Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jesus Christ: Our Peace Chief and War Chief

"In Native American Cherokee history, the Cherokee tribes had a political system for different challenges faced by their people. Recognizing different personality traits and leadership approaches, the Cherokee had two chiefs: one for peace and one for war. In times of peace, the peace chief ruled. In times of war, the war chief stepped in.

"What we find with Christ and his kingdom is that we simultaneously live in a time of both war and peace. We live in both, and Christ alone reigns in both. This is the tension of our lives, and it is the tension of living in God's kingdom in the present."

-Kelly M. Kapic, God So Loved, He Gave
Jesus Christ: Our Peace Chief 
    But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
(Ephesians 2:13-16 ESV)

    Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Romans 5:1 ESV)
For those who are in Christ, we find ourselves in a time of unprecedented peace. Never before have we enjoyed such a peace with the greatest power of the universe. While minor conflicts abound, we have been reconciled to the only one who can "destroy both the body and soul in hell".

And now we live under the governance and care of the one who has not only purchased our peace, but calls us to be a people of peace. "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." (Rom. 12:18) "So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding." (Rom. 14:19) We should be a people who are marked and known by our bias toward reconciliation in every conflict.

Well, almost every conflict. . .

Jesus Christ: Our War Chief

    The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
(Romans 16:20 ESV)

    For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV)
There is still a battle that must be fought. And this war is waged as much within our own hearts and minds (Rom. 7) as it is in the world and the spiritual realms around us. Do not make the egregious error of thinking our fight is against our fellow man—either in the neighboring house or the neighboring country—"for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12) We must fight for our fellow image bearers—even while we fight against sin, Satan and his demons, arguments and lofty opinions raise against God.

This is the tension that we find ourselves in: living in a time of war and and time of peace. It takes wisdom, it takes community, and most of all it takes the Holy Spirit to know how to navigate this balance beam. And we must look to our war chief and peace chief to lead the way into the fight—and into the reconciliation.

Feedback: What do you find more difficult in your life right now, making peace or making war? Where in Jesus' own life do you see him as a war chief? Peace chief?

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