Herald Journal Columns
Sept. 20, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

The promise of peace in a troubled world

By Rev. Martin Schoenfeld, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

In the Bible, Genesis chapter 3, we are told the story of how Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and sin came into the world. In Genesis chapter 4, we begin to understand the consequences of our sin when Cain murdered Abel. Ever since that time, mankind has been cruel to one another.

Pay attention to the news on any given day and you will see some of mankind’s cruelty. Crime and murder take place on a daily basis.

In Iraq, there are bombings and killings. Civilians are tortured and even beheaded. Oil pipelines are blown up and oil is burned so that someone else cannot use it.

In Russia, it is believed that two airplanes were intentionally brought down by some cruel person or group. Consider the evil that was recently done to school children in that land, as well.

In Sudan, the Islamic government is very cruel to the Christian population living there. In mosques and other places throughout the world, there is the preaching of hate.

In our own land, there are federal judges who say it is okay to cruelly murder babies through the practice of partial birth abortion. In Florida, there are scam artists trying to take advantage of the vulnerable.

The list could go on and on. People continue to be cruel and violent to one another.

The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, put it this way in Romans 3:10-18: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have, together, become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

When we pay attention to the world we live in, we see how true these words are. Mankind is cruel, violent and evil.

Even in our own lives, we fail to love others the way we ought to do. Our sin and cruelty is shown forth in how we treat others and in our lack of concern for others.

But after having observed such a grim reality, there is good news for us. Christ Jesus has come to bring us peace.

In John 19:33, Jesus said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus warned us that in this sinful world, troubles would come upon us. But He has also given us good news: “ I have overcome the world.” Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has overcome this sinful world for us. Through faith in Jesus, the victory is now ours.

As you live in this violent, sinful, and evil world, where will you look for peace? In Psalm 20:7, the Psalmist said: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord, our God.”

Trust in the Lord God. Trust in Jesus for He has overcome this world for us. In Psalm 118:8-9, it says: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

Where do you look for hope? Who do you trust as you live in this cruel and troubled world? Do you trust in man? Do you trust in politicians? Or do you trust in the Lord?

It is good when we let our trust rest securely upon the Lord God. It is good because Jesus comes to bring us eternal peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Jesus gives to us a peace that is different from the rest of the world. He gives to us an eternal peace.

Jesus is able to do so because he has faced the cruelty and violence of this sinful world. He was beaten, flogged, crucified, and mocked by sinful human beings. Jesus allowed Himself to face such troubles in order to pay the penalty of our sin and our cruelty toward others.

In this world, we will still have troubles. In this world, there will be wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), but through faith in Jesus, we have peace with God. When we believe in Jesus, who has risen from the dead and overcome this world, we have an eternal peace plan.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

Through faith in Jesus, all of our sins are forgiven and we are promised a place in heavenly glory. This is our eternal peace plan.

As you live in a world filled with violence and cruelty, as you confront and confess your own sins and cruelty toward others, look to the Lord Jesus for peace. Trust in Him and He will forgive your sin and grant you an eternal peace in heavenly glory.