Celebrating the Arrival: God with us Part 1, Wonderful Counselor Part 2, Mighty God Part 3, & Everlasting Father Part 4
This title may be my favorite from Isaiah 9. It’s filled with gospel expectancy. The question it immediately brings to mind is how does Jesus's arrival bring peace to mankind? Hear what the angels say when they announce the arrival of Jesus:
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14).
I love how the KJV renders this announcement “[O]n earth peace, good will toward men.” Again there’s a gospel expectancy because the question of how isn’t explicit answered. This advent proclamation of peace is the foundation for Paul’s theology on justification. Without this proclamation there’s no justification! Paul expounds on the how of peace:
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 (Ephesians 2:13-16 see also Ephesians 6:14-15 “the gospel of peace” bold mine).
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:19-20 bold mine)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2 bold mine).
It’s in Paul’s magnum opus the letter to the Romans that he makes the connection undeniable between peace and justification. When someone asks Paul How can a righteous God make peace with man through Jesus? Paul would say (in shorthand) justification. Therefore, the proclamation of Jesus as King is not in any way opposed to a robust exposition of justification.
What’s more study the ministry of Jesus--it’s centralized around bringing peace to those who are sinners, sick, abused, & destitute. While reading through any of the gospels, one might ask How can God be righteous and allow Jesus to go around touching the sick and forgiving sins of people that they didn’t commit against him? the answer would bring he brings peace through justification by blood of the cross. So sinners and saints wait with expectancy for your Prince of Peace. His arrivals marks the proclamation of good tidings for everyone who God is pleased with through peace with God by the blood of his Son!!
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
(Charles Wesley "Hark the Herald Angel")