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“But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace…” – Ephesians 2:13-14a

     AFORE YE WERE AFAR; now ye are drawn nigh. Ye were as filthy rags; now ye are washed. Ye were dead in trespasses and sins; now ye are alive unto God. And how have you moved from damnation to deliverance, from condemnation to pardon, from separation to reconciliation? Was it by your good deeds and fair speeches? Nay, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Was it by your crowning Jesus as the “Lord” and Sovereign of your life? Nay, for not every one that saith, “Lord, Lord”, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Was it by your clean living and self-improvement? Nay, for except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. It is neither fulfilling good works, nor forgoing bad works which has reconciled you who were without hope to the hope of glory. Ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. For without the shedding of blood, there is no remission, and if the Son of man had not made peace through the blood of his cross, we are of all men most miserable.

But shed his blood, he did. And rise the third day unto our justification, he did. And apply the blood of sprinkling on Heaven’s mercy seat once and for all, he did. Indeed, he whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, has imputed his righteousness unto all and upon all them that believe. Therefore, we who enjoy redemption, have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. We who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by his blood. We who shall be saved from wrath through him, are justified by his blood. And now we may exult with the hymnist that “‘Tis done, the great transaction’s done; I am my Lord’s, and he is mine: He drew me, and I followed on, rejoiced to own the call divine.” There is a fountain, filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

But the Everlasting Father, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, has not only made we who were afar off nigh; he has given us peace: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus Christ is our peace! He has spoken these things unto us so that we might have peace in a world utterly bereft of it. We can be sure he did not come to bring peace to the earth: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Dear friend, do not be deceived into supposing this wicked world can give you peace. Though try as she might, she can never give herself peace, for there is no peace, saith my God, unto the wicked. How then may she give it to you? We dwell, it is supposed, in the golden hour of mankind, where pleasure, science, education, religion, and philosophy have been refined to the extent they may bestow the optimal levels of peace upon their adherents. And what is the result of this most enlightened age? It is not peace. The so-called “progress” of modernity – from whence the greatest peace in human history supposedly flows – is but a euphemism for civilized barbarism, for commodified wickedness, for cultured misery. Peace is not liquor, for he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich. Peace is not drugs, for whoso committeth sin is the servant of sin. Peace is not an absence of war, for by peace shall destroy many. Peace is not prosperity, for surely riches make themselves wings, and fly away as an eagle toward heaven. The world preaches doctrines of selfishness and foolishness, of lust and lasciviousness, of hypocrisy and anarchy, which, it is to be believed, will establish world peace if they be enshrined in the unwritten codes of human conduct. But as a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, the utopias fantasized by men of past and present do not, cannot, will not bring them peace.

My brother, peace is not a matter of circumstance; it is a matter of Christ. I speak from experience, that I have found in my darkest hours the brightest rays of peace and hope beaming from the light of the world. I have found, amidst circumstances which drive the carnal and the spiritual to despair, the Comforter’s perfect peace to assuage a hopeless mind and soothe a weary soul. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee” – this is our security, our guarantee of peace amidst the tempests of life. “And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” – this is our peace, our tonic for sorrow and misery and loss. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for he, who is our peace, has overcome the world. Death’s sting has been subdued; the grave’s victory has been defeated. Nothing shall separate us from Christ and his love. O Christian, look now unto the Lover of our soul, the Author and finisher of our faith, and receive the peace which passeth all understanding. For though the Christian has tribulation, has suffering, has pain and anguish and grief, he can find in the Savior’s bosom a peace the wicked cannot find in seasons of the fairest tranquility. When possessions are lost, when brethren are lost, when loved ones are lost, when hope is lost, there remains Jesus – the same yesterday, today, forever. And with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, we have a firm foundation of peace which shall never be moved, world without end.

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