Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
When I opened my eyes this morning and looked out and saw the white landscape, I thought snow, it wasnít, it was fog, just fogÖ. And that is what most of the world is in today, fog, not because of the weather, for it is minds that are in a fog, and they canít see clearly. The fog keeps them from seeing their sins, the fog keeps them from repenting of their sins, and the fog keeps them from seeing why they need a savior. In fact the world might look at us, and decide that it is we, who are in a fog, who ever heard of Christmas in July?
Yet our text speaks of a peace, which was first announced by the Christmas angels, a peace that came, as Jesus came into the world, Jesus is the bringer of this peace. It is first and foremost, a peace with God, and it comes to us because in Christ our sins are forgiven, we are made a new creation, and we are adopted into the family of God. It is because of our peace with God that we have peace with our self, and it is the foundation of the peace we have with one another.
It is not a righteous peace, at least not in the sense that this peace is something we have done, earned or made. Jesus made this peace, but he did it in "lowliness and meekness, with patience, and forbearing" he didnít do it in power and glory, and that is why it is appropriate for us to remember how it was that he came, as a little baby, lying in a manger. No palace, no power, no glory, no might, a baby lying in a manger, helpless, unable to defend himself, and yet this is the savior of the world, true God and true man.
Today we donít talk about repenting of this sin, or of that sin, instead we speak of living life, as a Christian, which is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week sort of thing, its more than the good manners and good clothes we might put on for Sunday or company, for it is a call for us to live as the new creation which we have become in Christ, and to grow in this new life which is ours, and to encourage and guide others, that they too might know and live this new life which is a gift of God in Jesus Christ, for it is in this new life that we receive the Christmas peace, and it is a peace that gives our hearts rest, from the time that we first believe, until the time when we are with God in heaven for all eternity.
Sure, there are still temptations, and the world is full of trials and troubles, but we have the promise of God that all things will work together for good, for those who love God. We have the promise of God, that nothing can separate us from his love, though many try. We have the promise of God that there will be no temptation which comes our way that will be so hard that we would be doomed to fail, but with every temptation will come a way of escape -- we have been given the victory over sin, in Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are victorious in Christ, triumphant as surely as He is risen from the dead, but we do not live with a boastful arrogance, but we live as Jesus gave us example in "lowliness and meekness, with patience and understanding." For while people may be persuaded by power, it does not really change them, it is the love of God in Jesus Christ which changes us. And the love of God in Jesus Christ is a love which is "lowliness, meekness, patient, and forbearing"- it is part of the great mystery,2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
And why? Because we are "eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." We know that the world the flesh and the devil do not want us to know about the pace of God in Jesus Christ or to believe in the forgiveness of sins, and so they are working at every turn to take away the peace which is ours in Christ. We cannot prevail over these foes by our power or strength, by our wisdom and knowledge we cannot find the solution, and so we turn to Jesus, and we learn humility, and patience, and to love with the same love that God has first loved us. It is this, the love of God in our weakness that is the greatest witness. For this is the message of the Christmas gospel, the good news of a peace, which is not just for Christmas, but for every day of our Christian lives together.