THE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE, "PEACE ON THE EARTH" (LUKE 2:14)
Dear Members in Christ,
The Christmas message, “Peace on the earth”
Once again, it is the Christmas season. A time for Christians all the world over to remember the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. A time to meditate upon God’s gift of His only begotten Son, to save His people from their sins. The Bible tells us that when the Lord Jesus Christ was born, the angels proclaimed,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
Today, more than two thousand years after that salutatory annunciation, do we observe peace on earth? As we speak, a conflict is still raging in eastern Europe. It is a conflict that threatens to draw the nations of Western Europe into a war with its cold-war nemesis. What peace is there in this world when there are rumblings of a possible conflict in East Asia? The media shows pictures and video snippets of military exercises and missile tests conducted. What peace is there in this world?
Why does the Bible passage which we have just read speak of peace on earth, and glory to God, when the world today is still languishing in turmoil, regional conflicts, and the effects of natural and man-made disasters? On this Christmas day, let us ponder upon the declaration of the angels. Let us meditate upon how this proclamation more than 2000 years ago exhorts us to respond in a way that is pleasing to God.
A. The Glory of God revealed in the first advent of Christ Jesus
When the angels announced the birth of the Lord Jesus, the Bible records, in Luke chapter 2 that the angels proclaimed,
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11,12
After this account, the most celebratory event occurred right before the ears and eyes of the shepherds, far surpassing any audio-visual display ever witnessed by men, for they saw and heard, “… suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
The angels proclaimed the praise of God when they cried, “Glory to God in the highest.” The Christmas message is that of praise for God, for the gift of the long-promised Messiah and Saviour for God’s people. That promise was first given to the fallen human race in Genesis 3:15, and subsequently reiterated in God’s covenant to Abraham was fulfilled in the birth of the Lord Jesus. The birth of the Child, “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,” is an event that all the world ought to give glory to God. For in this Child shall all the nations of the world be blessed. Dear readers, are you blessed by faith in the Lord Jesus? Give praise and thanks to God for such wonderful salvation that He has promised and delivered to every faithful believer. If you are hearing this message of the gospel for the first time, this Christmas is a good opportunity for you to come and receive the joy of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Please ask your Christian friend or approach any of the church elders or session members if you would like to know more about the Gospel message. May God be praised for this wonderful life-giving Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. The peace of reconciliation with God
When the angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The message carried with it the promise of a condition or state of peace upon the earth. The peace mentioned here is the state of quietness or rest as opposed to turmoil and discontent. The qualifier in this sentence is the object, i.e. it is directed towards men. Not men in the gender sense of the word but mankind in general. This is an address to an age-old theological problem that we know as “sin”. The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans would later explain this as the peace which prevails when a sinner is reconciled to God.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1,2
The problem of sin that beset mankind since the fall in the garden of Eden is resolved! God has provided a way for sinners to be reconciled to Him. God justifies every believing Christian who comes to the Lord Jesus by faith, and this is called having “peace with God.” This Christmas, dearly beloved brothers, and sisters let us praise and thank God for His goodness towards us. Through Christ Jesus, we have peace with God by faith. Knowing this, let us strengthen our walk with the Lord. Let us serve Him with greater zeal and devotion in the coming year. Perhaps we have an urging to practice more consistent personal devotion and prayer, but have been putting it off? Perhaps we have had the resolution to serve with greater zeal but have been brushing it off? Let us gird up the loins of our mind, resolve to walk close to Him, and serve Him with greater devotion. May God bless our thoughts and meditation of praise towards Him this Christmas. Amen.
Rev. Lim Seh Beng