Pax exists to promote the peace of Jesus in the 21st century. The Hebrew word that best describes the type of peace our organization strives for is Shalom. Shalom is the perfection of God’s creation: a state in which all parties are able to flourish in relationship to one another in the fullness of who and what God has made them. Shalom communicates God’s ideals and design; a creation marked by unconditional love, peace, justice, wholeness, and flourishing.
Story of Pax
Shalom is the perfection of God’s creation; a state in which all parties are able to flourish in relationship to one another in the fullness of who and what God has made them.
Pax = Shalom
We believe that God is the author of Pax and that Pax is essential to life. Pax is inherently relational, as peace and justice cannot be known in isolation, and God has invited us to co-labor with him in this pursuit. As God restores our dignity and sets right the relationship between us and God, we in turn reflect the image of God in the world by restoring Pax (1) within ourselves, (2) within our communities, (3) between us and the systems and structures that govern, & (4) between us and all of creation.
Establishment of Pax
God established a world flowing with peace and justice.
At the beginning of human history, God looks out over creation and says that it is very good (Gen. 1:31). There is a perfect relationship between God and humans. There is a perfect relationship between humans and their surroundings. There is no pain, death, suffering, injustice, or hunger. The first humans are made in God’s Image. They are called to reflect God’s love, justice, and Pax into the world. Adam and Eve experience the completeness and the perfect interconnectedness of all of creation. This is the way things are meant to be in the world.
Disruption of Pax
Humanity disrupts the peace and justice God established.
Early on in human history, as the book of Genesis outlines, Adam and Eve decide to act outside of their design. They disobey God, feel shame for the first time, and hide themselves from God (Gen 3:8). The perfect Pax that God established was disrupted because of sin. And, as Paul summarizes, sin leads to death (Rom 5:12; 6:23), which is the opposite of Pax.
As the story of human history unfolds, we see a disruption in the relationship between God and humans (Gen 3:17-19), between people (Gen 3:15), and between humans and the rest of creation. We also see a severing of relationships with our own bodies, our very selves (Gen 3:14-19). The life that God intended for the created order devolves into death and decay (Gen 3:19). These are all the result of sin (i.e., living outside of our original design).
However, from the book of Genesis onward, God initiates a plan of renewal and rescue. The plan of rescue is initiated through a man named Abraham, through whom God promises that all nations will be blessed (Gen 12:1-3). God’s people, Abraham’s descendents, the people of Israel, embark on a journey that includes periods of slavery, liberation, wandering in the wilderness, inheritance of the promised land, adopting a system of kings, and eventual exile. All along the way, God provides glimpses of Pax, and God also promises to fully restore the Pax that was lost in the garden. The prophets all speak of a person that will be the key to restoring the Pax of God.
Climax of Pax
Shalom is restored through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
When the New Testament is written, Israel is under the weight of the Roman Empire, oppressed and subjugated in their own land. It is a dark moment in the life of Israel; they have not heard a word from God or God’s prophets in 400 years. God’s people are longing for justice, peace, and salvation to be restored. The world longs for the Pax of God. Jesus is born into this world to recover what was lost in the garden. He comes to reconcile humanity's relationship with God, restore human relationships, and create a movement of Pax in the world.
Jesus shows the world how to display the image of God in a broken world. Jesus shows everyone through his life and teachings how to restore the Pax of God. He embodies on the cross, in his self-emptying death, the very things he taught during his life. Jesus proclaims good news for the widow, the orphan, the poor, and those from the margins of society (Luke 4:14-30). Scandalously, Jesus offers Pax to his enemies, to those who oppress, marginalize, and discredit him. Perhaps most scandalously from our perspective, Jesus calls all his followers to do the same.
Through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross (Col 1:19) and resurrection, God set about reconciling all things back to himself (2 Cor 5:19). Jesus's resurrection is the answer to sin and death (1 Cor 15:17; Rom 4:25; 1 Pet 1:3), and we now have the opportunity to be ambassadors of God’s Pax (2 Cor 5:19-20)!
Through the power of the Spirit, our organization lives in the space between the climax and consummation of Pax.
Consummation of Pax
King Jesus returns to renew all things once and for all.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus returns to earth and confronts the empires of the world. Jesus speaks of a time when those who choose to reject God will no longer be able to victimize the poor, dominate the weak, or reject the Image of God (Imago Dei) that resides within them. The perfection of God’s creation will be made possible by the return of King Jesus to earth.
The Pax that was lost in the garden and reclaimed powerfully through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus will one day be consummated by God in Jesus’ ultimate return.
