The Peace of Christ

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth [in stinted measure or in perishable quality], give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
—John 14:27

WITH ABOUNDING compassion and tenderness, our Lord—on the last night of his earthly life—bestowed upon his beloved disciples a parting blessing. It was his legacy of peace, certainly the richest legacy he had to bequeath, and one of priceless value. It was the promise of that tranquillity of soul, that rest and ease of mind, which he himself possessed—the peace of God.


It was the same peace which the Father has himself always enjoyed, even in the midst of all the commotion which the permission of evil has brought about. But it was not derived from the same source. In Jehovah, this peace was self-centered; he realized in himself the omnipotence of power and wisdom; while the peace of Christ was centered, not in himself, but in God, by faith in his wisdom, power, and grace. So also if we would have the peace of God, the peace of Christ—‘my peace’—it must, like his, be centered in God by faith.

The peace of Christ is a priceless legacy. Yet, when the storm clouds of trouble, which were even then growing very dark, burst in their fury upon the heads of those very disciples to whom the words were directly addressed, they failed to claim this legacy. They followed immediately the gracious bequest, and struck consternation, bewilderment, confusion to their hearts, and shook their faith.

While the Lord was speaking the words, the foul betrayer, Judas, was out on his murderous errand. Then followed the agony in Gethsemane, and the terror and dismay among the disciples as they began to realize the fate of their beloved Lord. Soon their suspense deepened into more fearful forebodings as he stood alone before his merciless accusers and persecutors in the Hall of Pilate and the Court of Herod, while they were powerless to shield him. Then came the tragic end—the horrors of the crucifixion.


Where was the promised peace under such circumstances—when, overcome with fear and dread, they all forsook him and fled; and when Peter, although anxious to defend him, was so filled with fear that three times he denied his Lord, and with cursing declared that he never knew him? The explanation is that the peace had not yet come; for, as the Apostle Paul tells us, “Where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament [a bequest] is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” (Heb. 9:16,17) Soon the tragic scene was over, and the cry, “It is finished,” fell upon their ears. The darkened heavens, the quaking earth, the rending rocks, the torn veil of the temple—these were all signs of God’s displeasure at the treatment of his Son.

To the world (both Jews and Gentiles participating in the crime) the language of these events was that of Divine wrath and indignation against them. As fear fell upon the people, and the clamor and excitement of that awful day died away, they smote upon their breasts and returned to their homes with fear. The Roman centurion and they that were with him, fearing greatly, said: “Truly this was the Son of God.”—Matt. 27:54

To the disciples of the Lord, these events spoke a very different language. The cause of their blessed Master was their cause, and it was God’s cause. To them these supernatural demonstrations gave evidence that God was not regarding this matter with indifference.

Three days later, hope was revived by the news of our Lord’s resurrection, confirmed to them by his appearance in their midst. Again, forty days later, hope was strengthened by his ascension after his parting counsel, blessing, and promised return; and his instructions to tarry in Jerusalem until they received, not many days hence—at Pentecost—the promise of the Father, which was the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of adoption.

Then the peace of Christ, the Lord’s rich legacy, began to be realized. The tarrying days of prayer and expectancy were days of abiding peace—peace which flowed as a river. When, on the Day of Pentecost, the promised Comforter came, the river of their peace found a deeper bed; and their joy knew no bounds!

“Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious in its glad increase.
Perfect; yet it floweth fuller every day;
Perfect; yet it groweth deeper all the way.”


But this legacy of peace was not bequeathed to the Early Church alone. It is the blessed inheritance of the entire church, even to the end of the age. The Lord showed his thought for us all on that very day, when in his prayer he said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”—John 17:20

The peace promised is not the short-lived peace of the world. This is sometimes enjoyed for a little season—while fortune smiles and friends abound, and health endures. It quickly vanishes when poverty comes in, and friends go out; when health fails and death steals away the treasures of the heart. ‘My peace,’ the peace of God—which Christ himself enjoyed, endured through loss, persecution, scorn, contempt, and even amidst the agonies of the cross. This peace is something which none of the vicissitudes of the present time can destroy, and which no enemy can wrest from us.

