SEPTEMBER 11

God’s Peace Plan

Bible Reading: Colossians 1:19-23

Colossians 1:19-23, “For in him 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.”

Any watcher of the news knows we live perilous times.  Wars and rumors of wars are in the headlines, whether it be Russian vs. Ukraine, China vs. Taiwan, or Iran vs. Israel and its neighbors.  How can we find security and peace amidst so much uncertainty? Where is it all headed?  It’s helpful to remind ourselves we live in a broken, sin-cursed world.  Cain killed Abel and mankind has been warring with each other ever since.  History is littered with countless such battles. 

In 1965, U Thant, the secretary of the UN asked this question: “What element is lacking so that with all our skill and all our knowledge we still find ourselves in the dark valley of discord and enmity?  What is it that inhibits us from going forward together to enjoy the fruits of human endeavor and to reap the harvest of human experience?  Why is it that, for all our professed ideals, our hopes, and our skills, peace on earth is still a distant objective seen only dimly through the storms and turmoil of our present difficulties?”

What element is so lacking?  Underlying humanity’s discord and enmity is the long war against God.  No war has lasted longer, or involved more people, as every son and daughter of Adam has been devil-drafted to fight in that unwinnable conflict.  Left to ourselves and our own devices, there’d be no hope for resolution.

Christ has worked through the cross to do what we cannot do, making peace with rebel sinners through the blood of the cross.  The term translated peace speaks not just to the absence of conflict, but to a situation in which two parties are brought together in a harmonious relationship.  Christ fought sin, “killing the hostility,” to bring us to God (Ephesians 2:16; 1 Peter 3:18).  “He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).  He has availed to us His peace.  His admonition stands, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

Not only has Christ worked to reconcile to Himself those who believe, he has worked to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven?”  Some have taken this verse to mean God is going to save everyone, yet we know from the clear teaching of other Scripture passages this cannot be true.  For example, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 speaks of two differing destinies for two differing groups of people, one to eternal destruction and the other to the glory of heaven.  So, what does our text mean?  Reconciliation here can be compared to what we do when we reconcile our check books.  We add up all the deposits, then add up all the withdrawals, then subtract the one from the other to reconcile the balance, until no deposit or withdrawal is left unaccounted for.  Likewise, Christ’s triumph on the cross has vanquished all His foes (Colossians 2:15).  God “has put all things under his feet” (Ephesians 1:22).  The day will come when “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11). 

For 29 years after the conflict had ended, the Imperial Japanese Army, having surrendered to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri, Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda hid out in the Philippine jungles and continued waging a war which was long over with.  In the same way, enemies of Christ keep fighting and they will, until He returns.  But take heart, fellow believer, Christ has already triumphed and His victory is yours too!  “Christ always leads us in triumphal procession” (2 Corinthians 2:14)!

JESUS, I AM RESTING, RESTING

Jesus, I am resting, resting
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
as thy beauty fills my soul,
for by thy transforming power,
thou hast made me whole.

Refrain:
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.

O how great thy lovingkindness,
vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvelous thy goodness
lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved,
know what wealth of grace is thine,
know thy certainty of promise
and have made it mine. [Refrain]

Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold thee as thou art,
and thy love, so pure, so changeless,
satisfies my heart;
satisfies its deepest longings,
meets, supplies its ev’ry need,
compasseth me round with blessings:
thine is love indeed. [Refrain]

Ever lift thy face upon me
as I work and wait for thee;
resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
sunshine of my Father’s face,
keep me ever trusting, resting,
fill me with thy grace. [Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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