Building The Peace Of Christ In Our Divided And Broken World

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

The Peace that Christ Made


Opening Prayer: 


Saviour, we know that reconciliation to the Father makes possible reconciliation to one another; because you, who are our peace, made peace through the cross and preached peace to the divided world of Jew and Gentile. Our unity (the people of God) is both a fact (‘he made the two one’), and a mandate (‘make every effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’). God’s plan for the integration of the whole creation in you is modelled in the ethnic reconciliation of God’s new humanity. Such is the power of the gospel as promised to Abraham. Amen.


Reflection: 


We affirm that whereas the Jewish people were not strangers to the covenants and promises of God they still stand in need of reconciliation to God through the Messiah Jesus. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile in sin; neither is there any difference in salvation. Only in and through the cross can both have access to God the Father through the one Spirit. We continue, therefore, strongly to affirm the need for the whole Church to share the good news of Jesus as Messiah, Lord and Saviour with Jewish people. And in the spirit of Romans 14-15, we urge Gentile believers to accept, encourage and pray for Messianic Jewish believers, in their witness among their own people.


Reconciliation to God and to one another is also the foundation and motivation for seeking the justice that God requires, without which, God says, there can be no peace. True and lasting reconciliation requires acknowledgment of past and present sin, repentance before God, confession to the injured one, and the seeking and receiving of forgiveness. It also includes commitment by the Church to seeking justice or reparation, where appropriate, for those who have been harmed by violence and oppression. 


Christ's Peace in Ethic Conflict


Ethnic diversity is the gift and plan of God in creation. It has been spoiled by human sin and pride, resulting in confusion, strife, violence and war among nations. However, ethnic diversity will be preserved in the new creation, when people from every nation, tribe, people and language will gather as the redeemed people of God. We confess that we often fail to take ethnic identity seriously and to value it as the Bible does, in creation and redemption. We fail to respect the ethnic identity of others and ignore the deep wounds that such long-term disrespect causes. We urge church pastors and leaders to teach biblical truth on ethnic diversity. We must positively affirm the ethnic identity of all church members. But we must also show how our ethnic loyalties are flawed by sin and teach believers that all our ethnic identities are subordinate to our redeemed identity as the new humanity in Christ through the cross.


We acknowledge with grief and shame the complicity of Christians in some of the most destructive contexts of ethnic violence and oppression, and the lamentable silence of large parts of the Church when such conflicts take place. For the sake of the gospel, we lament, and call for repentance where Christians have participated in racism and black slavery; the holocaust against Jews; apartheid; ‘ethnic cleansing’; inter-Christian sectarian violence; decimation of indigenous populations; inter-religious, political and ethnic violence; Palestinian suffering; caste oppression; and tribal genocide. We also call for repentance for the many times Christians have been complicit in such evils by silence, apathy or presumed neutrality, or by providing defective theological justification for these. This has added to the brokenness of the world and seriously undermined the gospel of peace.


Closing Prayer: 


Dear Christ, we long to see your worldwide church, as those who have been reconciled to God, living out our reconciliation with one another and committed to the task and struggle of biblical peace-making in your precious name. Evangelizing without discipling, or revival without radical obedience to your commands, are not just deficient; they are dangerous. We long for the day when the church will be the world’s most visibly shining model of ethnic reconciliation and its most active advocate for conflict resolution, where Christians embrace and adopt a lifestyle of reconciliation, who forgive and act with generosity and peace, being a healing balm after conflict, and a beacon and bearer of hope to a hurting world. Amen.


Ask God to pour out his Spirit to stir us with a vision of an evangelical church for every people.