PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER
For the most part, the world thinks of peace in negative terms such as the absence of hostility, or perhaps the absence of tension. As with the other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, the Biblical view of the term is quite different.
Augustine of Hippo defined peace as “The tranquility of order.” In the context of this definition, he said there are three applications of this type of peace:
Peace with God – or the spiritual order
Peace on earth – or the relational order
Peace of God — or the psychological order.
What does Scripture say?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Martin Luther said that the word “peace” in Galatians 5 means that the Christian is at peace with both God and man, Luther going further into how we should conduct ourselves, saying:
Christians are to be peaceful and quiet. Not argumentative, not hateful, but thoughtful and patient.
In his book, The Holiness of God, Dr. R. C. Sproul states:
For the Christian, the holy war is over: the peace has been established. Access to the Father is ours. But we still must tremble before our God. He is still holy. Our trembling is the tremor of awe and veneration, not the trembling of the coward or the pagan frightened by the rustling of a leaf. Luther explained it this way: “We are to fear God not with a servile fear like that of a prisoner before his tormentor but as children who do not wish to displease their beloved Father.” We come to Him in confidence; we come to Him in boldness; we have access. We have a holy peace.
R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, Tyndale House Publishers, © 1998, p. 153
Both the Greek and the Hebrew word for peace have the same meaning — confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than in your own. The opposite of peace is anxiety and worry. The world’s counterfeit of true peace is indifference, or perhaps apathy, having an “I don’t care” attitude.
According to Strong’s Lexicon, there are a number of words in Hebrew that refer to peace and its various definitions. The Hebrew word with which we are most familiar is, in English, shalom.
Its transliteration is shalowm and it is pronounced shä·lōm’.
This Hebrew word means:
- completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
- completeness (in number)
- safety, soundness (in body)
- welfare, health, prosperity
- peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment
- peace, friendship
- Shalom embodies the concept of completeness, wholeness, harmony and fulfillment. It is unimpaired relationship with God and man and fulfillment in one’s undertakings. The source of Shalom peace is God.
Looking at its use in the Old Testament:
- It referred to a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within the soul. To a people harassed by foes, peace was the primary blessing. In Psalm 122:7, shalom is translated “security” where it is said:
“Peace be within your walls and security within your towers.”
- Shalom was the common friendly greeting, used in asking after the health of anyone; also in farewells. Genesis 29:6 “He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well!” This phrase literally meaning “Is there peace to him?” This is again exampled in Judges 6:23 where Scripture says:
“But the Lord said to him, Peace be to you. Do not fear, you shall not die.”
- Peace from enemies, thus implying prosperity, was the great desire of the nation and was the gift of God if the people walked in His ways. Aaron’s blessing to the people of Israel was dictated by the Lord and it is found in Numbers 6:24-26. We frequently hear it in benediction at the end of our worship:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
- In Leviticus 26:6, God makes promises to the people of Israel for peace if they follow his laws:
“I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.”
- In Isaiah 26:3-4 we have the promise:
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
This verse actually says in the Hebrew: “you keep him in peace peace
whose mind is stayed on you”. Also note the reason for this peace, in verse 4 we read the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Talk about a good foundation for peace!
How does this apply to my daily life?
We certainly are not done considering peace and what it means as a part of the fruit of the Spirit that indwells the believer. But for now, I would ask that you read the Bible references above in your own Bible, translations and paraphrases.
- Consider what the Old Testament people desired for peace and what God says will come if they obey His commands.
- Consider what you desire for peace and how it might reveal itself in your life through the Holy Spirit.
- Consider having peace peace … perfect peace. Let this thought comfort you during this week. Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to do this, even before we go into consideration of peace in the New Testament.
Here, Damaris sings the song “I Sing Peace” taken from her album The Heart of God. Enjoy listening to her as you consider having perfect peace this week.
Blessings to you and I pray that you will continue to walk with me as we learn about the fruit of the Holy Spirit and as we mature in our transformation into Christian believers who speak and act as Jesus did and who share in the passions that Jesus had for the lost sheep and for the worship of His Father, the Almighty God.