Suggested further reading: Matthew 10:34-39
It is useless to expect universal peace and harmony from the
preaching of the gospel. The disciples were probably expecting
Messiah's kingdom to appear at once and for peace to begin to reign
(Isa. 11:9). Our Lord saw what was in their hearts and checked
their untimely expectations with a striking saying (v. 51).
There is something at first sight very startling in this saying.
It seems hard to reconcile it with the angelic promise of peace
(Luke 2:14). Yet startling as this saying sounds, it is one which facts
have proved literally true. Peace is undoubtedly the result of the
gospel wherever it is believed and received. But wherever there are
hearers of the gospel who are hardened, impenitent and determined to
have their sins, the very message of peace brings division. They that
are resolved to live for the world will always be evil affected
towards those that are resolved to serve Christ. We Maylament this state
of things, but we cannot prevent it. Grace and nature can no
more amalgamate than oil and water. So long as men are disagreed on
the first principles of religion, there can be no real cordiality
Thousands of well-meaning persons nowadays are
continually crying out for more `unity' amongst Christians. To attain this
they are ready to sacrifice almost anything, and to throw overboard
sound doctrine, if they can secure peace. Such people would do well
to remember that even gold May be bought too dear and that peace
is useless if purchased at the expense of truth.
Let us never be moved by those who charge the gospel with
being the cause of strife and divisions upon earth. It is not the
gospel that is to blame, but the corrupt heart of man. The self-willed
child refusing the medicine prescribed for its cure is at fault. So long
as some men and women will not repent and believe there must be
a division. To be surprised at it is the height of folly.
For meditation: Bishop Ryle's comments on the cry for
`church unity' could have been written today. Still a look of harmony
is sought and truth is the casualty. No agreement; no unity.