Peace on Earth?

When a multitude of the heavenly host appeared to a group of shepherds out in the field, they proclaimed “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.” Someone may take a critical look at the world today and ask “Where is it? I don’t see peace on Earth.” The first thing we need to do is examine what this group of messengers were really saying. The full text of Luke 2:14 is “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Your translation of choice may not include among those with whom he is pleased so let’s not even go there. These angels are worshipping. They proclaim Glory to God in the highest which we do not see everywhere in the world today. The creation points to God’s glory but the majority of people walking the face of the earth do not acknowledge God. The angels were announcing the birth of the Messiah/Christ so peace on earth could be similar to Jesus himself saying “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” He certainly was. So the angels did not prophesy in so many words “There is going to be peace on earth” or “from now on there will be peace on earth and goodwill everywhere you look.” But I still want to address these two questions: Is there or can there be peace on earth? Will there ever be peace over the whole earth?

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Full of God

The goal of Christians is to be conformed to the image of Christ.  The reason we ask “What would Jesus do?” is to put ourselves in the right frame of mind to be Christ-like in our decision making (Philippians 2).  We know from reading the Gospels and the letters of Paul that we are to think like Christ, to have the heart and mind of a servant, to be humble, to love as Christ loved, and so forth.  Like John the Baptist we must make less of ourselves and more of Christ.  Realizing that we can never become perfectly like Christ, the goal is to continuously work at it.  As we get closer and closer, others should be able to see Christ in us.  They were called Christians first at Antioch why?  Because the followers of Christ at Antioch sounded and acted like the one they were following.

Ephesians 3 mentions one way to be Christ-like, which I had never noticed before.  Read Colossians 1, noting verse 19 that says “For in him [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…”  Jesus was incarnate deity, the person of God robed in a body of flesh.  One aspect of Jesus Christ is that he was full of God.  Now look at Ephesians 3, a short chapter in which Paul reveals the mystery of the Gospel.  In particular:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  -Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV

There are many things we can choose to fill ourselves with; Paul says we should be full of God.