The God of Peace
Cliff Jones, Cardiff, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
THERE IS NO PEACE
Most people in the world long for peace, and yet there are wars and the threats of future wars. There is strife and stress between and within nations, families and individuals. In the UK the majority of people have turned away from God, the nation is not exalted by righteousness, Prov. 14. 34, and, as a result, suffers the consequences of not obeying God’s laws and commands
What is peace? It is not simply the cessation of war and hostilities. This can be achieved by force, by the domination of the weaker by the stronger. Neither human ingenuity nor the efforts of human organizations have succeeded in achieving real and lasting peace, and each successive war brings the suffering caused by aggression and violence. The absence of hostilities is a negative thing. True peace is positive, and is based on love, righteousness, unity, grace and mercy.
At the present time, in an effort to achieve peace, many travel vast distances, Dan. 12. 4, and men’s hearts are ‘failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth’, Luke 21. 26. The psalmist said, ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man’, Ps. 118. 8. The believer can rest in the promise that, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee’, Isa. 26. 3, and can say, ‘I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety’, Ps. 4. 8.
PEACE WITH GOD
God is the ‘God of peace’, Rom. 15. 33, and He is righteous, Ezra 9. 15. There will be no true peace in this world until, in the Millennium, the Lord Jesus Christ shall reign over the earth in righteousness, for there can be no peace without righteousness, Rev. 20. 1-6. Righteousness and peace always go together, Isa. 32. 17; Jas. 3. 18, and when the Lord was crucified, ‘righteousness and peace . . . kissed each other’, Ps. 85. 10.
In Isaiah chapter 48 verse 22 we are told ‘There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked’. We are all sinners by nature and in practice, and we were at one time enemies of God, Rom. 5. 10, and were ‘by nature the children of wrath’, Eph. 2. 3. Those poor people who have not been saved have no peace of mind in this life and will suffer continuously without any peace in eternity, Mark 9. 43, 44.
The blessed truth is, however, that in this suffering, stressful world the believer can enjoy, as a present reality, both peace with God and the peace of God. God is holy, Lev. 19. 2, and ‘God is love’, 1 John 4. 8. He is ‘rich in mercy’, and the ‘God of all grace’, Eph. 2. 4; 1 Pet. 5. 10. He is ‘a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness’, Jonah 4. 2. On the cross the Lord shed His precious blood, and ‘the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin’, 1 Pet. 1. 19; 1 John 1. 7. He ‘made peace through the blood of his cross’, and ‘being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’, Col. 1. 20; Rom. 5. 1.
PEACE OF GOD
The peace the believer has with God is an eternal peace, for anyone who repents and trusts in the Lord is saved eternally, John 3. 36; Acts, 16. 31, and one day will be taken to be with the Lord forever, 1 Thess. 4. 16, 17.
In addition to having peace with God, believers can enjoy ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding’, Phil. 4. 7. Believers have eternal peace with God, but may not experience and enjoy the uninterrupted peace of God. A believer can lose the peace of God through failing to trust God, disobeying His revealed will, neglecting to study and meditate on His word or by neglecting prayer. When a believer loses the peace of God, fellowship and communion with Him are broken; the believer loses the joy of His salvation, Ps. 51. 12, and service for Him is hindered. However, God is gracious and merciful and the peace of God can be restored if a believer repents and turns once again to God, for, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’, 1 John. 1. 9.
There is peace to be found in meditating on the word of God, Ps. 119. 165, and in obeying God, Phil. 4. 9. Peace is a fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Gal. 5. 22, 23, and to be ‘spiritually minded is life and peace’, Rom. 8. 6. We are enjoined to ‘live in peace’, 2 Cor. 13. 11; to follow peace, and live peaceably with all men, Heb. 12. 14; Rom. 12. 18. We need to be at peace among ourselves, 1 Thess. 5. 13, and this involves ‘endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’, Eph. 4. 3. If we trust God, letting the peace of God rule in our hearts, and work for peace among ourselves, then we can be a source of blessing within the assembly in which God has placed us. This will give us tremendous liberty to witness to those we meet. The Lord said to His disciples, ‘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. After His resurrection the Lord appeared to His frightened, worried disciples and said to them, ‘Peace be unto you’, John 20. 19, 21. He bestowed on them a peace that was not dependent on surrounding circumstances and this is His peace.
God is the God of peace; the Lord Jesus Christ is the ‘Prince of Peace’, Isa. 9. 6, and the promises in the word of God are given so that we might have peace of heart and mind. What blessedness is ours! ‘The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace’, Ps. 29. 11.