Unity and Peace
ˇ§For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.ˇ¨ (Ephesians 2:14-16)
The Cross is the place where God and man are reconciled. Because of the great love of Christ for man and His submission to the Heavenly Father, He suffered the utmost physical and spiritual pain on the Cross to bear our sins and curses, assuming the punishment for our sins. Our Lord died on the Cross, calming the fury of the Heavenly Father towards sinners, extinguishing the hostility between God and man as a consequence of sin, accomplishing peace, and letting us unite with God to become one body as well. This is a great blessing.
The significance of the reconciliation of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross extends to the relationship between people as well. Therefore, jealousies, alienation and disputes among brothers and sisters should be dealt with under the major principle of unity and peace in Christ, as long as it does not involve questions of elemental truth. Unity because through the Lord we are joined with the Father and other blessed members (John 15:5), and together we have the life of God. The most prominent feature of the life of God is love, ˇ§because God is loveˇ¨. (1 John 4:8) As well, the relationship of peace among us is the concrete manifestation of a life of unity, and permits others to recognize us as witnesses for the Lord. (John 13:35) Therefore, if our relationship of peace and unity encounters trials, that is, in the face of alienation, disputes and anger, let us never forget the teaching and example of our Lord.
1. Christ uses the death of His own body to extinguish the hostility and anger between God and man. We too must use our own deaths (the deaths of our self-authority and prejudices) to extinguish the enmity and rage between ourselves and others. A dead person will not be responsive to outward matters. ˇ§In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.ˇ¨ (Romans 6:11)
2. Christ uses the death of the Cross to establish peace between God and man. We too should bear the attitude of a dead person to handle conflicts, and use peaceable words and deeds to associate with one another. ˇ§And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.ˇ¨ (Colossians 1:20) ˇ§Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.ˇ¨ (Ephesians 4:3)
3. Christ uses the death of the Cross to create a new self in our persons, because our old selves have been crucified with Him so that the body of sin may be extinguished. (Romans 6:6) Since we live and die with the Lord through our faith, we are no longer governed by the lustful actions of the old self. ˇ§And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. ˇ§ (Ephesians 4:24) So when a relationship between believers becomes tense, may the Lord cause us to live in the likeness of new selves.
4. Christ not only uses the Cross to join man to God, He also calls on us (the church) to become His body. So when there is bitterness or dispute between brothers and sisters or couples in Christ, that is akin to rejection between parts of the body. It contradicts the natural law of mutual love and cooperation in the body, and causes the head of the church, Jesus Christ, to be grieved for us. ˇ§Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.ˇ¨ (Ephesians 4:25)
May the Lord help us not only to understand this principle of unity and peace, but to live out this truth as well.
By: Daniel To