Saturday, 9 March 2013
And the way of peace they have not known. Romans 3:17
Again Paul turns to the words of Isaiah to substantiate man’s general character and disposition –
The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace. Isaiah 59:8
There are several ways in which the “way of peace” can be demonstrated. Here are four:
1) In oneself. A life of peace in an individual must start with contentment in one’s station. If a person is content, then a hovel and a bowl of rice soup is sufficient for peace. If a person’s eyes are full of greed and want, a mansion with a table of feasting will never satisfy. One must appreciate the gifts God has given in order to have peace in oneself. If such appreciation doesn’t exist it can only lead to internal toil and boil over in our actions toward others.
2) Toward others. Peace and contentment in oneself naturally keeps one from harming others, but when it is lacking, the greed and lust of the heart spills over in our actions – be it individually or as a group or nation. Harming others then becomes an satisfactory means of obtaining what we want. We rationalize reasons why theft is acceptable and move toward the subjugation and oppression of those who have earned their way. As noted, this stems from a lack of contentment in our own station. This frustration is taken out on others, but it inevitably directs the blame toward God.
3) Toward God. Peace with God comes from an appreciation of His goodness and an understanding of His sovereignty. When one feels jipped by their circumstances, they will find fault in God. The sentiment “It’s not my fault I was born here…” would necessarily place the blame on God who made the choice. But Acts says, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…” (vs. 26, 27)
God, who is infinitely wiser than man, has selected our time, place, and position to be the very best possible moment in which we will seek Him out. In other words, a person born in Honduras in AD1630 would no more search out God than he would if born in New York city in 2013. God knows this and determines that which is the very best for His creatures, and yet we reject Him. Proof that this is true is that there is a Bible on practically every shelf and accessible from every computer on earth and yet, even with this opportunity, it is ignored. In America, there are churches on every corner and yet they are closing due to a lack of interest. “The way of peace they have not known…” This lack of contentment in self which then overflows towards others and is ultimately blamed on God results in unholy instruction within family and society.
4) In Instruction. When the way of peace is unknown, the venues of life instruction follow a course of wickedness. The raising of children disregards education in the Bible, in respect, in honor, and in right living. School systems turn towards a liberal agenda and “tolerance” for that which is profane. This carries from kindergarten to college. Young minds are perverted from what is normal and the developed minds are perverted from what is reasonable. Society itself rejects the truth and turns to a news media which is based on feelings rather than objective journalism. Churches no longer preach doctrinal truths, but instead provide soft messages without any real substance. As these institutions continue to turn away from soundness, the only thing which cannot be tolerated is “intolerance.” But even this is self-contradictory and so vile emotions are spewed out at those who pursue peace and reason.
In the end, the pattern repeats itself and the world ends in a state which is no longer worthy of anything but destruction. At the time of the flood, a mere 1600 years after the creation of the world, Genesis 6:5 says that “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Of course, this resulted in a global flood which took the lives of all but eight people.
God’s people, Israel, have been destroyed and exiled twice because they followed this same pattern and the church is now following it as well. At the rapture of the church, there will only be strife against God leading to the Tribulation period. All because “they have not known the way of peace.”
Life application: It is unreasonable to love others into hell through tolerance. That which is against God – be it in the general society or in the church – must be identified and called out. If not, there is eventually a breakdown in right moral thinking. This is especially true with our religious leaders. If they depart from what is right or deflect attention away from Jesus, their words or actions must be shown for what they are. Judgment begins at the house of the Lord and so the house of the Lord must proclaim the way of peace – Jesus.
Lord, please be with those who teach Your word. Give them strength and wisdom to properly proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ and to never water down the severity of the consequences of rejecting Him. Give them soundness of doctrine and clearness in their thinking. This, to Your honor and glory. Amen.