Peace offerings: human, divine, perfect
Everyone wants peace—but which peace, exactly? The peace Jesus left mankind or the peace which He gave mankind? Here is what we need to do so that the tender shoots can grow and bear fruit: care instructions from a divine service.
“This is actually a strange sentence,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said on 8 July 2018 in Moscow (Russia) after he read the Bible text to the congregation: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14: 27).
“As a matter of fact, Jesus is referring to two different kinds of peace here,” he explained. “Peace I leave with you” refers to the human approach to peace. “Whereas ‘My peace I give to you’ is a reference to His peace, the peace of God.”
The way to human peace
The Chief Apostle identified three aspects of human peace.
- peace in society: when people live together in harmony, without any conflicts.
- personal peace: an even-tempered nature, inner harmony, the absence of fear.
“The Lord left this peace to us. That is, He left it up to us,” the Chief Apostle said. “We are responsible for this peace. Every single human being is responsible for it, as is society as a whole.”
How peace is created.
- “If people want peace, they must make rules and everyone must follow them.”
- “Where there is injustice there can be no lasting peace. Peace is only possible if everyone’s needs are taken into account.”
- “There must be a certain amount of tolerance. One must accept that others are different.”
God loves human beings, which is why He offers us His help. “God has given mankind the Ten Commandments, not in order to restrict their freedom, but as a base on which to build peace,” the Chief Apostle said. He went on to say that in His love, Jesus has given a very simple rule. The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
On another level
If people build on this foundation, they can have peace. But this peace cannot be perfect.
- Human peace is always imperfect because human beings are imperfect. The evil we do not want to do we keep on doing.
- We still live under the dominion of the evil one. There is suffering, there are illnesses, and there is pain. Death is still there.”
- Even if we make every effort, we cannot force our neighbour to live in peace with us. If he does not want to, that is really too bad.
“But then Jesus says: ‘My peace I give to you,’” Chief Apostle Schneider made clear. “That is on a completely different level. Here we are talking about the relationship between God and man.” This peace consists of an undisturbed relationship to God and is the condition that ultimately leads to eternal fellowship with Him.
Ways to divine peace
“We cannot establish this peace ourselves. It is a gift of God to those who believe in Jesus Christ,” the Chief Apostle said.
- “Thanks to Christ’s sacrifice man’s relationship with God was restored. If we believe in Him, God can wash away original sin.”
- “Through forgiveness of sins, Jesus erases our debt towards God and grants us peace with God.”
- “The certainty: the Father loves me, He is with me, nothing can happen to me, I trust my God is peace and it is a gift of God.”
“Of course we have to do our share,” the Chief Apostle pointed out. “This peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. God gives us the Holy Spirit, but we must work with Him and allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit.”
- The Holy Spirit teaches us what sin is. And He tells us constantly, “You need grace. Acknowledge your sins, repent, and pray for forgiveness.”
- The Holy Spirit tells us, “Don’t be afraid, Jesus triumphed over the world. Trust your Father. He will provide for you.”
- The Holy Spirit tells us, “God loves you, He will not abandon you. God is always with those who are obedient.”
- When we go through trials and do not understand God, the Holy Spirit tells us, “If you pray, ‘Your will be done,’ then you will really have peace.”
- The Holy Spirit says, “You are all members of the same body, even if you are completely different.” This is how peace is established in the congregation.
Following Christ by no means guarantees a peaceful life. “Whoever follows Jesus Christ will be subject to temptation. They must be prepared to encounter resistance from the evil one. But those who struggle until the end will be able to enter the kingdom of God and have eternal fellowship with God. And there they will have perfect peace.”