Peace with God

NOT ALL WARS are fought between nations. There are various conflicts between individuals, special interest groups, political parties, companies, athletic teams, etc. There is not only enmity between man and man, there is also the ultimate discord which exists between God and man. This disharmony between God and man must be reconciled before any can have peace with God. Besides all this conflict, there are battles within our own minds. These also must be conquered before we can obtain the true peace—peace of mind and heart based upon the assurance that our Heavenly Father approves of our thoughts and actions, is caring for us, and overruling all our experiences for our highest good.

Our Gospel is a Gospel of peace. However, there are many shades of meaning contained in the word peace. When we think of the word peace our first thought, no doubt, would be that of the cessation of armed conflict between nations. But peace also means tranquility of mind. It means rest and security. Peace means unity and concord. To Christians, first and foremost, peace means reconciliation with God—the peace which comes through being ‘at one’ with him.

All desire to have peace of heart and mind, but only a few ever attain this happy state. Indeed, few have any knowledge as to how true peace can be attained. Some have traveled all around the world seeking peace in foreign lands, in unfamiliar customs or religions. People have sought to attain wealth, power, or fame, thinking that through these they could find peace, only to discover that that which they seek has eluded them. Whether man realizes it or not, unrest and a troubled spirit are essentially due to hunger for fellowship with God. No one can have the peace of which the Gospel speaks without close communion with their Creator.

Man’s inhumanity to man, fueled by selfishness, has caused innumerable wars throughout human history. Many honest men—great humanitarians, heads of state, scientists, religionists, and others—have tried to stop wars and to establish peace in their countries, and even throughout the world. But all their efforts to establish peace have come to nothing. In God’s due time peace will come to this world. Wars will cease. But let us remember that God’s long-promised peace on earth can come only by reconciling men to himself, and that will be done only through Jesus Christ our Lord. He is indeed the true “Prince of Peace.”—Isa. 9:6, Luke 1:79

Even at birth we were at enmity with God—born under condemnation, outside of communion with God, requiring reconciliation, requiring a Savior. Only through accepting Jesus’ ransoming sacrifice as the means of our salvation have we been able to find our way back to God. Only through following in the steps of Jesus Christ have we been able to attain the beautiful relationship of peace with God.

Real peace is out of our reach as long as we are alienated from God. True peace, the peace of the Gospel, is found only in fellowship with God—living, not under condemnation, but partaking of the wells of salvation. We have been made right with God—justified in his sight—through Jesus Christ our Lord. Thereby we can have communion with him.

“In thy presence is fullness of joy.” (Ps 16:11) What a great truth is expressed here! God does not fellowship with the sinful world. God does work with the unreconciled by drawing them to Christ. But his relationship with mankind as sons is limited to those who have dedicated their lives to the doing of his will, having first approached him through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord. As the psalmist wrote: “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence [by faith now, and actually in the future] is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore,”

The theme of our sonship is peace with God. Through reconciliation, the peace which was lost in Eden is restored. Isaiah 48:22, declared, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” Only the footstep followers of Jesus, therefore, have the peace of reconciliation with God. In the following scriptures, the Apostles Paul and Peter develop the truth that our Heavenly Father is the God of peace only to those who have ceased to be at enmity with him:

“Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”—Acts 10:34-36

“At that time we were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”—Eph. 2:12-19

“Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and ireprovable in his sight.”—Col. 1:20-22

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”—Rom. 3:17; 24-26

“Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.”—Rom. 4:25

“Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”—Rom. 5:1

“Not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one [man, Adam] to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one [man—Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the man, Christ Jesus] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”—Rom. 5:16-18

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”—Rom. 8:1,6

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”—John 5:24

These texts all tell the beautiful story of peace with God, of condemnation versus justification; of separation through sin and of reunion through righteousness. It is the story of enmity with God versus the peace of reconciliation through our consecration and being covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness. This peace with God—justification to life by faith, and by divine approval, is the present inheritance of those who are in harmony with God.

The Peace of God

Our inheritance also includes the peace ‘of God. This also is thrilling. Some take sleeping pills so they can have rest at night, and tranquilizers that they can have rest by day. But our subject is neither the tranquility of tranquilizers nor the peace of barbiturates. In the world there is unrest, nervousness, tension, frustration, confusion. As we sometimes sing, “Here is no rest; here is no rest.”

Some seek peace in worldly substitutes, self-sufficiency, perhaps business involvement, or in other ways. But one by one these learn that peace is not gained by drugs or substitutes. Peace is far bigger and greater than that. We have learned that the peace of God comes from knowing and trusting our Heavenly Father. A good physician knows that a peaceful attitude of mind may be better than all his pills. A peaceful attitude is good for physical health and also for spiritual health.

