Category Archives: peace

My Peace I Give Unto You

Before Jesus left this earth He told His apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Later Jesus told them “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus promised peace to His apostles. Just what did this mean?

Every year around Christmas, certain local companies put up signs quoting Luke chapter two declaring “Peace On Earth” and “Good Will Toward Men” (Luke 2:13,14) Most people take this to mean that the Lord is going to literally bring peace to this earth and that nations will no longer rise in war with one another. Bing Crosby and David Bowie famously sing together about a time when men will live in peace again, the day of glory. But is this what Jesus was describing?

Certainly it will not be denied that as Christians we enjoy blessings that no others do. All spiritual blessings are in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3). Peace is among those spiritual blessings afforded Christians (Gal. 5:21-23). We are allowed to partake of the divine nature having escaped the pollutions that are in the world through lust (II Pet. 1:4). The Lord of peace Himself gives us peace always by all means (II Thess. 3:16).

Indeed, there is a peace that passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7). It is the kind of peace that allowed Paul and Silas to sing in the face of persecution (Acts 16). In nearly everyone of his epistles, the apostle Paul began by addressing the letter with “grace and peace from God the Father” (cf. I Cor. 1:3; II Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col.1:2; I Thess. 1:1; II Thess. 1:2, etc.). We are enjoined to follow peace with all men (Heb. 12:14) and live peaceably with all men, as much as lieth in us (Rom. 12:18).

But this calmness of soul and lack of conflict with our fellow man derives from a deeper source of peace. Before we can have any real, meaningful peace of mind, we must first have peace with God. In describing the sinful condition of man Paul quoted Isaiah and affirmed that the way of peace we have not known (Rom. 3:17; Is. 59:7,8). Both Jew and Gentile fall under this condemnation for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). This puts us at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7; 5:10).

But Jesus is our peace and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us–that is, between man and God (Eph. 2:14). The middle wall of partition refers to the curtain that separated the holy place from the most holy place in the tabernacle and in the temple (Ex. 26:31-33). The ark of the testimony with the mercy seat was in the most holy place (Ex. 26:34).

Thus, the most holy place, or the holy of holies, represented Heaven and God’s throne (Heb. 9:24) and no one but the High Priest could go in and approach God (Heb. 9:7). Now, Jesus, our High Priest, has broken down that wall so that the way into the holiest of all has been made available by our forerunner, providing us a sure and steadfast hope (Heb. 9:8; 10:19; 6:18-20). By His own blood He entered once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:11,12).

Therefore, Christ has slain the enmity and reconciled both Jew and Gentile unto God in one body by the cross, so making peace (Eph. 2:14-17). God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself (II Cor. 5:19). Being the Prince of Peace He came and preached peace with and reconciliation to God. Peace always comes after belief in and obedience to the Lord (cf. Luke 8:42, 8:48). Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1).

Yes, the world may be able to give a temporary cessation of conflict, but it cannot give the kind of true, lasting, inner peace that the Lord gives. The world has tribulation; Jesus gives peace. The world will continue to have conflict and it will only get worse and worse (II Tim. 3:13). Because we have been reconciled to the Father and because Christ has redeemed us by the blood of His cross, we can have peace with God and our fellow man. No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.

Eric L. Padgett

Peace

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6,7). The word “peace” means “a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within the soul.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated “peace” is “shalom,” meaning, primarily, “soundness,” “health,” but came also to signify “prosperity.” In the New Testament the word translated “peace” is “eirene,” from which we get our word “irenic” and the name Irene. Jesus, as the Prince of Peace, came to bring peace (Luke 2:1-14).

Christianity is a religion of peace. Islam claims to be a religion of peace. But when you compare the teaching of Christ with the teaching of Mohammad, when you compare their practices, it is easy to see which one really promotes peace. For instance, Christ taught us to turn the other cheek; Mohammad says kill the infidels. Of course, there are always abuses, but Jesus, the Author of Christianity, teaches us in word and in deed to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:38-42). Furthermore, Jesus left us an example that we should follow in His steps of peace (I Pet. 2:21-24).

God is a God of peace (Rom. 15:33; 16:20). The Bible tells us that God is not the Author of confusion, but of peace (I Cor. 14:33). God blesses His people with peace (Ps. 29:11) and gives the peace of sleep to His people (Ps. 4:8). Those who focus their thoughts on God, He will give them perfect peace (Is. 26:3).

But just what exactly is the nature of this peace which Christ brings? Many in the religious world view this peace as political or international or social. The world seeks first the cessation of violence and war and hostilities. Those who profess to be Christians join numerous organizations, both religious and secular, to seek to wipe out poverty or some social injustice. But poverty will always be with us (Matt. 26:11). Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse (II Tim. 3:13). While we should help those who are less fortunate (Gal. 6:10), to seek to wipe out poverty and injustice is a futile task. As we look around the world we see famine, pestilence, strife and conflict. If political or international or social peace was Jesus’ goal, then Jesus failed divinely! But Jesus, Himself, said, “In the world, ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Furthermore, He said His peace was not as the world gives (John 14:27; Rom. 8:6).

Notice that this peace and good will was to be “toward” men not necessarily “between” men (Luke 2:14). What good would it be to have peace among men but not with God? We must not forget that Jesus brought not only peace but also the sword (Matt. 10:34). However, the warfare we fight is not like the world’s, but it is a spiritual war with spiritual weapons (II Cor. 10:3-5) and spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-16). Just as the battle we fight is a spiritual one, the peace obtained by this battle is a spiritual one, too.

Jesus came and preached peace to them that were a far off and those that were nigh (Eph. 2:11-19; Col. 1:20). How do we access this peace? When we are justified by faith, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). To be justified by faith is to obey the Gospel (Rom. 16:25,26). Jesus made peace between Jew and Gentile by first making it possible for them to have peace with God (Eph. 2:14-17). God was in Christ reconciling–making peace–the world unto Himself (II Cor. 5:17-21). We are called to this peace in one body (Col. 3:15), the church (Eph. 1:22,23; Col. 1:18).

Isaiah said in Christ there would be an increase of peace (Is. 9:7). Surely, this cannot mean material, physical, worldly peace. The peace of the world seems to grow more unstable every day. The “government” spoken of here is the rule of Christ in the hearts of men. The “kingdom” spoken of here is the church (Matt. 16:18). Because His peace is not of this world, Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The good news which brings peace is the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 1:14). This gospel of the kingdom is an everlasting covenant of peace (Eze. 37:26; cf. Is. 11:1-9).

As Christians we are dedicated to the spread of peace with God through the spread of the gospel (Matt. 28:20). As we go into all the world teaching, our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15; Rom 10:15), more people are reconciled back to God. The more people who apply the teachings of Christ in their lives, the more the peace of Christ will spread. As Christians we follow after things which make for peace (Rom. 14:19). We endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). We throw away carnality, for to be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. 8:6). The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace (Rom. 14:17).

We most definitely are to seek peace. We should follow after those things in life which make for peace (Rom. 14:19). Understanding and applying the teaching of Christ will produce real, spiritual peace in our life (Gal. 5:22). Not only should we seek personal, spiritual peace but we should seek to be at peace, when possible, amongst ourselves (I Thess. 5:13; Rom 12:18). A healthy fear of judgement will keep us found of Him in peace (II Pet. 3:11-14).

Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means – II Thess. 3:16

Eric L. Padgett