Peace – A matter of choice
Finding peace in Christ: this is the goal of faith. But what comprises this peace? And how does one attain it? At times we must even fight for it. This is part of the answer from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
The Bible passage that served as the basis for the divine service in Schaffhausen-Neuhausen on 15 March 2015 was taken from Colossians 3: 15: "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained this passage in detail by breaking it down into three main aspects:
"The peace of Christ"—reconciled with God forever
What is the peace of Christ? "Paul states that Jesus is our peace because He has reconciled us human beings with God through His sacrifice," said the Chief Apostle with a reference to Ephesians 2: 14-16. "However, the peace of Christ is also the peace that Jesus had while He was on this earth. He had peace in His heart because He knew: 'My Father loves Me.'"
He went on to note that this inner certainty led to a further kind of peace: "Jesus was absolutely sure about how His life would end." The Chief Apostle then referenced the words of John 16: 28: "I came forth from the Father and [...] go to the Father." It is into this eternal fellowship with God that Christ also desires to lead all human beings.
"Jesus also repeatedly made peace between human beings." To illustrate this, Chief Apostle Schneider referred to two examples: the judgement He pronounced over the adulteress in John 8 ("He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first" — which quickly established peace) and the argument of the disciples about who would be the greatest among them, as recorded in Luke 22 ("He instructed them to be humble").
Let peace "rule in your hearts" — putting the word into practice
How can the peace of Christ rule in our hearts? "In modern language, this means that peace is to define our actions," explained Chief Apostle Schneider. "Again and again we must make the decision: 'I will put the word of God into practice,'" said the Chief Apostle in reference to Jesus' words in John 14: 23: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word."
"Those who want to keep the peace of Christ will have to battle against evil to the very end," he explained. "If I fight with Christ on my side, I will win! But I must fight."
"We strive for peace with all human beings." This too is a matter of choice: "Let us do our part to bring about peace," he appealed to the congregation. "Let us decide: 'I want to forgive. I want to reconcile. I want to be humble.'"
"In one body" — as part of the church of Christ
"Here the body is an image for the church of Christ," explained the Chief Apostle. "The individual members of the body do not receive their nourishment directly! The individual members of the body only receive the strength they need through the body. — And we can only experience the true peace of Christ through the body, that is, in the church of the Lord.“
"It is there that we receive the word of God. Where the Apostles are active we can receive the Lord's Supper, which contains the strength we need," he emphasized. "We must all fight our battle. And who among us could maintain that we could manage this alone? We need one another. The congregation is there for one another. They are in it together."
"We believe in the first resurrection. This means that the Lord will come and take one people—one congregation comprised of the faithful both here and in the beyond—unto Himself," stated Chief Apostle Schneider: "And even this peace of Christ we will only receive in the one body of Christ. Only those who are part of this body will receive it. Then we will have eternal peace in Christ."