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, good will toward men.
Where is peace in this world? The War in the Mideast has the potential of becoming a worldwide crisis. People are living lives that are in direct opposition to God’s Word. It seems people are hurting more than ever. Where is the peace on earth the angels proclaimed? It is critical to understand that the angels were not proclaiming peace among men.
Jesus said as much in Matthew 10:34.
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
The angels were praising God because Jesus would bring peace on earth between God and man. They were proclaiming the end of God’s war on sin. This would be accomplished by Jesus taking our sin into His own body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) and thoroughly paying the sin debt that we owed (Romans 6:23).
Sin had separated man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). God loved sinful man despite his sin. But because He was holy, He had to punish sin just as He had promised Adam in Genesis 2:17. Under the Old Covenant, the Lord allowed men to substitute the death of an animal for their own death. But that was only symbolic and a shadow of the perfect sacrifice for our sins that was to come (Hebrews 10:1). In a way, under the Old Covenant, God forgave sin on credit.
But with the birth of Jesus, the real debt would be paid in full. There would be an end of God’s wrath toward those who would put faith in Jesus’s sacrifice for their sins. This was why the angels were praising the birth of Jesus! And we should be praising what Jesus has done for us!
What does Scripture say?
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).
“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15).
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).
The war is over for those who accept God’s gift of salvation. Jesus completely paid for all our sins over two thousand years ago before we were even born or had ever sinned. When we believe in Jesus Christ's atonement for our sins, we are sanctified through the offering of Jesus’s body once and for all (Hebrews 10:10). By His one offering for our sins, we have been perfected forever (Hebrews 10:14). All of our sin debt has been paid (Colossians 2:12-14), and we are forgiven for all our sins.
I pray for you, as a believer in Jesus Christ, that the message of the angels will take on new meaning this Christmas. You have peace with God through faith in His grace (Romans 5:1-2).
And for you who don't know Him? Jesus is God’s greatest gift to you! I pray that you hunger to receive the grace of Jesus in your heart and to know His forgiveness that sets you free.