[878호 15면, 발행일 : 2018년 5월 2일(수)]
Mankind has never known peace for a long time. Peace is not the absence of war. Peace is not avoiding a fight. Peace is not found in the stillness of a mountain meadow, or a hot soothing bath, or new age music playing while you drink your tea or Latte. Nations that have been at odds with one another, have long talked about peace. When can they have peace? How can they have peace? Many peace treaties that have been devised have not been kept. In man there is no peace; and here is why. It is because man has never been at peace with God, and if there is no peace with God, then there can be no peace in the soul. Man was made to worship his Creator, and when he rejects his Creator and goes his own way, then he also rejects peace. So how do we reconcile this angel’s announcement of peace? I think the starting place, is to have an understanding of what is really being said here in Luke 2:14. Our first clue is found back in verse 12. “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Our first clue is that God’s glory and man’s peace rests in that manger. The angels are saying that through the birth of Christ, true peace will come to the earth. His coming means peace with God, and peace given by God through Christ. It is an announcement that true and lasting peace will come to those who are redeemed in Christ. For those who are not in Him, their lives remain in a state of disorder and strife. Who are “those on whom his favor rests”? Here we have a bit of a mystery. If the message is only to a certain group, then the message of salvation is not for all. So, we need to look deeper into this phrase. Many translations fall short of the proper meaning but I like Norval Geldenhuys Commentary on Luke. Geldenhuys feels the most accurate translation would be, “on earth peace, among men who are the objects of His pleasure”. I tend to agree with him, because this phrase lines up best Biblically.
Let’s look at the phrase, “the objects of His pleasure”. Who or what is the object of someone’s pleasure? Well, the object of your pleasure, is the one(s) or the thing that gives you pleasure to serve. If you love someone with an unselfish love, they are the object of your pleasure. I love my wife and my children and it gives me great pleasure to do things for them; to provide for them; to protect them. True, sacrificial love issues in nobility. Nobility flows naturally from one’s love. When a man loves his country, nobility manifests itself in his willingness to serve his country; in war and in other duties. When a person loves another person, that love is expressed in noble acts of servitude and sacrifice. Love takes pleasure in that service, and even in that sacrifice. God’s love for us is expressed in His pleasure to pour out blessings upon us. We are not deserving, but His pleasure is not in our worthiness, but the fulfilling of His desire toward us. The angel could not have been announcing that peace had come to the earth. Because all we have to do is read about Herod’s slaughter of baby boys, the flight of Jesus and His parents into Egypt, the arrest and beheading of John the Baptist, as well as the numerous confrontations that Jesus had with the Pharisees. In reading this we know that peace did not come to the earth that night.
So where does the peace come from?
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Peace is NOT by any merit of our own, but entirely by God’s grace. The gospel is not something which we add to our lives, it is rather, something which should entirely dominate our lives. God made the way for you to have peace WITH Him, through faith. We can enjoy the peace OF God in our daily walk, as we walk in obedience. Have any of you ever been to New York city? If you have not, I would suggest that you go to the RCA Building on Fifth Avenue. In the entrance of that building is a gigantic statue of Atlas. You may have seen it in pictures. He is a beautifully proportioned man who, with all his muscles straining, is holding the world upon his shoulders. There he is, the most powerfully built man in the world, and he can barely stand up under this burden. He is trying to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders.
Next if you were to go across the street on the other side of Fifth Avenue you can come to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. If you were to go in and there behind the high altar is a little shrine of the boy Jesus. Perhaps Jesus is eight or nine years old, and with no effort he is holding the world in one hand. My point was illustrated graphically. We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, ’I give you my world Lord.” Having peace WITH God is so simple that many miss it. It comes totally from God and none from us. It comes simply by faith in Christ and His resurrection. This is what Paul called Justification. Right standing. Peace with God.
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