Gloria In Excelsis Deo

This is the Latin title of one of my favorite Advent hymns, one that is instantly familiar to those who have never darkened a church door. Music by J. S. Bach, lyrics by God. Well, God as given through the Holy Spirit to Luke, in Chapter 2:

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14″Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

This little bit of Scripture, part of just about everyone’s favorite Advent narrative, has a very serious and straightforward Reformed theological implication: God’s peace, in the person of Jesus, is not for all.

No, God is not in favor of war. But the absence of war is not the peace that God promises us. Fluffy Bunny Christians and their first cousins, secularists notwithstanding, the peace brought by Christ Jesus does not directly relate to warfare. And it most certainly is not for everyone. That last phrase in Luke 2:14 is the killer: “on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” This is a stumbling block for those whose knowledge of God only extends to His infinite mercy, and whose eyes are averted from God’s likewise unceasing justice.

As our Lord has said, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Are you among the sheep, or the goats?

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