PEACE WITH GOD
The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, said to His apostles, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
To the saints in Rome the apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
The same apostle encouraged the Philippian Christians, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
A bit later he wrote: “These do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
Ah, yes…”the peace of God” and “the God of peace”! How we do yearn for both!
We live in perilous times (II Timothy 3:1ff) – times of turmoil, conflict, polarization, animosity, hatred, and insecurity. These negatives are seen on a global level. Due to an ever increasing secular culture and conflicting ideologies, our own country is badly divided and in a battle for the survival of the principles that made it a once strong and great nation.
The precious body of Christ, the church, is not exempt from such turmoil. Peace within the church is possible only when we surrender our agenda to the will of God (cf. Mark 14:36). As long as there are those who push unscriptural doctrines and practices, contend for unbiblical notions and concepts, and show a dismissive and condescending attitude toward those who challenge their program of unscriptural changes, there will not be peace in the church. As in the days of Jeremiah, it is utter foolishness to say, “Peace, peace! Where there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). And what had created that situation in ancient Judah? Here is the answer. “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:30-31). Only as we all “speak the same thing” (I Corinthians 1:10), “speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11), and “abide in the doctrine of Christ” (II John 9) can there be peace and unity in the church of our Lord. Those of us who do that are united and are at peace with each other in matters of faith.
Perhaps most impactful of all is the terrible lack of peace within our own families, our own hearts, and our own souls. Technology was supposed to simplify our lives and make them easier. Frightfully, in many respects, it has not worked out that way. While we enjoy many benefits of technology, we also experience the anxieties of such. We also experience the anxieties, the insecurities, and the inner emotional conflicts that come from a lack of love and respect for the Lord and the way of life He has set out for us in His word.
Until we are at peace with God on an individual basis, we will not be at peace with anyone else. In a passage from Paul cited at the beginning of this essay he tells us that when we are justified (made right with God) by faith “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Justification by faith comes through the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16-17). One must obey the gospel to be justified by faith, forgiven of their sins, and made right with God (Romans 6:16-18; II Thessalonians 1:7-9). Paul includes himself among those who had come to be at peace with God through being justified by faith. “We,” he said, “have peace with God.” When did Paul come to be at peace with God? Read the accounts of his conversion in the Book of Acts to see what Paul did to be justified by faith and come to have peace with God (Acts 9:1-19; 22:1-16; 26:1-32). We can do no less.
If you desire that same peace with God you, too, must hear and believe the gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess your faith in Christ as the Son of God (John 6:24; Romans 10:9-10), be baptized (immersed, Romans 6:3-4) for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), and continue to walk in the light of God’s word (I John 1:5-2:2). Only then can you be at peace with God, at peace with yourself, and at peace with your fellowman (Ephesians 2:11-22).
The Chinese philosopher, Kong Qiu, aka Confucius (551 B.C.-479 B.C.), said, “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations. If there is order in the nations, there will be peace in the world.” Observe where peace in the world begins: “If there is righteousness in the heart.” Though stated by a heathen philosopher, these are self-evident truths set forth by the one true God in His holy word from the beginning of time.
April 9, 2019