The author, John, writes, “The dwelling place of God is with people. God will dwell with them, and they will be God’s people, and God himself will be with them as their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of water of life without payment’” (Rev 21:3-6).
We exist to live into the inevitable return of Jesus on earth and help wipe tears, confront evil, and share Jesus with a hurting world.
We exist to live in response to the birth, life, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. We exist to shine light on the path forward towards joining in with Jesus in the restoration of all things.
Will you join us?
Meaning - What is conveyed through the cross of Jesus
Method - The technique by which God accomplishes Pax
PAX exists to promote the peace of Jesus in the 21st century. The Hebrew word that best describes the type of peace our organization strives for is Shalom. Shalom is the perfection of God’s creation and often is used to communicate God’s perfect love, peace, and justice.
We believe that God is the author of Pax and that Pax is essential to life. We believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus provide the means of salvation as well as the method by which Christians are called to foster Pax in the world. The culmination of Pax (i.e., Jesus' death & resurrection) not only saves humans, but also teaches us, as God’s people, how we must foster Pax in the world.
Meaning of the Cross
We look to the meaning of the cross for our power and hope in a world longing for the Pax of God.
Through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, we behold the climax of Pax. But what is the meaning of the cross? Over the centuries, followers of Jesus have debated this very question. Our organization focuses on four areas of the cross that are critical to the movement of Pax in the world. We rely on these four areas and their meanings in order to understand what God was doing on the cross and what our posture toward God should be..
The cross of Jesus is where the Scriptures find their climax.
The ancient Scriptures spoke of someone who will come from the royal line of David (2 Sam 7:12-16), who will usher in an age of Pax for everything and everyone (Isa 11:1-10). This “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6) will teach the nations to reject the lie of redemptive violence and everything that disrupts PAX. Instead, Jesus will cultivate a deep care for the earth (Isa 2:2-4). The New Testament draws on this theme to explain who Jesus is and what his crucifixion means (Eph 2:14-18). God fulfills this purpose through the cross of Jesus: “And he came evangelizing peace to you all, to those far away, and peace to those near” (Eph 2:16-17; here v. 17 is quoting Isa 57:19). The cross means that the Scriptures have found its true culmination. This leader came, speaking peace on earth, but it was only through his death that true, holistic peace was made possible.
The cross of Jesus liberates the world from the power of death, sin, and unjust systems.
Through the cross of Jesus Christ, God overcame every evil disruption of PAX: all evil forces, evil systems, and the evil that resides within the human heart (Col 2:15; Eph 1:20-23). This is our salvation. Peace with God and others is now possible because of the cross (Eph 2:12-22)! Jesus is our Passover Lamb, who makes God’s cosmic liberation possible at a personal level. He cleanses us of our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9; 1 Cor 6:11) and frees us from sin (Rom 6:7). We are thus able to put to death the deeds of sin in the flesh by the power of the Spirit within us (Rom 8:9–13). As a result of God’s victory on the cross through Jesus, God is now working to reconcile all things back together (Col 1:20; 2 Cor 5:19) and one day the kingdom of God will be fully realized (Isa 9; Dan 2:44, 7:13-14, 27). Through this divine victory, Jesus is beginning to bring liberation from all the spiritual forces that manifest in socio-political oppression. And, having been made righteous, we are called as followers of Jesus to live into this reality and work towards this reality now.
The cross is where Jesus was enthroned over all creation.
Through the cross, Jesus was “exalted” (i.e., “lifted up”) by God as King of Peace over the cosmos (John 3:14, 8:28, 12:32, 34). In fact, the crucifixion is not simply the prelude to exaltation, it is integral to it. By alluding to the enthronement scenes in Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 110:1, Jesus tells the High Priest at his trial “from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power” (Matt 26:64). The enthronement is happening right then and there! The cross and resurrection thus mean that the kingship of Jesus has arrived and that every person owes their faith and allegiance to King Jesus (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 29-36).
We look to the meaning of the cross for our power and hope in a world longing for the Pax of God.
The cross is where Jesus fully displayed the solidarity of God with those who are oppressed by the powers of empire.
Through the cross of Jesus, we see God's intentional choice to be in solidarity with the oppressed peoples, or “the least of these” (Matt 25:31-46) of the world. Jesus didn't just submit himself to human mortality, but death by crucifixion (Phil 2:8), a form of state-sanctioned violence reserved for those who dared to challenge the empire for its oppressive ways. Even the two “thieves” that were crucified next to Jesus were accused of insurrection (Matt 27:38). Jesus was numbered among the rebels. In his crucifixion, Jesus forever linked himself to those crushed underfoot by oppression and injustice; in other words, the crucified peoples of the world. As such, the Pax of God will always involve the poor and oppressed being raised up and set free (Luke 1:46-55, 4:18-19).
