Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).
Basic training, field exercises, and actual combat build unity. Bands of brothers grow from such things. The bond of war is strong.
This is true not only for humans who wage war against each other. It applies, as well, to those who war against God. And of such, there are many.
They may be divided by nationalities and politics, by economic levels and languages. But they quickly unite when they have a chance to challenge the Holy One and defy his laws. How foolish! How tragic. To those who would fight against him, the warning is given: “Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the fearful presence of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty!” (Isaiah 2:10)
The holy God can easily destroy any who oppose him. He has done this to kings, to armies, to nations—and to legions of rebellious angels.
There is no chance of hiding from him. The only hope lies in his mercy.
That’s why the most important news of all time is God’s Christmas declaration to the human race: Your warfare is over!
We are not talking about a negotiated peace; a truce between antagonists; an armistice. This is the unilateral declaration of peace by the only one who can make it happen. This bond of peace has been established by heaven’s Prince of Peace.
The bond of war is strong. The bond of peace is stronger.
God’s bond of peace is woven with strands of red and white—of blood and purity. The holy blood of Jesus bought us this peace. It’s the peace that transcends all understanding.
Through his prophet he invites: “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
The Holy Spirit is the one who enables us to accept that offer. By Word and sacrament, he creates and sustains the faith that grabs hold of the lifeline thrown to us from heaven.
The Holy Spirit ties us to our Savior God with the blood-bought bond of peace. With the same bond, he ties together those who share that life-giving faith.
The Apostle Paul reminded the Ephesian Christians of the unity that was theirs. They had,
“…one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all…” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
That’s some unity! It’s the same unity that we possess.
Satan wants us to forget this. He points at the differences among us. We don’t always think the same. We don’t have the same personalities and backgrounds. We don’t always agree on issues.
The Holy Spirit would remind us that differences are not bad if they are not displeasing to the Lord. He made each one of us different so that we can complement each other. One person is strong in an area where another one is not. This makes the team stronger. It makes a family stronger.
And we are the family of God.
About us, we are told, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (I Corinthians 12:4-6).
The bond of war is strong. The bond of peace is stronger. We agree with those who have sung the words before us:
“Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.”
We make those words our own.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain, and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, MN
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military