The peace promised is not the sort that the world recognizes and appreciates. The Lord himself had a stormy pathway, and so it must be for all the faithful until the purposes of God in the permission of evil are accomplished. We are distinctly forewarned—with the assurance that through all the storms this peace shall abide—“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”—John 16:33


If we would know the foundation and security of this abiding peace which is able to survive the heaviest storms of life, we have only to look to the teaching and example of the Lord and the apostles. What was it that held them so firmly, and gave them such rest of mind while they suffered? It was their faith in the love, power and wisdom of God. They believed that what God had promised he was able also to perform; and that his righteous and benevolent plan could know no failure.

By the mouth of his prophets he had declared, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: … Yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isa. 46:10,11) “The Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?” (Isa. 14:27) They rested on the assurances of God; in him their faith was anchored. While they were tossed by the tempests of life, it did not matter how fiercely the storms raged, because their anchor still held fast to the throne of God.

The language of our Lord’s faith was: “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee.” (John 17:25) He had been with the Father from the beginning, had realized his love and goodness, had seen his power, and had marked his righteousness and his loving kindness and fatherly providence over all his works. The knowledge which he had of the Father gave to him a firm footing for faith in all God’s purposes concerning the future. Hence he could and did walk by faith. And that faith enabled him to overcome all obstacles, and to secure the victory, even over death. As it is written, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”—Isa. 53:11

It is also written for our instruction: “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our [your] faith.” (I John 5:4) It is only through steady, unwavering faith that the peace of Christ will abide with his people. While the Lord was with his disciples and they saw in him the manifestation of the Father, their faith was strong and they had peace in him. As he said, “While I was with them in the world I kept them.” (John 17:12) But not until after he had left them was their faith truly anchored in God. After Pentecost they experienced the same peace that Christ had enjoyed—the blessed peace that came from a knowledge of the fact that God acknowledged them as sons and heirs, and joint-heirs with Christ, if they would continue faithfully to follow in the steps of the Redeemer.


This is the basis of our peace. No matter how fiercely the storms of life may assail us, we must never let go our anchor and allow ourselves to drift. We are to remember that “the foundation of God standeth sure.” (II Tim. 2:19) “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Ps. 91:4) “What he had promised he was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:21), notwithstanding our human imperfections and frailties. These are covered through the imputed righteousness of Christ, our Surety and our Advocate. Also, we must remember that “the Father himself loveth” us. (John 16:27) He knows our frame and “remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14), and so has compassion for the sons of his love and is very pitiful and of tender mercy. Indeed, “What more can he say than to you he hath said,” (Hymns of Dawn, #93: “Our Firm Foundation” ) to assure our faith and to steady and strengthen our hearts to patient endurance in the midst of the trials and conflicts of the narrow way of sacrifice.

There is nothing which puts the Christian at greater disadvantage in the presence of his foes than for him to let go, even temporarily, his grip upon the anchor of faith. Let him do so even for a moment, and of necessity darkness begins to gather round him. He cannot see the brightness of his Father’s face; for “without faith it is impossible to please” God. (Heb. 11:6) While the Christian grapples again for the anchor, the powers of darkness fiercely assail him with doubts and fears. These attacks are generally based upon his human imperfections, which he should ever bear in mind are covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

If we would have the peace of God reign in our hearts we must never let go our anchor, nor suffer Satan’s deadliest strife to beat our courage down. The language of our hearts must always be, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job 13:15) With this faith, the peace of God bequeathed to us by our Master ever abides. Thus, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) It is written again, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” (Isa. 26:3) In the midst of the Christian warfare let our hearts be cheered and our minds be stayed, not only with assurances that all the Divine purposes shall be accomplished, but also, with promises of personal favor such as these:

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Ps. 103:13) “Can a woman forget her suckling child? . . . Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” (Isa. 49:15,16) “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) “Such as are upright in their way are his delight.”(Prov. 11:20) “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps. 37:4)—the peace of God, even in the midst of storm and tempest.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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