What does peace mean in Christianity
According to the biblical understanding, "peace" (Hebrew: "shalom") does not simply mean the absence of war, but much more: comprehensive happiness, health and well-being of the individual and the community, successful life in successful relationships - with other people, with oneself and to God (see especially Psalm 72). The word "shalom" comes from the ancient oriental environment of the Bible and describes the state of "salvation" and well-being.
In the Old Testament, "peace" is encountered as a blessing formula (Exodus / Exodus 4:18), especially when parting: A person should go in peace (2 Samuel 15.9) or return (Genesis 28:21). It is a special grace when a person is allowed to die in peace after a long and fulfilled life (Genesis 15:15). But peace also indicates the state of an intact social structure, i.e. free from exploitation and oppression. Peace, justice and state power (Isaiah 60: 7-18) are closely related. Psalm 85:11 says that peace and righteousness kiss.
Peace as a successful relationship with God is of fundamental importance for all other relationships. Life in peace is only possible where God is honored and his legal and life orders are preserved (Leviticus 26: 3-6; Psalm 85: 9-14; Psalm 119: 165; Psalm 147: 10-14; Isaiah 32: 15-18; Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 57:21).
In the New Testament, "peace" is above all the restoration of the relationship with God that has been disturbed by guilt and the comprehensive salvation that results from it (Luke 1.79; Luke 2.14; Acts 10:36). Jesus Christ "is the one who brought peace to us all" (Ephesians 2:14; cf. Micah 5,4), because through his death on the cross the disturbed relationship between people and God is restored.
The people of the Old and New Testaments greet and say goodbye by wishing "peace" to one another. With this greeting, the messengers sent by Jesus convey the peace that God creates by establishing his kingdom through Jesus (Luke 10: 5-6; cf. Matthew 10: 12-13). When Jesus, risen from the dead, wishes his disciples peace (Luke 24:36; John 20:19; John 20:21; John 20:26) or when Paul does this to the congregations at the beginning of his letters (e.g. Romans 1: 7; 1 Corinthians 1: 3), it is about the peace that God has given the world through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
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