Jeremy Sarber

What is the gospel of peace?

God saves us not only to know Christ and become like him but also to be joined together in his body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

Biblical Christianity doesn’t exist in isolation, and it never thrives when fractured. Along these lines, Charles Spurgeon once said:

Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.

I pray that you can see the vital significance of Christian unity. We live in a hostile, divisive world, but the church should stand apart as a beacon of peace. If anyone can achieve unity, it should be disciples of Jesus. In fact, Jesus said, By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

Even the secular world around us craves peace. How many songs have they written about the subject? Do you remember that song from the Eighties, We Are the World”? Everyone from Michael Jackson to Bob Dylan came together to sing these words: Let’s realize that a change can only come when we stand together as one.”

But wait a minute,” you say. You’re not suggesting that everyone join hands and sing Kumbaya,’ are you?” I wish we would, but no, that’s not what I’m saying. Kumbaya” is a song calling on God to come by here—that’s what kum bay ya means—and help us.

Even God desires all people to be saved, but we know that the Bible doesn’t teach universalism (1Ti 2:4). Not every person will be saved. Not every person is willing to join hands, not under God-given conditions anyhow.

There’s an overarching principle that we should keep in mind. According to Ephesians 1, redemption’s grand conclusion is the unity of all things. Again, Paul says, According to his purpose, which God set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth (Eph 1:9-10).

Complete and perfect unity is where human history is headed which is a process that has begun already. According to Ephesians 2, God is rescuing people from every tribe, language, and nation from this fallen, broken world. No matter where they started, God joins them together in a single structure, a single family. Praise God.

In turn, Paul implores us to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3). He says:

Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)

So the principle to remember is this: We are striving for unity because unity is the master plan of God. Why does Paul refer to the gospel as the gospel of peace? (Eph. 6:15). It is because the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ reconciling sinners to both God and one another.