Peace! Peace! Peace!
The world dreams of peace. Crushed by the ever-increasing burden of enormous navies and armies, enslaved by the chains of commerce, enervated by the luxurious habits of the age, aspirations for peace are ever increasing in volume and force. Men want to be happy and prosperous—without God. Nothing must hinder the world’s progress till the poorest shall have plenty, and man, by his own efforts, shall have gained the millennium.
Universal peace, we are told, is in sight. The world is about to enter upon its greatest and brightest epoch. God and His Christ are forgotten.
A great Peace Parliament is proposed for 1913. A New York newspaper wants the great congress to be held in that city. It says:
“This city alone is able to afford ample and elegant accommodation to the 2,500 distinguished men, who make up the parliaments of the world. It is one of the great cities of the world. It is the metropolis and representative city of a nation consecrated to peace. If the representative bodies of New York, its great organisations, its statesmen, its publicists, its newspapers, and its people would ask Congress to extend the invitation for 1913, Congress would not fail to do so. The invitation would, in all human probability, be accepted in full and hearty spirit by the parliaments of the world. The cost of a single battleship would pay ten times over the entire cost of the vast occasion. America’s greatest city would play the host to the greatest and noblest assembly ever gathered in the history of the human race. And the cause of universal peace would be advanced from a beautiful promise of the century to a glowing realisation of the decade in which we live.”
All this is but the rapid fulfilment under our very eyes of the prophecy of an old book. It prophesies not only the world’s dream, but the world’s disillusion. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:3,
“When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
“Sudden destruction” will come. Swift will be the blow—“a bolt out of the blue.” How graphic is the simile of the old book—“as travail upon a woman with child.”
Yes, the world dreams of peace. But the angry roar of cannon on land, the sullen booming of guns from the decks of quivering Dreadnoughts, the dropping of bombs from aeroplanes, will wake it up from its dream in a fool’s paradise. Even now one can hear, not only on the surface the cry of frightened humanity for peace, but underneath the surface the mutterings of the coming storm. Indeed, 1913 is already called “the fateful year” in a sinister sense.
But suppose peace did reign, what would it be? Peace between nations at most. Peace for time at best. Men would still die. The death-rattle would still be heard in the solemn death-chambers of palace and hovel. Death, king of terrors and terror of kings, would still strike when least expected and least wanted.
And suppose your turn came, and you were hurried off. What would the world’s peace be to you? Nothing! Whether summer smiles or winter frowns, whether peace and prosperity reign, or war and pestilence decimate the land, matters nothing to the dead. Nay, I ask a deeper question, one of vital eternal interest to you: Have you peace WITH GOD?
Do not shake off the question! Whether you like it or not, it will soon have to be faced. For, listen! God waits to be gracious. The intensity of His desire to meet you thus is witnessed at Calvary.
Says the New York journalist, “The cost of a single battleship would pay ten times over the cost of the vast occasion.” But what did it cost God to offer us salvation?
“God . . . spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32).
And what did it cost the Lord Jesus to carry out God’s will for our salvation?
He “. . . made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20).
What a cost! No words can faintly express the infinite cost of peace with God. When once this story lays hold of the heart, it bows the sinner at the feet of the Lord Jesus, there to hear His words of pardon and love; and then, once tasted, henceforth redeeming love will be his theme.
It was thus with Adoniram Judson. When that devoted missionary on his return to his native land, shattered in health by imprisonment and thirty years of work in Burmah, was announced to address a meeting, an enormous multitude of people flocked to hear him.
Worn and haggard he rose, and amid breathless silence spoke for about fifteen minutes of “the precious Saviour, who had so loved us, done so much for us, and to whom we owe our all.”
On the way home the friend on whose arm he leaned said: “I fear, Mr. Judson, the people were much disappointed. They expected to hear you speak of something else.”
“What else did they want? I tried, to the best of my ability, to speak of the most interesting subject in the world.”
“But they wanted a story.”
“Well,” said Judson, “I gave them the most thrilling story I know.”
“Yes; but they expected something new from a man just come from the Antipodes.”
“Then I am glad they will have to say that a man from the Antipodes had nothing better to tell them than the story of the love of Jesus.”
Friend, was ever tribute more touching? Would that you knew this thrilling story in your soul.
The world will yet get peace. There will yet be a millennium. But it will come through trouble first, and it will come through the Lord Jesus. Then, and not till then, “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isa. 2:4).
And just in the same way peace WITH GOD for you will be through trouble first. Sin is a reality.
The cross and suffering of Christ were realities. Once the truth of these things lays hold of us there is repentance, sorrow for sin, self-judgment in God’s holy presence. We then learn that peace comes not through self-effort, reformation, and the like, but through the Lord Jesus. He “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20.) Believers can say, He “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 4:25, 5:1).
Mark the terms—“BY faith,” “THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ.” Will you accept God’s terms?
Accept them, and eternal blessing is yours. Refuse them, and nothing but eternal judgment awaits you.
Reader, have you PEACE WITH GOD?
Gospel Tidings Annual 1911, p. 64