Luke 12 v 51. Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”


One of the common criticisms against Christianity is that religion causes wars and troubles. There is, of course, truth in this statement in a broad sense. But two things must be distinguished. Religion that is rooted in or associated with a national identity is easily stirred up to violence. That is why Christians often try to point out that Christianity, truly understood, is not a religion in the commonly accepted understanding of the term.


A second consideration is that Christianity represents divine truth and also divine claims. Human nature on the other hand rejects these things. The result is that there is a different kind of religious strife that occurs, which is not the same as the wars, bombings and blood shed involved in other religious wars. Rather the hostility is not of Christians against society but of society against the truth of God as represented by Christians.


Jesus knew very well this would happen hence his words quoted above. People often are confused by this turn of events. After all, they argue, was Jesus not the Prince of Peace? Did he not come to proclaim peace to all nations? In truth, He did not, and this view of what Christians stand for is based on ignorance and misunderstanding of the Christian message.


The peace that Jesus came to proclaim is not a magical recipe where we could all live in great tolerance of each other, rather it was that the state of war between humans and God is ended. By his death on the Cross he makes it possible for men and women to be reconciled to God and for the state of hostility and hatred we have toward him, and indeed the hostility that His holiness has toward our sin, to be ended and for us to be reconciled to our Heavenly Father. For this to happen it was imperative that Jesus should die for the sins of the world and become a ransom for us.


The Christian message is so startling that other’s cannot accept it. For one, if it is true, it means that everything that they have believed needs to be jettisoned. They were wrong. And for another, it means that to continue in rebellion against God means certain judgement. This is an insufferable breach of human autonomy and a stiff blow to human pride. Hence the world will not put up with it with serious consequences which we will consider tomorrow.