FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, No. 11, PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER

PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER

PART TWO

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”

Mark 9:50.

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.

Paul says:

“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: peaceIt 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.  

 

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, Post 10, PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER

PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER

PART ONE

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. 

Galatians 5:21-22.

 

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.

Image result for shalom

Its transliteration is shalowm and it is pronounced shä·lōm’.

 

This Hebrew word means:

  1. completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
    1. completeness (in number)
    2. safety, soundness (in body)
    3. welfare, health, prosperity
    4. peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment
    5. peace, friendship
  2. 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.  

A GOD OF BEAUTY!

Beauty.  Our culture seems to idolize the beautiful people.  Mega-dollar industries have been built on providing cosmetics, beautifying potions, exercise machines to make the body sleek, to name just a few examples, all for making people beautiful.  But what is beauty, really? Is physical beauty really what is important?

 

The Merriam Webster online dictionary [found at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/] provides one definition of “beauty” as “The quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit; loveliness.”   I like this definition.

 

In his book, The Holiness of God, p. 196-7, Dr. R. C. Sproul states that God is the source of beauty.  Indeed, that beauty is one of the attributes of our Divine Creator.

 

God Himself is the ground of all unity and diversity, of simplicity and complexity. His very being is internally consistent and harmonious and proportionate.  In him there are no distortions, no disorder, no ugliness.  His voice admits to no noise or cacophony. The works of his hands are cosmos, not chaos.  Chaos is marked by disorder and confusion; it is manifest irrationally. The beauty of God is a sane and rational beauty in that his being is one of perfect sanity and order.  Insofar as the beautiful bears witness to these qualities, they bear witness to Him. … To cultivate an appreciation for beauty is to set our course to follow after the sublime Author of all beauty.

 

Appreciation for beauty is a consistent theme throughout the Bible.  The Old Testament Scriptures are particularly appreciative of the beauty of nature. God announced that creation was good in Genesis and, after the creation of mankind, the penultimate act of creation, God declared it to be “very good”!   Then, in Exodus we read:

 

Exodus 28:2 – “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.”

These words were spoken by God when He gave the instructions and directions for the Tabernacle to be built in the wilderness and for the dishes and implements to be used, even down to the detail to be included on the clothing to be worn by the priests.  Note, God included as a characteristic of the holy garments that they are “for beauty”.

 

The psalms exhibit an appreciation for God’s handiwork in numerous passages.  Consider Psalm 8:1, 3-4:

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens. … When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

 

Psalm 19:1 states:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”

 

Psalm 104 describes God’s mighty work in creation noting that He set the earth on its foundations and going on to describe the individual parts of creation all under the umbrella of the prayer “Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

 

Listen to Brentwood Jazz Quartet’s rendition of “All Creatures of Our God and King” from their album The Best of the Brentwood Jazz Quartet.

 

Take some time to look at the pictures as you listen to the music, and then meditate on the following Scriptures.  Renew your sense of the beautiful and praise God for His wondrous works.

 

Yosemite 2011 WRM 095 Overlook of Kings Canyon National Park (C)
King’s Canyon scenic overlook, California, USA. Majesty and power reflected in the glory of creation.

 

Psalm 96:6 – “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”

 

Sunset and clouds 3
Sunset and clouds show God’s pallet of colors!

 

 

Psalm 104:19 – “He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.”

 

Brook trees and mountain Oregon 2009 141
Mountain, trees and brook in Oregon, USA.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

 

Bath Abbey (C)
The door at Bath Abby in Bath, England. Craftsmen creating a beautiful place for worship of a God Who loves beauty.

 

1 Chronicles 16:29 [KJV] – “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”

 

Baby girl 1 month old
A baby girl, full of promise and beauty.

 

Proverbs 31:30 – Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

1 Peter 3:3-4  – Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear– but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

 

 

Ocean verticle sun going down
Sunset over the ocean, an acknowledgement that the day is over but the ocean continues to roar and churn, as ordained by our Creator God.

 

Psalm 104:25 – “Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.”

 

Schmerhorn building in Nsahville Symphony and choir ready to perform
The Schermerhorn Symphony center in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Orchestra and choir ready to sing a sacred concert to the glory of God in their performance of Dr. R. C. Sproul’s hymn collection “Glory to the Holy One”.

 

 

Psalm 104:33 – “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.”

 

Snowy tranquility (C)
Snowy tranquility. Snow blankets our surroundings and causes us to stop and cherish the silent beauty of God’s world.

 

Psalm 51:7 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

 

 

Father, I pray that my meditation is pleasing to You, for I rejoice in You and your Holy Name.  (Psalm 103:34)  I pray that these pictures, this music and these humble words would be used by Your Spirit to encourage and strengthen those who read this post.  I pray that You would use Your Word to speak to the heart and minds of those who encounter these passages of Scripture.  Father, I pray that You would be glorified in all things.