Pastor Ed Ross

Peace on Earth

 

The Immensity of God

.. 

Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
(Luke 2:14)

..

Joy In The Darkness

At this time of year we hear much about “peace on earth”, a phrase introduced by the angels at Christ’s birth.  Christ was prophesied to be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Christians are called to be peacemakers. (Matt 5:9). Yet, although the world, and certainly Christians, cry, “Peace! Peace!”, there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).

In the two thousand plus years since Jesus walked on this earth, the world has not known even one day of total peace. Even more astoundingly, Jesus, Himself,  said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (i.e. division) (Matt 10:34)!

Clearly, Jesus did not come to bring “world peace”. That may shock some. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). Jesus said, “I came to give my life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). You see, “there is no peace to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21). As long as there is evil in the world there cannot be world peace. In fact, the Bible and history are clear – whenever humans begin to work to unite the world collectively, globally, evil only increases (Gen 11:1-9); and with evil, conflict and violence.  At that point, temporary “peace” is then only accomplished through totalitarian oppression.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not coming [now] with outward observation…; the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). With the salvation He provides through faith in His Person, finished atonement, and resurrection, He gives love, peace and joy independent of outward circumstances, even in the midst of tears and sorrow (John 14:27; 15:11; Phil 4:7; Ephesians 3:19). “In this world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). It is then, as His instruments of peace, we seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11), not because we think we can bring in world-wide peace, but because being peacemakers individually glorifies God and blesses others, especially as we introduce them to the Prince of Peace.

Our “weapons” of peace are witness and prayer, by the Spirit and Word. At times the world will be affected positively by our message, and at other times, the world will react with hostility and violence toward God’s children. The results at any given time are in God’s hands for His purpose and glory.

As regards the “world” at large, there are a few great principles which we should promote which precipitate the best possible “earthly blessing” for any people.

“Christ came first in peace to send a sword; He shall next come with a great sword to bring in everlasting peace.”

As I discover more of God, there is never less to know of Him; there is always only more – infinitely more!

God is eternal, transcendent, IMMENSE! – without any bounds of time or space (2 Chronicles 2:6). All else that exists is but a tiny speck within Him, by Him, and for Him. As a minute blip within that speck, I cannot comprehend anything beyond it; and that speck to me is immense, seemingly endless. The deeper I peer into space there is yet more – galaxies beyond galaxies; light-years (5.88 trillion miles!) turn into light-decades, light-centuries, light-millennia…; distances beyond imagination, and all within our little speck of space and time.

Sometimes I awaken at night with a flash of reality, and it is terrifying! I am less than nothing, swallowed up in the vastness of space, which is less than nothing, swallowed up in the immensity of God. “Fear and trembling” is the only legitimate response to such a God. “What is man that you take thought of him?” (Psalm 144:3). Truly, human arrogance is the mother of all absurdities. Yet, look at the world – look at it! There is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom 3:18); God is not in all their thoughts (Psalm 10:4).

Yet, this incomprehensible God has chosen to reveal himself to mankind, sending His Spirit upon the prophets of the scriptures, and, finally, sending His Son, in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). In Jesus we find the face of God, the personal revelation of God (2 Corinth 4:6). In Him, the unknowable not only becomes known, but He comes with an invitation to a rebellious race: Come to Me and enter in; be inseparably united with Me in the bosom of the Father! Through His vicarious life and death He is bringing many sons to glory by grace through faith (Heb 2:10; Ephesians 2:8-9). He alone is the portal to this immense God; He proclaims, “No one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).

In those occasional moments, when I am about to be swallowed up in the terror of reality, I quickly turn to my Savior. The terror leaves, and I am not only safe, but I am swallowed up in the infinite ocean of God’s immense love!   

_________

About Ed Ross

Ed Ross has been pastor of Springwood Chapel in York, PA for the past 16 years.  He and his wife, Lynna, have been married 34 years, and have three grown children (a son and two daughters) who are all actively involved in the church and/or missions work.

Having attended Millersville University (PA: 1969-1972), Maranatha Baptist Bible College (WI: 1977-1980 ), he received a bachelor of theology from International Bible Institute & Seminary (FLA). He was first ordained into the ministry in 1980, at which time he and his wife began an Independent Baptist church, remaining there for eight years.

Ed has been bi-vocational at times, working in supervisory and management positions in the quality and manufacturing engineering fields.

He is actively involved in missions work, having spent significant time teaching among the amaZioni peoples of southern Africa. Ed has written numerous tracts and pamphlets, and currently publishes Tuesday’s Touch, a weekly e-devotional. He has also served as a city police chaplain for a number of years, and enjoys writing music/poetry, hiking, and traveling with his wife.