Seven times in the epistles we read of “the God of Peace,” and surely He will supply abundance of peace for those who love Him. Once is that beautiful title given to Christ by the Spirit—“the Lord of peace.” How encouraging is the verse where it occurs—“The Lord of peace Himself give you peace continually in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thess. 3:16).
Let us consider some of the benefits and priceless treasures of peace which are freely given to those who have been called by the grace of God.
1. Judicial Peace
Peace with God (Rom. 5:1). This is judicial. It comes to us from a transaction which took place between God and our Lord Jesus Christ, when Jesus was delivered up for our offences, when the chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him. The whole question of our sins having been settled by divine justice, God raised Christ from among the dead for our justification; and, possessing this on the principle of faith, peace with God is consequently ours. It is unchangeable. It rests upon a solid basis of righteousness. It cannot be altered. Though we have it, yet we did not make it. It was made between God and Christ for us, and it is eternal. God was the author of it and Christ the procurer of it. Wars can neither make it nor mar it. Peace with God is ours through the work of another. He made it, and we take it by faith. It is fundamental and abiding.
2. Spiritual Peace
Peace of mind (Rom. 8:6). This is spiritual, and results from the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. The mind of the Spirit is life and peace, but the mind of the flesh is enmity against God. If a true believer minds the things of the flesh, he has an experience which is the very opposite to what is called “life and peace.” The Holy Spirit dwells in us to lead us into the things of God, to fill our thoughts with the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ; and as the mind is occupied with and furnished by these things, peace of mind is ours. We prove in our spiritual experience the truth of that word, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isa. 26:3). To have the mind guided in the right direction is all-important in this connection.
3. Circumstantial Peace
The peace of God (Phil. 4:7). This is circumstantial. By that we mean, peace in relation to our circumstances; and, wonderful to relate, it is God’s own peace which is ours in this connection. Peace with God is ours as the result of what Christ has done; the peace of God is ours as the result of what we do; as we read, “Be careful 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 passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts (the seat of your affections) and minds (the seat of your thoughts) through Christ Jesus.” These are the terms for the enjoyment of the peace of God. Full of care for nothing; prayerful and thankful to God in everything. Peace with God is ours through faith, this through prayer and thanksgiving. The first is ours in regard to the putting away of our sins at the cross; the second is ours in regard to all circumstances, as we gratefully leave our cares with Him who gives us His own peace instead. Words cannot express the infinite grace and sweetness of this: it “passes all understanding.”
4. Universal Peace
Peace by blood (Col. 1:20). This is universal. “Having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” How far-reaching are the blessings that flow from the cross of our adorable Saviour. Universal disturbance has come in through sin, peace and reconciliation result universally from its removal by Him who died and rose again. The Old Testament eloquently describes the earthly blessings; and the thrones, dominions, principalities, powers and authorities in heaven will also benefit. Israel will rejoice in the Saviour presently as “the Prince of Peace: of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa. 9:6-7); but righteousness, peace and joy shall fill the earth, and the heavens likewise.
“The mountains shall bring peace to the people” we are told; and Christ “shall have dominion from sea to sea”; then “men shall be blessed in Him”; but the heavens too shall reap rich results through Him who made peace by the blood of His cross. Already the redeemed can say in the language of Ephesians 2:4, “He is our peace.” Those who know the Saviour have reached their desired haven: peace is theirs now for ever.
5. Intentional Peace
The counsellors of peace (Prov. 12. 20). This is intentional. The intent and counsel of their heart is for peace; therefore we read, “To the counsellors of peace is joy.” This truth is applicable to all who counsel with such Christ-like intent; but it surely carries our thoughts up to the supreme council chamber of the divine majesty. There the Godhead counselled peace. Sin spreads its disastrous disorders. No one else could secure peace and equity. Man is helpless in himself; but the gracious and august deliberations of the Trinity counselled the way of peace through the cross of Christ; and, though the blessings of that counsel and work are ours, the glory and the joy shall be theirs eternally; for, as we have seen, not only are believers reconciled as the present result of the death of Christ, but eventually all things in earth and heaven shall be reconciled also. “To the Counsellors of peace is joy”—joy now, joy for ever. How worthy of this is our God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who counselled, procured, and proclaimed it to us.
6. Conditional Peace
The God of peace (Phil. 4:9). This is conditional; that is, as far as our experience of His presence with us according to this verse is concerned. If we “do” the things referred to, it is said, “The God of peace shall be with you.” What company may be ours in a world like this! We have seen from verse 7 that our hearts and minds may be garrisoned by God’s own peace; now we are told, we may have the company of the God of peace Himself with us. What high honour! What a priceless privilege! Meditation upon these words will be more likely to produce the desired result than extended dilation upon them. “What ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, these things DO; and the God of peace shall be with you” (N.Tr.).
7. Practical Peace
The makers of peace (Matt. 5:9). This is practical. The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called sons of God” (N.Tr.). It is not that peace-making constitutes us sons of God. The relationship of sons is ours “by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26, N.Tr.); but it means we shall bear that character—that God-likeness; so we shall be known as sons of God. We read of sons of light, sons of the day, and sons of thunder. This is character rather than relationship. Peace-making is to be characteristic of us. The blessedness, happiness, and recognition of this will then be ours. Surely, beloved brethren, since we are recipients of such abundance of peace ourselves; since we belong to Him who is the God of peace; since we are eternally at rest through the work of the great Peace-maker, our Lord and Saviour; since we are called to follow Him, we should seek in every possible way to make peace consistent with the holiness of God. Happy are the peace-makers. It is difficult to think of any of the saints of God seeking anything different from this. They are all peace-takers; they should all be peacemakers; surely none can intentionally be peace-breakers. We are exhorted to “follow peace with all.”
O ye children of God, rejoice greatly in the abiding peace which is yours through our Lord Jesus Christ!—
“Peace like an even river flows,
And mercy like a flood.”
O ye spiritual priesthood, having approach to God to offer up your “spiritual sacrifices,” feed abundantly on the “peace offerings” divinely provided for you!
And ye soldiers warring in the heavenly conflict of Ephesians 6 see that ye stand your ground firmly, strong in the Lord, “having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”!—peace in the struggle is thy portion!
Finally, may grace and peace be multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2). Again and again, in nearly all the inspired letters, the Spirit begins by desiring for us, “Grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” LORD, LET THY BELOVED SAINTS PROVE THIS PLENTIFULLY AT THE PRESENT TIME.