But we are talking about the peace of God, and not everyone can have that. To those who are at peace ‘with’ God, the peace ‘of’ God is a matter of simple ratio. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc.”—Gal. 5:22

As we receive the Holy Spirit we have peace. As we let the Holy Spirit of truth rule in our lives, we grow in an abundance of peace. Our peace ‘of’ God does not depend on feelings and circumstances. It has a foundation. We know the plan of God, therefore we know of his goodness, how dependable he is. How wonderful is the text, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Do we believe this?—I Pet. 5:7

The Devil will do everything possible to disturb our peace which is based upon this assurance. There will be conflicts in our Christian life—fighting within, battles without. Our peace will depend on our ability to rest in God’s promises—to rest in the faith and confidence that he will keep the promises made to those who are at peace with him.

The peace of God does not depend upon the smile of good fortune. Nor is it dependent upon physical health, or the friendship of others. Let us not belittle these material good things—they are precious, valuable, helpful. But the peace of God does not depend upon them. We know this because we all have seen the peace of God abide in poverty, in need, in ill health, and when friends forsake. Yes, we have seen some walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4) enjoying the peace of God. We have seen this peace look through tears and see the fruition of our hope. This peace of God is his gift to those who are reconciled to him.

The child of God should have a sense of security. The peace of God gives this. We belong to the family of God. We are his children. Just as a child feels secure in his parents’ ability to care for and protect him, so we also have the security of knowing, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) And “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, them who are the called according to his purpose.”—Rom. 8:28

Philippians 4:47 reads, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Here is another wonderful text of Scripture showing how the peace of God may rule in our hearts and lives.

The keynote of the epistle to the Philippians is that we should all be rejoicing Christians. We will quote a few verses to show what we mean: “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. What then? Not withstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” “Having this confidence, I know I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.” (Phil. 1:4,18,25) Again: “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded. having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Phil. 2:2) “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.”—Phil. 3:1

The apostle says, ‘Rejoice,’ and that we will have the ‘peace of God’. ‘Let your moderation be known.’ We will use a better word for moderation: —forbearance—your gentleness—‘be known unto all men.’ A better translation is, “Be anxious about nothing: but in your general prayers and in your special requests have the spirit of thankfulness and rejoicing.”—Margin

The peace ‘of’ God is our antidote for anxiety. And this peace of God passes all human understanding, all human reasoning, in its power to relieve anxiety. This peace of God is a sentinel standing guard before the heart. It keeps our thoughts and hearts free from anxious care.

How is this done? We do not know, except that it is through Jesus Christ our Lord, and our faith in the promises. Jesus has promised us the same peace that sustained him in his hours of need. He said, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but these things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.” (John 16:33) “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.”—Isa . 26:3

This is the peace ‘of’ God which surpasses human ability to understand. It is ours because we belong to God’s family. No wonder we feel secure! God is always at peace—undisturbed, unperplexed. We could not imagine his being otherwise. He has promised this same peace and rest to us, provided we cease from our own works and submit to his will for us. Let us accept it in faith, believing. It is the peace ‘of’ God because only God can give it—it is his peace—through Jesus Christ our Lord and his Word of truth.

But is it possible in these nerve-strained bodies to attain peace of mind and heart regardless of any and all external circumstances? Can we have this peace no matter what may worry us; and regardless of what perplexities arise in work or business? Can God’s peace be ours even if we are slandered, or persecuted, or our motives misunderstood? Can we, in spite of any, or all of these, have a truly immovable peace? Our Lord says we can. “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

The root of so much of our weariness is not in our burdens, but in our adjustment to them. Wrong attitudes on our part toward those with whom we live, or work, often create inner emotions that produce strains and rob us of our peace and fellowship. As long as we hold this wrong attitude, we will not enjoy God’s peace. These burdens appear to be very real, even though they are of our own making.

Sometimes in this age of materialism, men put their trust in things—material things. Others put their trust in people. This, of course, is better, but not enough. We must put our trust in God. Through faith, we must be able to say as Jesus did, “Not my will, but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42) We can have peace only if we have a good conscience toward God.

No doubt, on the mount of transfiguration, when the Master heard the Father say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” he felt secure. These words must have given him strength in days of trial. Peter, and James, and John also were very close to God up there. They were filled with joy. They felt very secure; they had great peace. There are times when we also feel close to the Father. Let today, and each subsequent day, be a special time like this for us, for if we live close to him, “No storm can shake our inmost calm.”

We know that it is possible to enjoy this calm. We have heard the testimony of brethren who have suffered the loss of their health; who have looked the ‘grim reaper’ squarely in the face; and yet, who have kept the peace of God in their hearts throughout the years. They have learned the secret of peace. They live close to God, and God is near to them. His infinite power, beyond human comprehension, gives them peace in the realization that he knows, that he loves and he cares. In those who have this assurance, pain and peace can live together.

The Lord knows what our ‘cup’ contains, because he pours it for us. We have a spiritual anchorage that holds us close to God even though the storms of life are raging. So, if we would have the treasure of peace ‘with’ God, let us also live close to him and put complete trust in him and in his providences for our growth and blessing, that the peace ‘of’ God may also be our portion. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”—Isa. 26:3

Peace be with you!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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