PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER
We have previously spoken of the peace, shalom, that we find in the Old Testament. Now, let’s look at peace in the New Testament.
What does Scripture say?
Peace is a prominent feature of the Messiah – Jesus is called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6:
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The Greek word for peace, which is transliterated as eirēnē and pronounced ā-rā’-nā, is the word used by Paul in Galatians 5. It has much the same meaning as Shalom has in the Old Testament.
- The gospel of Christ is a message of peace from God to men.
In Acts 10:36 we read:
“As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, …”
Paul says in Romans 5:1:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- This peace is also between people, see for an example Ephesians 2 regarding Jews and Gentiles.
- Further, this peace is an essential element in the spiritual kingdom of God
Romans 14:17 says:
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
- Peace is to be cherished and followed by Christians. Jesus told His disciples:
“Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another”
Paul exhorts the Corinthian believers:
“Live in peace: and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11.
- God is the God of Peace.
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. ”
2 Thessalonians 3:16.
How can Paul say this? He notes the basis for this prayer for peace is found in the nature of God Himself:
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
1 Corinthians 14:33
- Lastly, we have “peace” as a greeting. It was the Lord’s own greeting to His disciples as found in Luke 24:36 “Peace to you” and before He left them He gave them specially His blessing of “Peace” in John 14:27:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. “
Jesus well knew that He was the source of true peace. But, there is a short caveat that must be raised here, and it refers to Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:34-39 where He said that He did not come “to send peace on the earth, but a sword,” referring to the searching nature of His call and the divisions it would create. In the Wycliffe Bible Commentary on the New Testament, we read the following regarding verse 34:
Jesus explains that his message, delivered in a rebellious and wicked world, would be met with hostility. Sword: A symbol of sharp conflict and division, as shown by examples in verses 35-36.
Dr. R. C. Sproul says it this way in TableTalk Magazine, in an article entitled “Fearing the Right Person”:
However, though Christ brings the sword, He does not create the conflict. The peace Jesus offers comes on terms many refuse to accept. Strife comes not directly from the Lord’s hand, but from the response of secondary, human agents who hate Him and those who embrace the Gospel. Saying that He brings the sword is a Semitic way of attributing an indirect result of His mission to Himself even though He is not to blame for the outcome. Christ does not directly set family members against one another; those who reject the Lord are the culprits. See Romans 9:19-20.
Of course, the spirit of the gospel and of the Christian is one of peace, and it is a Christian duty to seek to bring war and strife everywhere to an end. This is represented as the ultimate result of the gospel and Spirit of Christ; universal and permanent peace can come only as that Spirit rules in all men’s hearts.
How does this apply to my daily life?
When things seem to go flying out of control, you don’t need to panic or react in a frenzy. Be at peace. Slow down … let the dust settle while you seek the Lord and His guidance for you at that time. You will have peace even when people around you go crazy because the Holy Spirit is within you and peace is one aspect of the fruit that He desires to grow in your life. Let Him grace you with peace.
In his book entitled The Holiness of God, [Tyndale House Publishers, © 1998, p. 151] Dr. R. C. Sproul says:
In His last will and testament, Jesus left His heirs something else, something very special: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27)
This is the legacy of Christ: peace. It is His peace that is our inheritance. He gives the gift in a way that is different from gifts that are given in this world. There are no ulterior motives and no sinister strings attached. He give us His peace not for His benefit but for ours. It is an otherworldly gift given in an otherworldly manner. It is ours to keep forever.
This peace is referred to in the Old Testament as well, when the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 26:3:
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Listen to this verse as sung on Integrity Music’s Scripture Memory Songs album entitled Overcoming Anxiety.
Next week we will conclude our consideration of peace as a fruit of the Spirit. Until then, ask the Spirit to give you His Peace even as you face difficult circumstances, and then spread that peace to those God puts in your path.
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.