In Luke, as Zechariah the High Priest for that year entered the Holy of Holies, he met the angel Gabriel and was struck dumb in unbelieving faith that his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a baby, John the Baptist, who would bring peace to the World for he would make the way straight for the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. Zechariah and his wife were good and righteous people, obeying the laws and doing diligently offerings to God. Doing the sacrifice is not a test of God per say, or just following the law, but necessary to cleanse the nation from sin. The sacrifice look to the future of the Son of God being sacrificed once and for all.
Everyone is not equal. There is firstly, an innate separation between a righteous God, and a fallen mankind. Only at the centre of the Cross, can we find peace, a return to the God of Israel by accepting God’s love in Christ Jesus. Love alone cannot bridge the gap between God and fallen man. Just as man made a freewill decision to rebel against God, there needs to be a freewill decision to return to God. We cannot attain equality by realising that we are equal but by loosing ourselves in the Love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Only at the centre of the Cross of Calvary are we safe if we hide in Jesus Christ, passing through judgement and receiving all of God’s grace, love and mercy as a child of God, adopted and bought into the family of God through Jesus Christ.
Two thousand years later, the world is seemingly not at peace. But in reality, it was even worst in the days of Zechariah. Then, the Romans have conquered the land, and threatening to bring in their pagan gods. The religious freedom in Israel in Jerusalem was threatened. Two thousand years later some even blame the evangelical Christians for supporting Israel, but conveniently forgotten that the Romans, the Arabs, The Persians, and the Ottomans have effectively ravaged Jerusalem, and removed the Jewish people, and so they jointly voted against Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel at the United Nations. The evangelicals are honoring Israel for their faithfulness to abide by the God of Israel.
It is said that for the last two thousand years, religion has been a cause of wars, and some even ingeniously proclaimed that God is not a Christian God. But the truth remained that the Jews suffered for their faith and allegiance to the God of Israel. And John proclaimed Jesus Christ, as God incarnate, the Messiah. The world and her many religious faith have been rejecting Christ and there has been wars in the name of religion. Even the mainline Christian church is fallen and has rejected the centrality of Christ to worship their own intellect, their own goodness, the good works of the law to love others, to worship the Pope, Mary and the Saints. But there can be no doubt, for the world and even mainline Christianity has denied Jesus Christ, as the Son of the living God, the way and truth to God.
From the very beginning of Creation, after the fall, God never revealed His face to mankind. Moses who represented the law, only saw God from the back. Religion is essentially the law, following a series of rules. True Christianity is not a religion, but faith that God is incarnate through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who has the fullness of God. To say that God is not a Christian God, essentially is denying Jesus Christ as God for there is no other name given to man for which one can be saved. Religion cannot see God. Only in Jesus Christ, we can see God.
Christianity is not about joining a church, but about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Religion essentially is groping in the dark, in an unknown God at best, but at worst worshipping pagan demonic deities. To proclaim that religions is essentially about love is denying reality and harm because religion talks about inward effort whilst at the Cross, the Work of Christ is finished.
The whole world is not saved. Even though all are dearly beloved Children of God, God divides those who aligns with Jesus and those who aligns with Satan. Satan has a legal right to condemn us of our sin, unless we are indeed Christians, stand and washed by the blood of the lamb. God, in His love, cannot just wipe away our sins. Just as it is our free choice to rebel against God and join Satan, it is our free choice to come back to God through Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour. We may not be perfect, but in Christ, all our sins, past, current and future is forgotten and forgiven.
At the Cross, there is Shalom. Completeness for the love of God, is joined with the Judgement of a Righteous God. Christ died so that we need not die for our sins. The loving God of Israel provided a way out, but sinful man, and religions of the world rejected the love of God which came through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. That is why the Cross is so abhorent to many.
To proclaim that division is of Satan is bad theology for there is already an innate separation between a righteous God and a fallen man. For we are only truly united, in the person of Christ Jesus, and not because we do the works of love. All our works of love is rotten compared to the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. The people of this world are in legal captive. The strong man has right over them. The love of God is through Jesus Christ whom they must accept so that the power of the strong man is bound, for Jesus Christ legally brought us back from Satan at the Cross.
What is Shalom? Shalom is having peace, being safe in all our being under the shadows of the wings of Almighty God. It is not some vague returning of “what should have been” but being complete, completely at peace with both the love of God at one hand and the judicial demands of a righteous God on the other hand.
There are many gay churches where peace is sought but there will be no inward peace because there is no completeness. There is a sense of the love of God because we are a child of God, but this love will be forever mysterious without Christ being the centre of God’s love, friendship and relationship. Liberals abhor the notion of “What a Friend we have in Jesus” because for them God is love forgetting that love came through Jesus Christ, and we have only peace in Jesus Christ, not even following Christ, but in Christ just as Noah was saved for being in the Ark.
Only in the very centre of the Ark, in the very centre of the Cross, in the body of Christ broken body, will there be peace. Because we are in the shadows of God’s Almighty wings, covered and protected. Because Jesus Christ died and rose again, we are purchased by the blood of the lamb. We have peace because the strongman has no longer legal jurisdiction and rights over us. We are free not because we realised everyone if equal, but because Christ paid for our freedom. We now have peace, inward peace, knowing that we are safe in Christ and neither death nor harm can separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus, who awaits us in our heavenly mansion.
It is not sufficient for Gay Christians to only know that they are beloved of God, but that they are no longer separate of God, and that their peace is completed because it is brought with a very heavy price of the death of the Son of God. All God asks us is to apply, to receive that peace so previously brought at the Cross of Calvary. Religion and works of law cannot help us. We can only have true peace, just like John, resting and doing nothing in the bosom of Jesus. And peace came down, at the Cross of Calvary, when Jesus came back from the death, risen again so that we in Christ can rise again into the peace of God.
We all yearned to have peace, to be saved, to be complete especially the gay community, peace with themselves, peace with God, and accepted in Jesus Christ. Today the word of God is that we need not strive, need not obey this and that man-made religious laws, but with an open arms and open heart receive Jesus Christ into our heart. He longs to come into our lives, into our heart, to make our lives complete so that we can be united back with God. True peace is at the centre of the Cross of Calvary between the nail pierced hands of Jesus Christ. There all of God’s judgement is place on His Son. When Jesus Christ arose, all of God’s grace, love and mercy for His Son comes through to Us because we became a child of God by adoption into Christ Jesus.
Shalom, Be at peace. Be embraced by the nail scared hands of Jesus Christ. Peace and safety is found hidden in Jesus Christ at the very centre of the Cross of Calvary. No more are we separated from a loving God, but we are now a child of God, our peace and safety hidden in Christ, being bought by Jesus death at the Cross.