The reality that we’re living in a hostile world is becoming increasingly clear. It shouldn’t surprise us because history has given us ample examples and Jesus also foretold it. However, amidst the difficulties in an anti-Christian society, we can have genuine peace. It’s only found in Jesus’ victory.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Paul said: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). He wasn’t referring to our initial salvation—when we’re delivered from “the domain of darkness” and transferred to “the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). He referred to our ultimate salvation when we’ll be glorified. Until then there will be many tribulations.
Jesus had said the same: “In the world you will have tribulation.” These tribulations are also not referring to the “normal” troubles of life, living in a fallen world. Unbelievers encounter the same kinds of troubles. Both Jesus and Paul referred to a hostile world that follows “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2).
There’s no bed of roses for those who follow Jesus. Not at all! He clearly stated that there will be troubles when we believe in Him. Unfortunately, many times our faith is not very evident or outspoken in order to “solicit” these tribulations.
He didn’t just leave us with only tribulation. He also told us to “take heart”—to be encouraged. Why? The answer is clear: “I have overcome the world.” Whenever we’re afraid of the world’s hostility toward Christ and His body, perhaps believing we’re not able to stand firm, we’re to take heart because He has overcome the world. His victory is also the victory of His body—of all believers. That’s why we can have real peace in Christ amidst tribulation.
The hostile world seeks to destroy anything related to Christ, like of old: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us’” (Ps. 2:2-3). However, there’s also real peace amidst the spiritual warfare—the peace of Christ Himself.
That peace isn’t an illusion, but fully grounded and established in His glorious victory. That’s the peace He wants us to live in, as the old hymn states: “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay” (The Solid Rock).
The Devotional Writer
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