Winning the Peace
When a war ends, the battle for peace continues. Governments must be restored or replaced, infrastructures repaired and grievances buried. History shows us many of the world’s most costly wars came about because the peace was never completely won from a previous conflict.
Jesus came to secure our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. He paid our debt of sin, defeated Satan, and tore apart the curtain separating us from the Father. Jesus won the war, but He left His followers to win the peace. This is why He called peacemakers “sons of God” in His beatitude. Citizens of the kingdom are Jesus’ brothers and sisters, sons of God, and ambassadors of peace. Even before His victory at the cross the Savior was already calling His followers to take up the task of reconstruction.
How is the peace won? Are we policemen stamping out remaining elements of the old regime, or diplomats winning over the hearts and minds of dissidents? Is the work with the citizenry, foreigners, or both? What weapons do we use and what recourse do we have if the people we are trying to lead insist on inciting violence or continuing the conflict?
Several years ago I was given a book about the work of the gospel on the American frontier entitled “Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand”. In the Old West troublemakers liked to disrupt worship services, prompting preachers to lay a gun on the pulpit to establish some ground rules. The Apostle Paul wrote about spiritual armor, but he didn’t mention any Colt 45s.
The peace must be won, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). But how does it happen?