“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-8
Wouldn’t this be true peace? But who could possibly be so bold as to promise this? What politician, group, or ruler in any nation, at any time, could deliver such conditions? In fact, what person ever dared to even mention these kinds of things in their manifesto, speech or plan for the future? And yet, these are the very things all people long for, and many search for. But it’s self-evidently beyond mankind’s capability to bring about such things of himself – hence no one dares to promise these things to their fellow humans.
What about “science and technology,” discovering how to eradicate death and disease and to make people live on indefinitely? If that were even possible (though God won’t allow man to do it – Genesis 3:22-24), would you really want a world where mankind lives on forever in his natural state of evil and rebellion? Of selfishness and greedy lusts? FOREVER? Surely, if we’re honest with ourselves, we desire, first to be “set free from this body of death” (Romans 7) and our “fleshly lusts” once and for all, and then to live forever in a world of true peace.
The God of Creation, “Yahweh is His name” (Amos 5:8) has made this very promise to all who come to Him in His appointed way – through an active faith in His word, perceived by “the spirit of Truth” of His word, recorded in the Bible.
So then, why isn’t there “Peace on earth”…now?
God has set a divine principle in motion “from the foundation of the world,” which cannot be altered or set aside by His creation, man. And that is simply…
Without RIGHTEOUSNESS, there can be no PEACE - individually or worldwide
”‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says Yahweh.” Isaiah 48:17-22
God’s enduring word, the Bible, together with history, shows this divine rule is still in force. As God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ, reminds us, “within, out of the heart of people, proceed the evil thoughts, sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness” (Psalm 14:1-3; Mark 7:21-23); therefore, only God can give and produce in a willing heart true righteousness…and this is His revealed purpose with His creation - to fill the earth with His glory (which is His unique, powerful character of “lovingkindness and truth”) in a multitude of people who “were formerly alienated and hostile in mind in evil deeds,” but now have “been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11; Numbers 14:21; Exodus 33, 34; Colossians 1:21-23; Matthew 5:5).
And so, God has been “taking from among the nations a people for His name,” those who respond to His salvation from sin and death, before the day fixed for His righteous judgment upon rebellious mankind at the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Then there will be peace on earth! (Acts 15:14-18; 17:30, 31; Matthew 6:9-13).
What is Righteousness?
Righteousness is our Creator’s definition of faithfulness, moral excellence and godliness, that which is eternally correct and beneficial, implying innocence; in other words, Truth (Ephesians 4:17-24). In the Bible, Peace means “completeness, well-being, to set at one again.” It refers to harmony and unity, firstly between God and man (Ephesians 2), then based on that, between all people and the creation itself (Romans 8).
But all these things are outside of our natural, proud selves who are prone to sin; “and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Sin is why there is death in us and all around us; “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…For the wages of sin is death…the sting of death is sin…” (Romans 5:12-14; 6:20-23; 1 Corinthians 15:55-58).
“Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10
However, in his life and willing sacrifice of crucifixion, God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), though “in the flesh” just as we are (1 John 4; Hebrews 2), perfectly manifested and upheld His Father’s righteousness (Romans 3:21-26; 8:1-4) while, at great personal cost, never sinning himself (John 8; Hebrews 4:15; 9:26); AND THAT’S THE VICTORY HE WON! For this reason God raised him from the dead since he committed no sin (Philippians 2:8-11; Romans 1:1-7), and “he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9), just as it is written, “for he himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:13-18).
And so, for everyone who truly believes this gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, then God his father, “the Father of mercies,” graciously accounts that person’s faith as “righteousness” and freely forgives the sins of those who then:
Enter into a covenant relationship with Him through faith by baptism “into Christ” and turn from doing “works of death” (Acts 2:36-41; Hebrews 6:1,2; Galatians 3:26, 27). Participate in fellowship with others in His son Jesus’ victory over sin (the atonement) by obeying him and “walking in the Light”(Acts 2:42-47; 1 John 1:7; Romans 8:13, 14). And this “obedience of faith,” which is true righteousness (Romans 1:5,16, 17), actually produces in a disciple of Christ true peace now, and “in the age to come, eternal life,” as Jesus promises (Mark 10:29-31).
“Therefore having been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1, 2 “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
Truth and Life
“Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the earth and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Psalm 37:10, 11
It’s not as though we can “take it or leave it” regarding God’s principles,“because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the inhabited earth in righteousness…” (Acts 17:30, 31). At that time, God will be “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus…when he comes to be glorified in his saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed…” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).
To believe and seek God - His way - and to rely on His “lovingkindness and truth,” is to be righteous. To be righteous is to be at peace with God, now and for “the day of eternity” (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:1; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8). Righteousness is a gift from God to anyone who truly believes and therefore strives to obey “the word of His grace” (Acts 20:32; Luke 9:23; 13:24) as was perfectly manifested in Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection. As Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6; 8:51; Romans 6:10, 11; 8:9-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14).
“Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace to you.’” John 20:19
And so, “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God,” and having been lovingly forewarned by the Bible as to the world’s present and coming tribulations, a faithful disciple of Christ has peace, knowing that God’s Master Plan with His earth is right on schedule. As the good shepherd Jesus himself promises to those who are his: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful…These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (Philippians 1:9-11; John 14 through 16; Luke 21).
Therefore, do not be deceived by “wishful thinking” or “religion” of any kind, nor put your faith in scientists, politicians, groups or individuals - fellow sinful mortals - who promise and clamor for “peace now,” according to their own plans and efforts. God has openly demonstrated through His son, Jesus Christ, that there is only ONE confirmed way to obtain true, lasting peace…now and in the future, individually and worldwide (Acts 4:12).
Peace with God…in the world…and in ourselves
We’ve barely touched the wealth of this important theme as declared in God’s word, the Bible…there’s Romans 4 and 5, the Psalms, Isaiah 9-12 and 48 and 57, to mention but a few. And so we encourage you to prayerfully and diligently study God’s word to better understand His enduring and unchangeable principle of “Righteousness and Peace” which He is forming in many people now and will manifest completely - worldwide - at Christ’s return, in the kingdom of God on earth.
“THEN justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile field. And the work of righteousness will be peace and the service of righteousness, quietness and security forever.” Isaiah 32:16, 17