13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
On the day that Jesus was born the theme of his birth was the intention of his coming that was announced to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15. That same theme was proclaimed throughout the Old Testament, which foretold of one to come as a savior – the theme was the gospel. Before the shepherds that night appeared a whole host of angels and they had one message – God was bringing peace, but peace to whom? The verse is clear. He was bringing peace to those “with whom he is pleased” or as the NIV puts it “on whom his favor rests.” Now when I consider my ways and the sinfulness of my heart I do not find that I am at all pleasing to God, and Scripture confirms that there is none who seeks God, there are none who are righteous so how can God find pleasure in anyone; and if he can’t find pleasure in anyone who can receive his peace? The answer my friends is grace. By God’s grace he is saving many to himself through the life and death of Jesus Christ and when he saves you and me he finds pleasure in us because we have been given, as a gift, the righteousness of Christ and in so doing we can find peace with God. When the angles made this declaration they were not speaking of world peace because they knew that God had already declared that there is no peace for the wicked, but they were proclaiming a message of peace with God. They were saying the our enmity, our rebellion, our war against God can now come to an end because God was gracious to end that war through the willing sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ. So now we can say with the angels – Glory to God in the highest.