J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
The connection and place of peace in Luke, and as to the last or application to us, in John also, is extremely interesting. As soon as Christ is born, the unjealous delight in the divine glory in man's blessing celebrates His birth. They pass over man's fault in putting the Saviour born into the manger, and, filled entirely with the divine thoughts in it, celebrate His praise. And what was this? "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good pleasure in man." That was the result in its own nature of the birth of the Saviour. This presence of the Lord, the fruit of infinite grace, was in itself, if received, peace and blessing - carried it necessarily in what it was in itself - and will produce it finally.
But the Lord was rejected, and as some received Him, He had to say, "Think ye that I am come to send peace on earth; I tell you Nay, but rather a sword. Five shall be in one house, two against three, and three against two."
In the end of Luke, the Kingdom is celebrated, which will indeed bring in peace on the earth. There it is said: "Blessed be the King that cometh. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest." All that God had done on earth had been marred and spoilt by Satan, and as long as these wicked spirits were in heavenly places, thus it must be. But there is war in heaven, and the devil and his angels are cast out, and there is no more place for them. Then there is peace in heaven - Satan is bound. Now there can be peace on earth, and under the Lord's rule there will be peace. But between these two we stand. And in that same Gospel of Luke, the Lord comes after His resurrection and pronounces "Peace" on His disciples. But this was a peace of a far deeper and fuller character, not peace on earth, governmental peace, but peace made with God. He had made peace, perfect peace, so that the soul might enjoy cloudless communion with Him - all that is of the world or of this scene, as alive in it, being shut out. He had brought them, or had done what brought them into this peace by His death, and now He pronounced it. And if we turn to John, this will shine out with the brightest evidence. The Lord had warned His disciples that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword; so that the peace on earth was not there, but the fire already kindled. But He had ineffable peace of soul as not of the world - He was in, and His soul in the unclouded light of His Father's countenance. It was a link between man and God, infinite in blessing (in Him in every sense infinite, and in us objectively and as regards the power of the Holy Ghost, and as being in Him and so in cloudless light with God) no matter what the circumstances. Now Jesus through His death, and as being in Him and He in us, brings us into this blessing - "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you." This is unspeakably blessed.
309 The peace of the Christian is not the same as being justified - "Being justified, we have peace with God." This must be according to His nature; hence completely what He is, which makes it very blessed, and though in us connected with our being alienated and enemies by sin, yet in itself is only measured by what He was before sin existed - the outgoing of His own nature in itself before sin, and we in absolute harmony with its full display and proper nature. Sin has been the means of bringing us to know what holiness, righteousness, love are, but they are all in God - the last is His nature. Thus in seeing what Christ says, we learn what it is. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Now His peace was consonance in every way with the divine nature, and the consciousness of communion with it - that it rested on Him unclouded, but that was not by sin put away. It was in itself divine and, though now in a Man, eternal consonance. Now for us, of course, it had to be made - "He has made peace by the blood of the Cross," and this was so perfect, as to the whole nature and character of God, that He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father - is glorified with God in virtue of that work in which He glorified God perfectly and in respect of what we are as sinners, but glorified God perfectly.
Hence we are brought into this - "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God." It is in the midst of evil no doubt, conflict and warfare around, so that it has the character of peace. Still it is, and this makes it specially to be so, "Peace with God." Not as to the circumstances - that is the "Peace of God keeping our hearts" - a blessed thing, but not so deep and direct as this. This is with Himself - our secret with Him, His with us. I think it will turn to delight in His own glory in heaven, to which it ministers now. But here it has the character of peace with God.
Then we must remember that it is a state of mind in the unclouded consciousness of what God is (but necessarily according to His nature) to us according to the value of Christ's work, and in Him.
310 There is another order of peace from the conformity itself to this nature - a subjective peace, "The mind of the Spirit is life and peace."
I note the effects of the power of seeing the glorified Christ more distinctly. It absorbs the heart. "I have suffered the loss of all things, and r do count them but dung," it is not only that we have given them up, but their power is gone; the actual trials on the path become matter of joy - they are the fellowship of His sufferings, conformity to His death. It gives unity of action and perseverance. It gives a heavenly character to the path - the calling is above - confidence and joy in reference to God. It is God's calling and in the blessedest way in Christ Jesus. Christ Himself is the object, but this is united with our being glorified by divine favour resting on us as on Him. "Resurrection from among the dead" - for this too, divine righteousness in Christ Himself can alone be fit or suffice.