2016-03-29 - Conviction
Originally Published 1997-02-18
Isaiah 26:3 The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee.
You may not know it but it was today, July 24, in 1824 that the first public opinion poll was taken. The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian published the poll which showed that Andrew Jackson was in the lead to become President of the United States.
We all know the proliferation of polls today in America. I remember some news commentator saying once that President Clinton couldn't even go to the bathroom without taking a poll first. I know that I get phone calls frequently asking my opinion about something. There are a lot of people who are very concerned about what the majority think.
This happens in the church all the time. We may not take polls formally but we know that many are very concerned about what everyone thinks about the 4th grade Sunday school class, the church budget, or the parking lot resurfacing committee. There is a right concern for such things and there is another kind of concern that is evident from time to time. Sadly, these "concerns" can often lead to conflicts and conflicts to division among the church. It happens all the time.
"Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." 1 Corinthians 13:11 There is something about the atonement of Christ that is to bring peace among believers. When peace is absent there is something that is wrong. We all have a common redemption as seen in Isaiah 53:5 and Christ's work is to, "…reconcile all things in Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven." Colossians 1:20
Just as living in peace together is to be part of the fellowship of believers, so also the wicked are said to have no peace. "There is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord." Isaiah 48:22 In fact Scripture goes even further by saying of the wicked, "They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked; whoever treads on them does not know peace." Isaiah 59:8 The wicked not only have no peace, they don't even know peace.
What does this say about us, when, as believers, we can't live at peace with one another? It is a tough question. Romans 5:1 tells us that peace with God is the product of our justification by faith. Having peace with God, we ought to seek to be at peace with each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 also says this when we are told, "…Live in peace with one another." There is no doubt that our churches would look differently if we really did live in peace with each other.