Monday, April 18, 2011

five attitudes of peace

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

This short final admonition to the Corinthian church shows five components that make for peace in the church. The first is a spirit of rejoicing. This comes as we worship God together. We rejoice in Christ, in the truth that God gives, and in the life that we share together in Him. Rejoicing in God is vital to our worship together. God works in us and it should produce real joy and celebration among us.

The second component is the goal of restoration. In the case of the Corinthian church it had to do with their past tolerance of immorality among them. Now that there was a move toward repentance, the church needed to receive back the repentant. Attitudes of "holier-than-thou" will sink the unity and the essential nature of the church more than any other attitude. When we aim for restoration, the grace of God rules us in everything, and that makes the church a place of redemption and renewal.

The third attitude is one of being a place of comfort. Christians should comfort one another. We should comfort each other as we mourn over sin. We ought to comfort one another as we grieve over the losses we sometimes experience as a result of living in a fallen world. Jesus offers the only true comfort to all people, and we ought to live that out as His living Body in the experience of the church.

We are told to agree with one another. That is a command. It means that we may defer to another brother or sister's personal preference when such deference is not sinful. There are a wide variety of opinions in the Body of Christ. People differ. We have different personalities, experiences, abilities, dreams, and goals. But when we unite under obedience to the Lordship of Christ, none of that matters when we are consumed with the one overarching goal of following Jesus. We thus agree under the Lordship of Christ. And that unity makes the gathering of believers a unique and heart-changing place.

The final component is that we live in peace. That is what we are called to experience in the church. It is not a place to fight and quarrel. It is a place where the peace of God rules our hearts. We don't meet together to quarrel over our differences. We meet together to celebrate our faith and our great God! And when we do so, His peace rules our hearts, and our gathering together shows God's peace and love with us. And in that sense, God is with us when we honor Him with these five attitudes of peace.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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