The Blessed Gift of Peace | January 2023 Tabletalk

This new month also brings in a new year of Tabletalk devotionals from Ligonier Ministries. The January 2023 issue is devoted to the precious theme of peace, a fitting subject with which to commence the new year.

“TT” editor Burk Parsons has a wonderful introduction to this subject in “Uncompromised Peace.” This is part of what he writes:

The world wants peace even though it has rejected the Prince of Peace, and the world cries for peace even though it has dogmatically declared truth to be relative. The world loves to talk about peace, but in truth, the world has no idea what real peace is or how it is achieved. The world thinks that peace is based on compromise, but Christians know that authentic peace is based on truth—truth that is relentlessly stubborn, dogmatic, and unwavering. During the time of the Reformation, Martin Luther rightly declared: “Peace if possible. Truth at all costs.” As Christians, we know that we cannot have peace in spite of the truth and that true peace comes only because of the truth. Negotiated peace founded on compromised truth will only delay conflict, not eliminate it.

The world’s only hope for true, lasting peace is to be reconciled to the God of peace who gives peace to all who have been born from above by the Spirit of peace. For it is only when God has conquered our rebellious hearts—hearts that rage with conflict, anxiety, and despair—that we will be at peace and be able to maintain the spirit of unity in the bond of peace in our hearts, homes, and churches as we eagerly await the return of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

The first featured article is a significant biblical summary of God’s peace. In “A Biblical Theology of Peace” Pastor Justin Estrada decsribes the power of divine peace after the Fall:

Unexpectedly, a frightening scene transpires one day: God’s arrival in the garden for fellowship goes ungreeted. Shalom has been broken through man’s transgression. Adam now fears nakedness as incompleteness; he accuses his wife of harming him rather than making him whole; and he finds the fruit a curse rather than a blessing. Adam and Eve flee and hide, trembling at the expectation of judgment rather than peace (Gen. 3:8–11).

In the face of this misery, God speaks remarkable words of shalom to them. Little wonder that Paul describes the peace of God as passing all understanding (Phil. 4:7); in the midst of judgment against rebellion, God comforts His children with the promise of peace through One who would crush the head of the lying, murderous serpent (Gen. 3:14–15). Man’s sin has turned them away, their fallen condition corrupting harmony into hostility—vividly represented in the exile—but God is determined to bless them through this Seed of the woman and to restore to Himself a remnant—vividly represented by the sacrifice that produces garments to cover nakedness.

God’s pronouncements at the sudden shattering of shalom portend a slow, costly restoration—but nothing will overturn His irenic purposes. Fallen humanity undermines creation’s harmony, but God intervenes (against all reasonable expectation), and His judgments carry forward His program of peace. The flood cleanses a world ailing under a decaying moral order (Gen. 6–9), and the scattering from the Tower of Babel reignites the creation mandate (Gen. 11:1–9). In an aimless world, God plucks up a displaced wanderer, Abraham—bereft of family and home—and gifts him with wholeness: divine fellowship and a son to his barren wife. This restoration of shalom in Abraham is not an end in itself, but an illustration and a means by which God will restore shalom to all the nations through his offspring—the Seed of the woman who will descend from the great nation of Abraham’s descendants (see Gen. 12:1–3Gal. 3:15–18).

All of which he ties to Christ, in whom this shalom is fulfilled. Read on to see how.

Source: A Biblical Theology of Peace | Tabletalk

Published in: on January 7, 2023 at 8:22 PM  Leave a Comment  

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