Shalom is used as a greeting and is commonly translated as “peace”. But the Hebrew word for “shalom” encompasses more than just an absence of conflict; rather, it conveys wholeness, justice and completeness, and has a rich idea of a fully restored creation, a perfected world that God had intended it to be. We know that shalom can only come from God:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (NKJV, Romans 5:1–2, 8–10)
Shalom includes reconciliation and justice. Therefore, when we consider justice, it involves restoring broken relationships with people and with systems and structures. We live in a broken world and we too, are ourselves broken. First we need to recognize that we often fall into the trap of self-righteousness thinking that we are just and good. We fail to see our own acts of injustice and that it is Jesus Christ who was judged in our place. At the cross, Jesus Christ judged our sins and at the same time, He took upon Himself the judgment that should have been ours (Isaiah 64:6, 2 Cor 5:21 & Col 1:19-22). We have experienced both the justice and mercy of Christ in our lives. Only when we acknowledge our own brokenness and our need for Christ can we participate in God’s work of restoration of our broken world. Second, as we experience God’s continued work of transformation and restoration in our lives, we do our part to bring shalom to our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (NKJV, Acts 1:8).
In Micah 6:8, we read what God requires of mankind: “He has shown you, O man, what is good, And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (NKJV)
We want to bring shalom to our community and this includes both the Christian community as well as to pre-believers. We are not in our particular communities and circumstances by chance – God has placed us there for a purpose, to bring shalom to the people we interact with and the systems and structures we work within. Let us be a Christ light in our respective spheres.
We look forward to the day that the whole creation will be brought into alignment with God’s will, and complete restoration occurs.
“And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” (NKJV, Rev 22:1-5)
Till then, may we be found faithful.
By Rebecca Ang (YCKC Bulletin 10&11 December 2016)