What is the importance of establishing peace first
and can righteousness develop without it?

Without Peace, The fruit of righteousness cannot be Planted

September 26, 1998

We are all familiar with the story of Abraham and how his faith was accounted to him for righteousness. For this reason he is considered by God himself to be the father of our faith and we look to him as our example in believing God. Why? Because he had faith in the righteousness of God... and more specifically ... God's character.

The basic foundation that all things relating to God rest on are:
.... 1/ "You must first believe that God is" and that,
.... 2/ "He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him".
Abraham knew this very well. Once you begin to understand that truth other things can now be built upon it.

One of the character traits of God's righteousness is that He is incapable of lying. Through this we understand that God's word cannot be wrong or deceitful and may take comfort that what He reveals to His chosen is the right way in which we are to go. "Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath". These two things cannot fall to the ground, (His counsel, His oath), but are like the rock which we base our faith on. So then His counsel and His oath are the two sure things that we can always trust, because it is impossible for God to lie,( through false counsel or a false oath). So then we have strong assurances, from Him, who have left the darkness to enter His light. Abraham believed what God said because Abraham trusted in God's character.

Then we come to Jesus, God's Word, made flesh, to dwell among us. Jesus said to those who were following Him... John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid". In speaking these words to his disciples He was trying to give them a word of comfort. Yet, the only way they could receive it is if they believed His word, and that is based squarely on their perception of Jesus' character.

Everything that Jesus did was a reflection of His inward character. He never deviated, nor changed, but was consistent in His dealings with people. Understanding the fullness of His character is understanding Jesus. Words of comfort and words of rebuke were always motivated from love and His consistency in showing that love leads us to trust in Him because His character was faultless, consistent, and righteous.

Jesus gave His peace to the disciples but not as the world gives peace. What does that mean, not as the world?

Whenever man comes into conflict with others it creates a division among them and their intention is to harm the other person or group. This happens between an individual and another, or can be a great war between nations or anything in between. War by its very nature brings about destruction of one kind or another. Those who are in the conflict judge whether or not they have achieved their goal, gained their prize, or are on the verge of loosing too much. When this point is met one or both parties in the conflict then seek peace.

There are also those who are aware that one or more may be planning for a struggle to take something of value away from them. When this is perceived, they will send a peace delegation in order to obtain a treaty. This is not an attempt to end a conflict but to prevent it from being launched against them.

In both of these cases people are looking for an agreement, prices to be paid, rights to be given or taken away. When an agreement is reached those who are present sign. The question to ask though is, "If conditions were such as for them to enter war, what will prevent them from preparing or launching another war once again when it suites their purposes"? The Treaty? The Paper? Their Handshake? Their Word? These things are only as good as the character of the people who signed them... and nothing more. It is foolishness to judge that a piece of paper or someone's word is of any value if their character is not.

As an example there is Hitler and Chamberlain. Yes Chamberlain went to Germany honestly seeking a peace with the Germans, that they would cease their territorial expansion into other nations, and he did come back with an agreement... a piece of paper... yet he did not look on the character of the man who signed that paper, Hitler, who had no intention of honoring that signed paper when it no longer suited his purpose.

Hitler and the Russians signed a non-aggression pact. Only the Russians were not fooled... they saw the character of the man and geared up for war with Germany even though they had signed a non aggression pact with the German nation, they knew the character of Hitler and knew that war was coming. Hitler surprised Chamberlain and ruined his career. Hitler did not surprise the Russians and he paid a heavy price for his betrayal.

For peace to reign there must be faith that the other has stopped seeking to harm ... not hope... not presumption... but a knowing that the other has stopped to seek your harm. It is impossible to have faith in a person whose character is flawed. Faith is the assurance, the knowing, the trusting that a person's word is as good as his character and that his character is good. Righteous.

As Christians today, we lift up the word of God as a covenant sealed in His blood. The strength of that covenant rests squarely on the character of the one who made it. If you truly believe that God is righteous, His character without flaw, then it is possible and only right to believe His word. Those who do not believe that God's character is perfect, do not trust His word or Him for that matter.
Therefore those who trust in God's character are justified by faith and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

God is not looking for a people who can follow rules and regulations. He is concerned with finding a suitable helpmeet for His Son... a bride. Not someone who outwardly follows commands but inwardly is of a corrupt nature... flawed character. He is looking for that true love within that reflects the very nature of His Son... His character. Righteousness is His name.

James 3:18 says... "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace". I would like you to notice that it does not say seek peace but make peace. The world at times may seek peace but none make peace. What is the difference? Those who seek peace are there to pay, plead, compromise, threaten, bully all in an attempt to reach an agreement. To make peace one creates it, at whatever cost, and then offers it to others.

That is the example that Jesus has left us. On the cross He and He alone has made peace between God the Father and sinful man. No pleading, no compromising, no threatening. All one needs to do is to enter that peace. Jesus said He leaves us this peace, gives it to us. Will we walk into it? If we do, then the journey begins and God begins to change our character, our hearts and minds, to be more like Jesus.

Do you know that without peace, righteousness, the fruit, the seed of it, cannot be planted. If it is not planted into a person's heart there is no change and no growth of a person's character. No righteousness can develop because there is no peace. Peace must be created first. Jesus made peace... will you continue in it? Will you make it known to others and create it yourself in your daily life for others? Not compromises or deals or agreements, but making it yourself, paying the full price, and letting others enter into it. Then the field will be prepared to receive the seed and righteousness will flourish. If so then this word is for you...

Matt 5: Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

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