IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: PEACE TO MEN OF GOODWILL!
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
What an exquisite sound must have greeted their ears, when that immense celestial chorus joined that angelic messenger, as the entire host of angels lit up the night sky, and broke forth into their thrilling song of rejoicing, “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men – with whom God is pleased.”
The good news this angelic choir delivered was for ALL humanity, for God loved the whole world so much that He gave His only begotten Son into the world, to be the sacrifice for the sin of the world – so that everyone in the world who would believe on Him would not remain at enmity with God, but would be forgiven of their sin, regain fellowship with the Father and receive life everlasting.
This message of goodwill to all men, is particularly remembered when we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus, and recall the beautiful story of a young virgin and her espoused husband, who were entrusted with the upbringing of God’s only begotten Son – Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
But the true message that was shared on that Bethlehem hillside, was that these good tidings which spoke of joy to mankind and peace on earth were for a particular group of people. The good tidings of great joy and lasting peace about which the angels sang, were for MEN OF GOODWILL. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men – the MEN, with whom God is pleased. Peace on earth to people who enjoy God’s favour.” We read that on earth there will be peace… among men of goodwill. God has promised peace to men with whom the Lord is well-pleased – those that are saved by grace through faith in Christ.
Men of Good Will
Many listeners today have a problem with hearing “men” of good will. And that’s why the official English version “sanitizes” the text to make it palatable to the general public. But the truth is, political correctness and theological correctness are mutually exclusive; you can’t serve two masters. Moreover, if the general public learned some Latin there wouldn’t be a problem.
The Latin word homines is a generic term referring to both men and women, in contrast to the Latin word, vir, for a man—a male hominus, so to speak—and the word, femina, for a woman. So when English translates homines as “men” it means both males and females. And notice that the Latin text of the Gloria never refers at all to “people” (which, in Latin, has its own word, populus). No, the Latin text says men of good will, and for good reason.
What are men of good will? Well, the only good will is God’s will, so “men of good will” are those persons, both male and female, who do God’s will, keeping His commandments in reverent obedience and living in chastity of body and soul. They aren’t “all people,” but rather they are a special sort of people, the ones who pray to the Father, “Thy will be done”—and really mean it in their hearts, rather than just say the words along with all the other “people.”
But notice that we are all men of free will, also. This means that to do God’s will is to, well, to will it. It’s a voluntary sort of thing. And that is the core of the problem with peace on earth.
Willing to do God’s Will
PEACE is given only to those individuals of good will; that is, those who will to do God’s will. Peace isn’t something that God can just hand us on a silver platter simply because we are all His “people.” After all, if God made us do something against our will it wouldn’t be a genuine act of love.
Therefore peace—mental, spiritual, or social—really depends on freely willing to do God’s will.
We cannot have peace by trying to build it as an end in itself.
We cannot have peace by trying to follow a conscience uninformed by the Magisterium of the Church or the word of God.
No, we shall have peace only through obedience to God by using our free will to empty ourselves of all that is not God’s will.
Even the Holy Spirit cannot make us do God’s will. We have to respond to divine grace by willing to do God’s will. Then the Holy Spirit can give us the courage, the strength, and the guidance to do God’s will.
Charity releases the spirit of joy and peace. Sharing shows love and goodwill and helps builds lasting peace. Lasting peace is a gift from God to men and women of goodwill. The principles of peace, based on goodwill, teach us not to look down on others, especially the poor and needy.
Love, justice and goodwill are necessary conditions for peace. Peace is not only the absence of worry, war and misunderstanding. The presence of worry, war and misunderstanding cannot negate peace; peace, rather, is the presence of goodwill in the heart and prayer is the key to goodwill.
Finally, let me read to you Isaiah 59:8. The way of peace they have not known. Why? Because there is no justice in their ways. If the world wants to find peace, there is no other way than to walk on the path of justice, of righteousness. And this righteousness is found only in Christ, who is our righteousness.
So understand deeply this fundamental principle, that in the spiritual world, peace and righteousness cannot be separated. Where there is holiness, there is peace. Where there is sin, there is turmoil and restlessness. This coming Christmas, don’t just pray ‘Peace on earth’, but Peace on earth to those in whom God is pleased. And God is pleased only with people who are righteous. These are the people who will have peace. This is the message of the angels.
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