If you’ve been listening to any news outlet lately you are aware of the uproar over “violence”.  I can’t help but wonder how we seem to have missed the obvious—Jer. 17:8-10, speaking of the contrast between the righteous & the wicked, says  “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”  We are sinful, fallen people and God has told us that our hearts are deceitful and wicked.  And sinful and wicked people do wicked things.

Psalm 1 also tells us that the righteous will be like a “….tree planted by the rivers of water, which bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so…..the ungodly shall perish.”  How is it that we have missed the point?  Man is wicked, not the tools of our humanity, whatever they may be.  Cain killed Abel and we don’t know what “tool” he used, but … Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” Gen 3:8.  Cain let the sin in his own heart drive him to  murder.  What can we learn from this?  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23.  Sin is the issue!!!

I’ve been reading in Jeremiah the last few weeks and it’s almost like reading the newspaper.  Let’s look at some of the “Biblical Headlines”.   Jer 8:20-22  “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. 21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?”  Jer 6:14 “ They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”    Where are we looking for the “Balm of Gilead”?  In legislation instead of “salvation”?  In government instead of the Prince of Peace?  The cost of our peace was 3 nails and 2 pieces of wood.   The “Balm of Gilead” is offered only at Calvary in the blood of Christ, that “cleanses us from all sin”, that is “…the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus….” Ro 6:23

But that blood not only cleanses, it brings “real peace”—peace with God and the opportunity to offer peace to the world.  Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”  These words of Paul remind us that we can only have real “peace” with God (and therefore peace with others), and the love of God within us, through the Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s our disharmonious, deceitful hearts that cause all the trouble, and Jesus alone brings the peace of God when we are born again.  How?  John 1:12-13 tells us that “ … as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  It is Jesus that restores that “in the image of God” part of us that died in Eden—when he imparts the Holy Spirit to us — salvation, the new birth.  Praise the Lord I can be righteous by the power of God in me!!!!   2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  It’s all JESUS!! “Christ in you, the hope of glory…” Col 1:27

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Rom 3:23.   We all have to choose. The gift or the payday?  Who will we follow?   As Christ’s we are to “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”. Gal 5:16, and Col 3:12-15 says “ Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…….forgiving one another,….: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called…..”  Am I walking in sin or in the Spirit? Spreading peace or disharmony?

We are accountable.  Only when we as believers hold ourselves accountable, will we be real salt and light in this world of darkness.  Only when the peace of God rules in us will we affect our world.  Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”   Am I allowing Christ to keep me in peace, that I might be a “peace maker”—bringing the lost world to my Lord for real peace?

I’d like to leave you with this thought that we’ll explore in more detail next week, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. “   Psalm 37:3  I am to trust GOD and do good.  John 15:5 reminds us “without me, you can do nothing”.  May we all ponder our part in bringing real peace to the world around us as we share Christ and pursue righteousness.