“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .”
These words open the book “A Tale of Two Cities.” Obviously, it hints at the novel’s central tension between love and family, on the one hand, and oppression and hatred, on the other.
If you have watched the news these past weeks, you will agree that the world we live in is complicated. There is exciting news. There is terrible news. However, there seems to be more bad news going around. Situations are getting worse. Governments and leaders make every effort to find a solution.
However, the reality is no nation or group of nations are powerful enough to deal with all the threats and challenges in the world today. They’re too complicated, too big. World leaders themselves admit to its complexity.
I am reminded of the Old Testament scripture, “Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets; the envoys of peace weep bitterly (NIV Isaiah 33:7).
In the news today is the growing spread of the deadly Ebola virus that is expected to affect close to a million in West Africa by early next year and spreading all over the world. We have the ISIL threat in the Middle East and how that is also spreading all over the world. Cyber threats are relatively new, but are just as real and deadly as anything we have ever dealt with. And obviously, we have the ongoing problems in North Korea, and China’s behavior in the South China Sea and East China Sea. In Europe, we have the Russian and Ukrainian conflict. Then we also have the age old problems between Arabs and Jews, Sunni and Shia, and dozens more if you list them. Every part of the world is under great stress.
No nation is great enough to solve these problems.
The Bible talks about a future world peace that will surely come (Revelation 21:4). It seems clear from the scriptures that until that time comes, peace throughout the world will never occur. Jesus said that until the day of His coming, there will be “wars and rumors of wars” and that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6-7). There has never been a time in the history of the world that somewhere, someone wasn’t fighting with someone else. Whether it was a world war involving dozens of nations or a local skirmish involving tribes or clans, men have always been at war with one another.
Promoting world peace even though we know human beings, no matter how hard they try, will never be able to bring it about. While giving to charity, promoting tolerance, and sharing are certainly appropriate for Christians, we should do so in the name of Jesus, understanding that He alone will be the bringer of world peace. Until that time, Christians are to “make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
As Christians we should promote peace instead of conflict, remembering that by our own actions, complete peace will never be achieved because of the fallen state of man. Our faith remains in God and Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Until He comes to renew the world and bring true peace, world peace will remain little more than a fantasy. Our most important task is to tell the world that there is a God who cares for us unconditionally.
The world needs to know that there is only ONE savior of the world. His name is Jesus, the only One who can bring about peace in this world and in us.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
This, then, is the way we promote world peace—by bringing to the world the message of peace with God: be reconciled to God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Just as Dickens said, there are two cities. Life without God is life in a city of darkness, pain, and despair. It is a city in hell. On the other hand, Life in Christ is living in a city of light, joy, and peace. It is a city in heaven.
Where do you live?