“…and his name shall be called…Prince of Peace.”
December 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
Of all the names in Isaiah 9:6 of the Son given to God people, perhaps none resonates within us so deeply as “Prince of Peace”—particularly in times such as ours.
We are surrounded—no, immersed—in conflict.
We are in international conflict. There is little doubt that everyone reading this knows someone who has been or is now in harm’s way because of the decade-long War on Terror. What is more, we all know of far too many have come home wounded—or who are not coming home at all. For most everyone, an end, not just of the fighting but also to the injustice and terror, seems so far away.
We are in cultural conflict. The recent national election proved that Americans are in a struggle of competing cultural assumptions about the very nature of freedom and morality. Biblical standards for marriage and family, years under siege, appear to have been successfully ransacked and plundered by liberal social activists, and their spoil has been that all manner of immorality and perversity increasingly have the respectable cloak of the terms “marriage” and “family” as a cover. Those among us who stand opposed to this onslaught of depravity are deemed hateful and intolerant.
We are in personal conflict. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t know something of this. Some among us are engaged in long-standing bitter feuds and there is no peace because someone, either you or the other, has determined there is no letting that bitterness go. Some among us are so filled with unforgiving anger, not just toward someone else but also toward God, that the idea of peace is actually a threat because it might mean surrender—and there is no conceding defeat. Some among us are so used to conflict that it has become the norm—and no one can even remember what began the fight.
Yet behind every one of these conflicts is one conflict that is the source, the backdrop and the fuel of them all: spiritual conflict. Before we can ever know the reality of earthly peace between people, between nations—the root cause of that conflict must be removed: Sin. And we must remember that the primary conflict that we have is with God.
“…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:8-10).
What is so important about this passage is that it tells us both the bad news and the good news. The good news, of course, is, as verse 8 says, “Christ died for us.” The bad news is that we for whom he died were sinners. The good news is that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ reconciles us to God, as verse 10 says. The bad news is that, prior to that reconciliation, we were God’s enemies.
Paul uses the past tense—we were sinners, we were God’s enemies—to indicate the fact that faith in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, ends our conflict with God once and for all. That is why this very chapter of Romans begins as it does: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
This isn’t to say that we no longer sin—or that we aren’t still sinners; far from it! At the end of his life Paul used the present tense to say he viewed himself as the “chief of sinners” ( 1 Timothy 1:15). What Paul is saying in Romans 5 is that, through Christ, the reality of our enmity with God is over—replaced by the present and forever reality of being at peace with him. If you have trusted Christ as savior, then the Prince of Peace has won your peace with God, now and forever.
But it goes beyond the mere cessation of conflict with God—significant as that is. It also means that we have received the blessing of peace that puts us at rest. That is why Jesus says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Peace. Be still.