Weekly Encouragement - 9/9
Pastor Brennan and I are sending a weekly encouragement based upon Galatians 5:15 and guided by Alexander Strauch’s, If You Bite and Devour Each Other. The aim is to instruct what God’s Word teaches about conflict and how we should respond. When conflict flares, we must consider the instruction of God’s Word to walk as children in light. We pray that these might be profitable for correction and instruction in the Word of God.
It is said that there can be no peace without justice. Peace is the result and justice is the means. Scripture presents another side to understand the relationship between peace and justice. In James 3:18 it is written, “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” “Righteousness” means conduct that is pleasing to God (1:20). It is justice. The way it is used here is as the result or fruit of peace. Right conduct that is pleasing to God—justice—is the result of those who make peace. This is why justice cannot come through man’s anger (1:20). Simply, James writes that there can be no justice without sowing peace. This is similar to the beatitude of our Lord, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).
How does one make peace? It begins with love for the law of the Lord. “Great peace have those who love your law” (Psalm 119:165). There can be no justice apart from those who make peace; and those who make peace are those who love the law of the Lord.
Alexander Strauch writes, “Peace is absolutely essential to the spiritual health of a local church and to an individual’s growth in sanctification. In an environment of warfare and contending factions, spiritual growth is stifled. Where there is discord, fear and trust abound; frustration, anger, and distress fill the hearts of the peace. In such an atmosphere, the gospel witness is hindered and new believers and children become disillusioned.”
How do you pursue peace? You follow the law of the Lord and love the Lord your God and your neighbor. Remember the Heavenly Father’s love for you, shown on the cross of Christ, who is himself our peace. It is through Christ and because of Christ you follow the law of the Lord and make peace with your neighbor, which is the way to sow justice and righteousness.