True peace from justice

What is peace? For many people, peace means the absence of conflict. That’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Adjusted for inflation to today’s dollars, World War II cost more than $4 trillion. Why would America spend all that money to end conflict? Wouldn’t the nation save untold dollars and American lives just by staying out of the fight?

The United States joined the war after Japan attacked it, that’s true. But it also declared war against Nazi Germany and Italy. There were three nations in what was called the “Axis.” We called it an “Axis of evil,” and fought against all three countries for a reason: they were doing things America considered to be fundamentally and morally wrong.

Peace, therefore, is not just the absence of conflict. It is the presence of justice. After World War II, there were trials for war crimes committed. When the defendants challenged the authority for bringing charges and prosecuting those crimes, the military attorneys justified the actions of the U.S. saying there was a higher law involved. Achieving peace is never by victory alone. There has to be justice for violations of a higher law.

Isaiah, by the inspiration of God, wrote about this higher law and its lawgiver in Isaiah chapter 11. He wrote in two verses about a person who would come and bring righteousness with him. The meaning of that word is simple: it is right doing according to God’s law, the higher law.

The result of right doing in Isaiah’s eleventh chapter is peace (Isaiah 11:4-11). The Christ would come and establish peace by creating justice. He would show people how to do what is right in God’s sight and how to achieve it through a system of obedient faith in him (Galatians 3:26-27).

If we want peace in our lives, then we must obey the one who brought justice and peace to the world through his teaching of obedient faith. Christ is the only one who can provide real peace. To have peace, however, we must carefully obey his word. If we love him, we will (John 14:15).