It's hard to imagine how wonderful it felt to be alive on V-E Day, after enduring years of darkness from WWII. We can watch movies about it, read books, and use our imaginations, but only those who lived it really know what it was like.
Check it out this amazing picture. (article continues below)
The joy and relief in their faces is palpable.
Now, imagine how arrogant I would sound if I spoke with someone from this picture who was still alive and lectured them about the falsehood of their liberation, how their joy and relief from that day was all a farce, and that they have nothing to celebrate.
Yet that's how people have treated me on occasion when I would explain the freedom -- the true rest from war -- that I've experienced in my faith relationship with Christ, the only Prince of Peace there is, the only One capable of giving us rest from the spiritual war that rages in our hearts and human natures. I say "only One" for two reasons: 1) Jesus Himself said that He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father [i.e. has a personal relationship with God Himself] except through Him"; and 2) of all the world religions, Jesus was the only one who claimed that it was impossible, using our own efforts of good works and "being good people," to end the war of sin in our hearts. Like a doctor telling a patient that he must surrender to the surgeon's hand or die from disease -- i.e. we're incapable of healing ourselves -- Jesus taught that only faith in Him, and only direct, supernatural intervention from Him in our hearts, can break the power of sin.
It becomes difficult discussing this with our modern culture mainly because of the word "sin." Our secular world doesn't really understand the concept of sin or give it much weight -- unless it's used in a joke.
The word "sin" -- for one thing -- isn't religious at all, really. It's an archery term, pure and simple. The word is used in archery when the archer misses the target with their arrow.
Have you ever had a secular person -- somebody who scoffed at the idea of God and sin -- become irate at you when you broke a rule of theirs? For example, they are extremely protective of the cleanliness of their car, and they forbid food, and you forget and spill food, and the look on their face is like God amidst the fire of Mt. Sinai when He found them worshiping the golden calf.
The person wanted to smite you, in other words.
Why? Because you sinned. They set up an archery target of their own design -- cleanliness in their car -- and you missed the target. You sinned.
The entire premise of the Bible is that the Creator has created an absolute standard -- the Mother of all Archery Targets, the Archery Targets of Archery Targets -- that is the fount of all smaller archery targets, the little moral rules we create for our little moral worlds. In fact, the Bible says that the human spirit gets its compulsion to make archery targets (rules) because of its innate sense of God's Ultimate Archery Target.
Without Christ, our hearts do not even have the option to hit His target. We are "slaves to sin," as if we were slaves to a mentality that intentionally misses the target. When Christ lives in our hearts, however, He breaks the power of sin's monarchy over us, and -- if we willingly allow His Spirit to stir in the depths of our spirits -- we can finally start aiming and hitting His target through the power and the supernatural "righteousness" (the ability to hit the target) of Christ.
Peace is not the cessation of all physical armed conflict on the earth. True peace is being freed from the slavery of sin.