Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Peace On Earth? Good Will To...?

I love Luke 2:8-14, It's the story of the Angels appearing to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus. Could you even imagine a heavenly host of Angels appearing and singing with such joy? 

We've all heard about this one joyous chorus, in our bible reading, in church, in Christmas carols. and if nothing else most Americans heard it from that famous blanket dragging theologian Linus Van Pelt;
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:8-14 KJV)
And many people rightly ask "So where's this peace? Where's this good will?" Let's face it, Earth is not a peaceful place, since the fall of man it has never been peaceful, and it never will be peaceful. One hundred years ago the United States joined the greatest battlefield slaughter of mankind ever inflicted on the earth to that time (WWI), which only precipitated even greater slaughter 21 years later. The slaughter continues in the middle east and radiating out across the globe. In the future we know that even after Jesus returns to set all things right  there will be an uprising during the millennial reign. So where is this "Peace on earth, good will to all men?

First of all, God doesn't say all men. The KJV implies 'all men' by saying "good will toward men" but that version stands alone, well almost alone. The Douay-Rheims bible says it like this:
Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.
That's kind of reversed, now instead of peace on earth (to everyone?) and good will to (all?) men, in the Douay-Rheims it appears that God only grants peace to men of good will. Let's look in the NIV, the second most read bible version in America and see what it says there:
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
It appears that the NIV is saying that God is only granting peace to those people that He likes? Let's see what the NASB says:
Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.
Ok, so there's two versions that appear to agree with each other. I suppose the best thing to do is look at the original Greek. For that we will need the Big Hammer - the Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament a straight translation from Greek to English with no sugar added
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth among those whom he has favored 
doxa     theos en hypsistos             kai eirēnē epi gē    en    anthrōpos       eudokia
I believe that this settles the question, Christmas does not promise to bring peace to all. God in his highest majesty promises to bring peace to those who believe him, to those who receive Christ and trust him as Savior and Lord. In other words only we few who bow to His majesty will be blessed with the peace that Christ brings for His peace is a gracious gift to those that please Him.

This appears to be a very difficult pill to swallow, a Quid Pro Quo that God used through the entire Old Testament. Looking through commentaries I've found that most commentaries are based on the KJV and NKJV translation and the commentators spend a lot of energy defining what a man of good will is or is not.

When they're not demanding a recount the youth of this world are demanding peace, as they have been for millenia but do they understand what peace really is? Pardon the Marvel comics reference but "I think you're confusing peace with quiet" (source) The peace that God promises is not a sudden world wide disarmament and a United Nations love-fest with Coca-Cola and snacks on demand. The peace that God gives is reserved for those whom He has favored because we lucky souls know that peace is a fruit of the spirit, a precious gift bestowed on us through the grace of God
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
What does the world at large understand about this? Our peace comes from love, not from quiet. The love of our creator God, the love of our Master and Savior, the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. What is more peaceful than knowing that we are cradled in His hand, that we are loved in returned, that our prayers are heard and that His voice is only as far away as our bible and is a gift  we need to maintain
Walk humbly with your God. Peace is a jewel; God puts it on your finger, be proud of it, and he will take it off again, Peace is a noble garment; boast of your dress, and God will take it away from you. Remember the hole of the pit whence you were digged, and the quarry of nature whence you were hewn; and when you have the bright crown of peace on your head, remember your black feet; nay, even when that crown is there, cover it and your face still with those two wings, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. In this way shall your peace be maintained. - Charles Spurgeon February 19th, 1860
May this season where we celebrate the marvel of the Word Made Flesh find you at peace with our Lord and cloaked in His love. Merry Christmas! 

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