Morning Reading for April 27

Luke 12:49-53
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 among them.

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.

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