They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 6:14 (ESV)
A church in decline surrounds herself with peace-mongers who war against her soul. She suppresses uncomfortable truths of God’s holiness and righteous anger against sin. All the while, soothing words of peace, comfort and assurance drip from the lips of those commissioned to lead God’s people to lasting peace and joy.
In Jeremiah’s day, the spiritual leaders of the people had given up on their duty. The task of priests and prophets was to teach the truth that God had taught them. In Jeremiah’s case, he was to proclaim God’s judgment over His sinful people (1:9-10, 6:1-13), warning them to flee from idols and cast themselves on the mercy of God. This was not a time for peace in Israel. They had rejected their God. His wrath was upon them, and they faced armies of men enacting His righteous judgment (vv. 4-8). Only by repenting at God’s fearsome warning could they once again have peace.
However, owing to their greed for unjust gain (v. 13), Israel’s leaders had left God’s warnings behind. Rather than proclaiming wrath, they quickly announced,“Peace!” Over the mortal wounds of God’s people the prophets placed band-aids, soothing assurances: “It’s only a graze! No harm done.” Their bedside manner was impeccable, their diagnosis damnable.
How many of today’s pastors step out of the pulpit with blood-caked hands? Congregations leave for home in a haze of anodyne assurances, little knowing that the man charged with being the physician of their souls is content with their spiritual ruin, providing that his church “prospers,” and membership is up on the previous quarter. Some claim that talk of sin and wrath will discomfort those in need and cause lasting psychological damage to the fragile and the helpless. So they peddle therapeutic remedies that serve only to poison those they would claim to heal.
The Church is crying out for pastors who will declare, with Paul, “the whole counsel of God.” They are called to be fearless diagnosticians. However, bad news is not an end in itself. The prophet’s work is not done until he has shown the way of life. Yes, it is his solemn duty to expose the false “peace” of the charlatans. But it is his joyful privilege to also proclaim, “Peace, peace!” over the marvellous grace and work of Christ in the hearts of His transformed people.
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050