By David Brown
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto
you. Let not you heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I think God’s greatest blessing in my life, beyond salvation itself, is the peace that comes as a result. There’s a reason that people wish the deceased to “rest in peace”. Peace is a very desirable thing. We all want it. We need it actually. We love being at peace. And yet, we don’t think about it very much unless we lose it. Those who’ve never had it certainly think about it. They long for it. How wonderful it is that Jesus came to give us peace!
Jesus gives his followers peace. His desire is that our hearts not be troubled, agitated, anxious, distressed, disquieted, restless, nor fearful! His peace is unlike the cheap counterfeits of peace offered by this world. His peace is real.
God’s peace is not just a pleasurable experience or state of heart. It’s beneficial, revealing and even protective toward us. The New Testament scriptures describe three states of peace that we experience as believers! All three are vitally important to us. Let’s look at each of them.
Peace with God
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ.
When one believes in Jesus, receiving him as Lord and Savior, we immediately have “peace with God”! In other words, we are no longer his enemies. We are his friends! We are no longer at war with God. We are at peace with him. This connection with a loving heavenly father produces a spiritual tranquility in our hearts. We begin to sense God’s acceptance which stills and quiets our hearts. Our spirit is no longer troubled but at peace! Strongs Greek Dictionary describes peace as “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot”.
This peace is a fruit or product of the Holy Spirit within us, as described in Galatians 5. The first three fruits of God’s Spirit taught by the Apostle Paul are “love, joy and peace”. I believe these three blessings are the very first products of grace imparted to us by God’s presence. Many who become born again tesitfy to the immediate experience of them. They begin to love everybody. Joy floods their soul. Peace fills their spirit. Being indwelt by God quickly becomes a glorious experience of God’s beneficial graces, one of which is peace!
2. Peace of God
The first century Apostles often prayed for the peace of God in believers lives. This was more than a sweet prayer of empty religious words. The peace of God is a powerful force needed in all our lives.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which
passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Paul said the peace of God will keep (or guard) our hearts and minds as we deal with the difficulties of life. As we pray, asking God for his guidance and wisdom trusting him for his supply, his peace will guard our souls from every disturbance. Our prayer is to be a prayer of faith for it is to contain thankfulness. We thank God for what he has given us. So, Paul is describing a persons thankfulness who believes he has received God’s provision, care and positive answer. When we engage the partnership of God in prayer, peace prevails in our heart and mind. Our heart is at rest knowing that God is working in our situation and blessing our lives.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…
The word “rule” here means to arbitrate, govern, rule, umpire or referee. The peace of God is to govern our lives. Peace is the voice of our referee. The referee of a basketball game governs the game, calling the fouls and awards possession of the ball. The Holy Spirit is our referee in life. He is to govern us, call out any moral or practical “foul” we may commit as well as giving us the ‘“go ahead” for our decisions in life. In other words, the Holy Spirit indicates to us whether our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions are right or wrong. He does this with peace…or at times, the lack of it.
This is why we often hear someone say, “I do or don’t have peace with this or that decision”. We are to be led by our peace, the peace of God. We also call this peace, “the inner witness” because this is how the Holy Spirit speaks to us from within. He leads us with peace.
Your inner witness, the peace of God in your heart, is a safe guide if you are born again and genuinely walking in the light you have received from God. If a Christian is living in willful and habitual sin however, his peace is disturbed and if this lack of peace is ignored, will eventually become twisted and perverted. This is where the hardening of the heart and searing of the conscience can occur. We can readily see then, how vital it is to protect the peace of God in our hearts.
So, the peace of God is beneficial, even vital to God’s will being revealed in our lives. By obeying God’s written word and being guided in personal decisions by the peace of God, we can live our lives in a way that glorifies Jesus our Savior. What a wonderful thing it is to know that our decision to make Jesus the Lord of our lives is the last major decision we ever have to make. From now on, God’s word and God’s Spirit can guide us in our choices. This brings a supernatural rest and quiet to our souls!
3. Peace in God.
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,
wherein dwells righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things,
be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
2 Peter 3:13-14
The Apostle Peter here encourages us to be in peace when Jesus returns! In other words, he is saying that we are to have no spot of sin or blame that would displease the Lord at his coming. How do we do that? By living in such a way that our peace in God is not disturbed or lost. We are to practice righteousness, not sinfulness. If we do sin, we are to confess our sins, humbly and consistently so that we protect our peace in God.
If we will protect our peace in God, our peace in God will protect us from sin and it’s negative results. Jesus wants us to be like the wise virgins, keeping our lamps lit and guarding our supply of oil until he comes. (Matthew 25:1-13) He taught us, “Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44) It is vital that you and I live for Jesus, enduring to the end, guarding our peace, following our peace and remaining in the state of his peace until he returns!
And so, our peace with God brings us the peace of God which empowers and protects our lives that we may live at peace in God until he comes with his reward! What a wonderful gift his peace is!
Peace be unto you in Jesus’ Name!