do, however uncomfortable it may be. Instead, many so-called Christians just blend right in with the rest of the unbelieving world so there is no clear division between light and dark. Most self-professing Christians still want to be friends with the world, which is enmity with God (James 4:4). Many self-professing Christians want to be liked, admired, and thought highly of. Therefore, to obtain that status, they don't share what will divide them from everyone else - the Truth. Jesus said, Woe to you when all the people speak well of you; for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way (Luke 6:26). It's when Christians start boldly proclaiming the Truth out loud that we begin to experience the division Jesus talks about. Persecution shows the true converts from the false ones. And suffering for Jesus' sake is one way that gives believers assurance of their salvation.
We Are the Aroma of Christ
The light we carry as believers either attracts or repels people. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). All those who reject and hate the light and truth that is in Jesus, also reject and hate His messengers who carry it. That’s because the Truth is light, and those who live in darkness are disturbed by those who carry the light. The Truth sheds light on their evil deeds that are done in darkness, and people hate to be exposed. Conflict and division will inevitably occur when we shine the light of the gospel in dark places.
For God So Loved The World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:16-21). It's the world's love of the darkness that brings judgment on them in the end.
Jesus warns us that this division arises within families too. As a result, some children will be set against their own parents or brothers and sisters. A person’s enemies may be from their own household. This is at times part of the cost of true discipleship. We should never choose family over Christ. If we are faced with the painful choice of loyalty to family over loyalty to Jesus, we must always choose Jesus. Even if our family disowns us for being Christian, we must choose to follow Christ instead of forsaking Christ to be accepted by our family. To read more about true discipleship, check out my blog, Counting the Costs.
An Audience of One
Lord, although proclaiming Your Truth in this dark and deceived world will cause people to think I'm weird and "super religious," or avoid me, gossip about me, unfriend me on social media, or even hate me, help me boldly proclaim it anyways. Help me be loving enough to warn people of the dangers of hell and point them to the only One who can save them – Jesus. By Your grace, help me stand fearlessly on biblical truth and speak the Truth in gentleness, patience, and love, not caring what the world thinks of me. Lord, help me live for an audience of One and only care about what You think of me. May I live to please You and glorify You in all that I think, say, and do. Although I know I will stumble, the Holy Spirit will keep me from falling away and He will gently convict me when I sin and guide me back to You. Help me to live for You 24-7-365. Help me grow in my relationship with You through reading and hearing Your Word. Sanctify them by the truth. Your Word is truth (John 17:17).
"If you please God, it doesn't matter whom you displease. And if you displease God, it doesn't matter whom you please." ~Steven Lawson.
All glory belongs to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! In Jesus’ Name, I pray amen.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility Ephesians 2:14
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15