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. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. [Ephesians 2:13-17 ESV]
We will never find peace in this or from this world.
I watch those around me. I work in a large public inner-city library. I ride a commuter train to work every day. Once a week I work late, riding in after 10 AM and then home after 8 PM. I see and work with raw humanity, from babies to the elderly, every ethnic background and financial makeup. And every mental state.
My colleagues are educated many having earned two graduate degrees. (I have two.) The environment is stimulating and mundane, exciting and dangerous. Twenty years ago two of my colleagues and friends were murdered at the 3rd floor information desk, a desk we regularly worked together.
As I ride the train and work in the Library, amidst professionals, students, welfare recipients, and homeless, I hear and see the insanity of a world controlled by sin. There is no peace. There is family conflict, arguments and fights, verbal and physical. I hear about lawsuits from new attorneys and the breakdown of government from government employees. I hear people bragging about their prison time with others who have been inside. I hear vulgar diatribes against the police, neighbors, lost friendships, parents, children, white and black people, anyone and everyone. I families disintegrate.
I and others have been reviled for reading a Bible and speaking about spiritual truth. I hear the gospel being told by some more concerned about the person’s eternal salvation than their personal comfort.
When I get to work I am before the public for most of the day. My work is a haven for the homeless and mentally compromised. Where else can they loiter for 10 hours without being told to leave? Most are quiet, staying under the radar. Some are angry, mentally deranged. It is not uncommon to see Police or Emergency Personnel in the building.
Many know the Library is a place to use the Internet all day, looking at movies, playing video games or immersing their hearts and minds in every kind of pornography.
Many come in with legitimate questions or needs. They want to fix something, anything from dinner to themselves, from cars to appliances, from grades to their jobs. Yet, much of the nonfiction collection in any public library has nothing to do with truth. Self-help books, magazines, audios, teach about how the world tries to fix what it cannot fix. Our world cannot fix itself.
Most of the people I see have no peace. Some try to fix their lack of peace without God. Others have relinquished control of themselves to themselves, or the world, or Satan, breaking all moral boundaries. They are academically or chemically bent and have given themselves permission to sin. Brief lulls in their internal war do nothing to make peace in their lives. The outward conflict may stop when they are passed out on the street, lost in an image, find themselves in a new relationship, distracted by anything, but the inner battle rages. I am surrounded by counterfeit lives leading to death.
“For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord. [Jeremiah 6:13-15 ESV]
How many people do we know whose inner peace is based on a lie? Religious ritual and idolatry fuels their lives, sustaining the perception of peace. Such people have curled into themselves. Their peace has no eternal value. Even its temporary value is suspect and tenuous.
To have peace with God means having no peace with the world. There may be a time where there is no conflict but the very presence of one at peace with God convicts and condemns which brings conflict. Worldly peace, however such peace is described, means no peace with God.