Method of the Cross
The cross of Jesus provides patterns that shape the way we follow Jesus.
The cross is not simply the source of personal, social, and spiritual liberation. The cross also provides a shape for how Christians are to live, think, and act in the world. Christians are called to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49; 2 Cor 3:18; Gal 4:19; Col 3:10-11). Where some believe that the cross is only to pardon humanity, the New Testament is clear that the cross is also the pattern we conform our lives to and live into as God’s people (Rom 8:17–18; Phil 3:10-11; 2 Cor 4:10-12; 1 Pet 2:21; 1 John 3:16-18). Thus, we look to the method of the cross as the shape of the Christian life.
Pax was accomplished through self-giving, non-violent resistance, enemy love, and forgiveness to the forces standing against the Pax of God. These four principles are the method by which Chrsitians are called to promote peace in the world. This is the way of Jesus in the 21st century.
Followers of Jesus are called to embody the cross of Jesus through self-giving love.
The death of Jesus is the result of obedience (Phil 2:8) to God’s reconciling love even when—perhaps especially when—it is not returned. The Scriptures say that salvation is only possible through a voluntary self-emptying and self-humbling (Phil 2:7-8); a giving of one’s whole self in order to pursue peace. We see this from Jesus when he prays just before being arrested, “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Although Jesus knows he will face the cross, he chooses not to exercise violence (Matt 26:52-53; John 18:11, 36), but rather to entrust himself obediently to God, who is the final judge (1 Pet 2:23). We are called to this same way of Jesus, which is self-giving and humble love towards the world (Phil 2:5-11; 1 Pet 2:21, 4:19).
Followers of Jesus learn from the cross that we are to resist evil and injustice in the world.
The cross of Jesus is the greatest act of willful resistance to unjust powers, evil forces, and wrongdoing (Col 2:15; Heb 12:2). Jesus began his journey towards the cross by declaring a gospel that is for those in need of salvation, liberation, forgiveness, and healing (Luke 4:18-20). Jesus’ teachings and actions signaled good news to the prisoners, poor, excluded, and those from the margins of society. Jesus pushed against the familial, social, and political systems in order to offer hope and healing for all (Luke 8:1-3, 19-21, 11:57-62, 14:26-33). The cross of Jesus is thus the method by which his opening manifesto in Luke 4 sees its climax. The way of Jesus includes constant resistance to all forms of spiritual, physical, and social oppression.
Followers of Jesus learn from the cross that we are to love our enemies, both near and far.
Jesus teaches his followers to love their enemies in very real ways (Matt 5:38-48; Luke 6:35-36). Jesus has the audacity to tell Jewish peasants to love their oppressors, to carry their military packs an extra mile, and turn the other cheek (Matt 5:41). Jesus lives out this teaching as he forgives the very people who force him to carry the device used to torture and murder him (Luke 23:24). Jesus’s crucifixion is about God demonstrating his reconciling love towards his enemies, who were helpless, far from God, and in sin (Rom 5:6-11). This method of the cross is carried out through the teachings and lives of the early church (Rom. 12:9-21; 1 Pet. 2:18-25). The way of Jesus thus includes enemy love.
Pax, as a movement, trusts that the cross is the source of our salvation and the shape of Christian discipleship. We exist to live into the truth of Jesus' Kingship through resistance to injustice, self-giving love, and love of our enemies. We exist to live in response to the birth, life, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. We exist to shine light on the path forward towards joining in with Jesus in the restoration of all things.
Followers of Jesus learn from the cross that we are to practice forgiveness as a way to break the cycle of dehumanization.
While he hangs on the cross, Jesus refuses to call down fire on the heads of his enemies, and instead chooses the path of pronouncing forgiveness over them (Luke 23:34). Jesus knows that violence is cyclical, meaning that violence and hatred will always beget more violence and hatred (Matt 26:52). Because of the nature of violence and hatred, something needs to happen to disrupt or break this cycle and, for Jesus, forgiveness is that disruption. In choosing this way, Jesus chooses not to return the dehumanization heaped upon him and, instead, to see those who nailed him to the cross as image bearers of God. Even with their despicable actions, they still bear the image of God, and Jesus refuses to treat them as anything less than divine image bearers. Jesus calls his followers to display this same sort of forgiveness that refuses to dehumanize, even when we are treated as less than human.
Will you join us?