By Billy Graham | Published: June 03, 2013
In the tenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ says: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).
And we say to ourselves, “I thought He was the Prince of Peace. I thought the reason that He came on that first Christmas was to bring peace; and here He says, ‘I came to bring a sword.'” Then He goes on to explain. “I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.'” (Matthew 10:35-36).
In other words, He says some will believe Him and some will reject Him. This will bring division. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39).
That’s a hard saying, in a way. Jesus is teaching His disciples and telling us that when you come to Him, you must love Him supremely. He must be first in every relationship. He’s asking to take control of every area of your life.
But the subject I want to address is peace. Jeremiah said, “They are saying, peace, peace, when there is no peace” (Cf. Jeremiah 6:14). The word peace has been used often in recent years. We talk about peace, and we have many peace conferences; yet at the moment it seems that the world is heading toward anything but peace.
“The way of peace have they not known” (Romans 3:17), the Apostle Paul said concerning the human race. We are given to violence. It fills our screens, fills our novels and our books. As we look around, we find that there is little personal, domestic, social, economic or political peace anywhere. Look at marriages that are breaking up, the tensions in the home, the fighting among members of the home. I see absolutely no hope for us having permanent peace in spite of all the work and the efforts of the United Nations. Why? Because something is wrong with the human heart. We all have the seeds of hatred and violence within us.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). We are to work for peace. But Jesus also predicted: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6-7).
Jesus said there is going to be war until the end of the age. He knew that human nature is not going to change without a spiritual new birth. He knew that the vast majority of the human race was never going to be converted to Him. The vast majority of the people of the world today are not born again. So we always have the potential that violence will break out in a home, in a community, in the world.
There are three kinds of peace described in the Bible. First, peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). There is a peace that you can have immediately—peace with God.
The greatest warfare going on in the world today is between you and God. You may not realize that you’re at war with God. But if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and if you haven’t surrendered to Him as Lord, God considers you to be at war with Him. There is a great chasm between you and God, and that chasm has been caused by sin. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“Oh,” you say, “I have joined the church. I have been baptized.” But has Jesus come to live in your heart as your Lord?
It would be the greatest tragedy if I didn’t tell you that unless you repent of your sins and receive Christ as your Savior, you are going to be lost.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever [that "whoever" is you] believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It’s not just head-belief. It’s heart-belief too. It’s total trust, total commitment. We bring everything to the cross where the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins. He made peace with God by His death on the cross. If you turn your back on Him and don’t commit your life to Him, you will have no hope in the future.
For you to have peace with God, it cost the blood of His Son. “With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19), said Peter. If you were the only person in the world, He would have died for you, because He loves you. His love is pouring out from the cross.
The Bible says that God is the Author of peace. God provided salvation through the cross. He made peace by the shedding of His blood. The war that exists between you and God can be over quickly, and the peace treaty signed in the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
The second peace spoken of in the Bible is the peace of God. Everyone who knows the Lord Jesus Christ can go through any problem, face death and still have the peace of God in his or her heart. When your spouse dies, or your children get sick, or you lose your job, you can have a peace that you don’t understand. You may have tears at a graveside, but you can have an abiding peace, a quietness.
A psychiatrist was quoted in the newspaper as saying that he could not improve upon the Apostle Paul’s prescription for human worry. Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Be anxious for nothing. How many times do you fret and turn, looking for a little peace? God’s peace can be in your heart—right now.
The third peace that the Scriptures mention is future peace. The Bible promises that there will be a time when the whole world is going to have peace. It seems that the world is heading toward Armageddon. We’re not going to have peace—permanent peace—until the Prince of Peace comes.
And He is coming. One of these days the sky is going to break open and the Lord Jesus Christ will come back. He will set up His reign upon this planet, and we’re going to have peace and social justice. What a wonderful time that’s going to be.
Isaiah prophesied, “The government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Think of it: no fighting, no war, no hatred, no violence. It will all be peace.
Do you know Christ? Are you sure He’s in your heart? Perhaps you have been thinking, I want to be sure I have peace with God. I want to be sure that I’m ready for death. I want my sins forgiven. I want my guilt removed. I want to be with Christ when He comes and sets up His Kingdom.
It can be yours, and it’s free. You don’t have to work for it. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Give your heart and life to Christ. Don’t put it off.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.