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Ruling in Peace

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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.

Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised.  The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.  Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh.  May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.  Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

There are going to be times and situations that arise in our kingship with Christ where we are going to have to lay down the rules for people to follow according to what Christ has said.  This is what Paul is speaking about in Galatians 6:12-16.  The problem Paul was facing here was the perceived idea that people were still to circumcise males according to the law.  Paul understood that the law no longer mattered because of the new covenant in Christ, which abolished the law given through Moses.  The main problem for Paul was that he was fighting against those who wanted to hang onto the teachings of the law with those of Christ, mixing the old and new wines together and against those who wanted to keep the peace between the old and new covenants.  These are the practices of the Nicolaitans that Jesus hates.

James the Younger in Acts 15 handed down a recommendation for all Gentiles who follow Christ to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.  You will do well to avoid these things.  This was not a ruling with authority!  What did any of these things have to do with the Gospel of Christ?  What were they thinking?  They were totally off track, and were not based on what Jesus said.  We need to be able to recognise a ruling with the authority of Christ compared to a ruling from a man.

The pressure on men to make peace with each other is what blurred the line between the old and new covenants.  It is when the people who believed Jesus came into a confrontational situation about adherence to the law, that they realised the growing pressure from those who hung onto the law was a threat to them, so they made peace with the Jews of the old covenant.  The pressure they were under was similar to birth pains, the new coming out of the old.

The ruling Paul made was neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything…  We also must be able to make such rulings, as this is a part of kingship.  We must lay the rulings down for others in the body of Christ, and the rulings we make are to be according to what Jesus has said, not to please men.

Jesus said, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:  ‘These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.  They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

The early church let go of what was spoken by Christ, and began to worship God in their vain imaginations, going back to what their forefathers did in their presumption of the law.  We must understand that there was nothing wrong in the law, and the fact that Jesus fulfilled the law proves this.  The law was given by God, and since God is perfect, the law is perfect.  The only problem was that men worshipped God in peace with each other, and not in peace with God, and compromised on God’s word, and the church followed in compromising on Jesus’ word.  There is no compromise on the ‘complete words of Jesus’ in any form, but it takes a full comprehension of the complete words of Jesus in the flesh, heart, mind, soul, spirit, faith and motives of God and not of man to come to the full revelation of the word of God.  This is accomplished in the continual reading and practicing of the words spoken by Jesus.

As it is written:  “He will rule them with an iron scepter…” so the rulings we form from Jesus’ words will be the iron scepter that we place on the people to keep peace with Jesus Who will reign over the whole earth.

But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand.  Whoever touches thorns uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear; they are burned up where they lie.  As mentioned in ‘Provoking Peace’, the thorns and briers are in the vineyard of the LORD, and are those who do not produce the fruit that the land owner requires.  These fruitless thorns and briers are in the church and are to be handled by an iron tool, and burned up where they lie.  The iron tools are the ruling of Christ that we are to lay down; the words of Jesus will burn and consume them.  Remember that these thorns will push into your flesh and pierce you, and the briers will try to tear your flesh if no iron tool is used.  The rulings you lay down will allow you to manage them, and the words of Jesus will consume their arguments, which they use against you.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Before, I have spoken on ‘The heart of peace, in reference to a person’s body.’  Figuratively, this can also mean the body of Christ, which is the members of the church.  If God the Father did not spare the physical body of Christ from being whipped, why would we presume that we, the body of Christ as the church, should be spared?  If sin found in Jesus by the Father brought no peace to the Father, and Christ received the punishment for our sins, why should the body of Christ which is made up of the church, be in peace with God, if there is only peace with the sin of the world in the body of Christ?  It was the sin of the world found in Jesus that caused His sentence of death by the Father.  If peace is made with men to please them rather than God, and this sin is found in the body of Christ, how can the body have the life promised by Jesus found in it?  A heart of peace gives life to the body…  My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and will bring you prosperity.  We are to keep our Lord’s commands in our hearts, and it is when these commands are in our hearts and our hearts are at peace with God, that life will come to the body of Christ, which includes your own physical body, then the life that Jesus promised will manifest.  It is our own desires, which do not allow our hearts to be at peace.

Once this is achieved in our own bodies, we can then achieve this in the body of Christ.  To do this in the body of Christ requires us to achieve the peace of Christ in the hearts of all members and parts of the body of Christ.  As Jesus Christ is the peace offering of God to all mankind, we first are to reconcile all parts of the body together as individuals who follow Jesus only.  Then all parts may work independently of each other under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  The rules we lay down are to conform to the words spoken by Jesus and we are to lay down the rules in the body of Christ as per the words of Jesus, and no other name but Jesus Christ.

This requires us to rule our hearts according to the peace offered by God through Jesus, or God Himself will rule over us by His own words.  So, we need to be responsible for the peace in our hearts and rule over our hearts’ desires as individuals and for others in the body of Christ, they are to learn how to rule over their own hearts’ desires to bring peace to the body of Christ.  It should be understood that the desires of each person’s heart are uniquely different from everyone else.  This means that the desires of my heart will not be the same as anyone else’s.  How can there be peace if our hearts are all uniquely different?  As we were all made in the image of God our Father, the only peace that we individually will find is peace with our Father, because all has come from Him.  Those who are thorns and briers in the body of Christ will be burned with fire from the LORD if they don’t repent of their own hearts’ desires, and will be removed from the body of Christ so that the body can be in peace with the Father.  Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for “our God is a consuming fire.”

A mature son or daughter of Christ will be able to rule over his or hers own hearts’ desires, thus bringing peace to the Father through Jesus in the body of Christ.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure the peace in our hearts is according to what Jesus has spoken.  If not, then God will rule over us to bring peace to His own heart.  For God said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”  Understand that God will be merciful unto Himself, to bring peace to His own heart, and will remove anything that takes away His peace.

Peace be with you.

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