Today I read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which he also penned while under house arrest in Rome. This letter was delivered by Tychicus as well and likely circulated among several of the churches. Ephesians is a rich book. I’ve read it many times and studied through it on many occasions and yet, it never fails to bring encouragement and new insights, no matter how many times I’ve read it.
Paul is an organized writer. The first half of the letter shows us our identity in Christ as members of His body, the church, while the second half reveals how we live because of who we are. Paul was a master at balancing rich theology with practical application. If you ever struggle with an identity crisis or wonder why your life and relationships aren’t working, this is the book to read.
I could talk about many things in this letter, but one word jumped out at me, a word that is familiar to everyone at the Christmas season: peace. As the angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
Everyone in the world wants peace. The world we live in is filled with violence, war, hostility, anger, and hatred. People everywhere struggle daily with fear, worry, distrust, anxiety, and depression. Suicide rates are alarming. Our homes are filled strife and discontent. Why can’t we find peace?
The reason our world is so UN-peaceful is that we have rejected the only One who can provide peace. “He Himself is our peace.” (2:14) We have no peace without Jesus because we are enemies of God. We are separated by our sin, under condemnation by the law of God. Jesus came to bring peace to the world by reconciling us to God through His life, death, and resurrection.
Ephesians 2:11-18 describes how we gain peace with God, and then goes on to tell us how that peace affects our world. The Spirit of God unites our hearts and minds so that we have peace with each other, something we strive to maintain as we walk in Christ (4:3). We share that peace with the unbelieving world, as we proclaim the gospel of peace (6:15).
We experience peace with God in our own hearts.
We strive for the peace of God as we live in the unity of the Spirit.
We proclaim the peace of God as we share the gospel.
Are you at peace? Are your heart and home filled with the peace that Jesus came to bring? Jesus brings “peace that passes understanding.” Isn’t that what you really want for Christmas? You won’t find it under your tree, but you can find it at the foot of the cross when you meet the Prince of Peace.