Advent Peace Devotional
Advent marks the coming arrival of the Lord Jesus. We need Advent. We need time and space to wrap our minds and hearts around the incarnation. That God became man...he became human...he became touchable and vulnerable. He did that so that we might experience peace. That we might know it and treasure it. He came to heal the deep wounds of our alienation from God caused by original sin and our own sin.
However, we often settle for an easy healing. We do that by minimizing our sin-sickness or denying that such a sin-sickness exists at all. The false prophets in Jeremiah's day were guilty of leading the people to just such an error. God exposes this error, for "they have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace' when there is no peace." (Jeremiah 6:14) God declares that this is the worst kind of spiritual malpractice. To declare peace, to declare healing, when there is still conflict and sickness is fraudulent. It is monstrous and merciless. Such a "healing" not only fails to heal but creates deeper wounds and scars.
Jesus, on the other hand, not only came to declare peace, he became our peace. The Apostle Paul writes of his work of peace in Ephesians 2:14-16:
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
The peace Jesus purchased on the cross for us came because we were at enmity with God first and with one another second. Jesus removed the offense of our sin on the cross, thus reconciling us back to God (the root cause of our lack of peace). The effect of that peace with God brings about peace in the body of Christ. God has removed the division our sin has caused to make us one people.
While Jesus has paid the penalty of our sin and broken sin's power in our life, the Holy Spirit continually applies Christ's saving work so that we might know and experience His peace. And yet, the presence of sin remains and will until Christ returns again. Only then will we know and fully experience the peace of God. Only then will the absence of conflict be felt. Only then will the universal flourishing of God's shalom be known.
And so as we celebrate the first Advent, we live in a second Advent as we wait for Jesus to come again.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!