The Bible is full of many descriptions of what a true Christian looks like. One of those portions of Scripture which offers us helpful exhortation, which also seems to stand out among the rest, are some of the following words of the apostle Paul, from his letter to the Romans, chapter 14, verses 9-21. Imbedded in this blessed section of God’s Word, is the ever-helpful counsel of verse 18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Elsewhere, in the New Testament, we read similar words from the apostle Peter, in his first epistle, chapter 3, verses 10-12, “For Whoever desires to love life and see good days … let him seek peace and pursue it …”
Now, let’s also hear the writer of Hebrews echo and further buttress those same truths with the following powerful proposition, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (12:14).
Beloved, are you able to see that God views it as our personal responsibility, and that of highest priority, that we truly pursue peacemaking with all men? Can you see that God is against people who are not keen to heed His wise cousel about this vital matter? Can you see that this concern, if taken lightly, may have dire eternal consequences? O dear friends, do you know that God desires His people, above all people, to evidence another-worldly conduct toward those who dislike and oppose them? Further, do you see it as a matter of highest priority, because we are inseparably-linked to Him? Indeed, we live in an age when many children and their parents, as well as many siblings, one to another, regularly avoid and rarely speak with each other. Bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, envy, anger, and rivalry, and more; are just some of the many sins behind this grievous display of carnality.
Dear friends, I wish I could say that the church is immune to these moral ills, but that is sadly not the case. In fact, many accusations of hypocrisy against the church are justified, because these same sins are too often prevalent among professing Christians. Amazingly, those same sins are committed regularly by those who are related by both human blood and by the blood of the Lamb (Mark 6:3; Matthew 12:46-50: Luke 18:28-30)!
Remember, blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9). I leave you with the blessed words of Isaiah, in chapter 32, verse 17, “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”
In conclusion, let us draw near to God, first, by taking heed to our heart preparation today, for encountering the living God tomorrow, in our public Worship service, both through our praises and prayers to Him, with God’s people; and secondly, through our attending to the reading and preaching of His Holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! Soli Deo Gloria! Happy Reformation Year 500!
Jerry Marcellino is pastor of Audubon Drive Bible Church in Laurel. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.