"Peace" and "My Peace."

J. A. Trench.

Article 44 of 55 from 'Truth for Believers' Volume 2.

In comparing different aspects of peace it is helpful to note that in John 14:27, the Lord distinguishes between peace left to us and peace given to us. "Peace I leave with you" is peace with God as to every question of sin. He has made it by the blood of His cross, and brought the tidings of it on the evening of the day of His resurrection, when He stood in the midst of His own and greeted them with "Peace be unto you." He showed them, too, His hands and side as the witness of the work in which it had been accomplished, and commissioned them to go forth with it to others. (John 20:19-21) It was the precious legacy of His death. We have it (Rom. 5:1) as we believe the testimony of God to the facts of His having been delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification. It is peace of conscience. He could not speak of it as His. He never needed it: we did, and He made it and left it to us.

But the Lord goes on to speak of a deeper character of peace "My peace I give unto you." It is the peace in which He ever walked with the Father, the calm unruffled peace which resting in His love and submitting Himself absolutely to all His ways afforded. He characterises it as His, and has given it absolutely to be ours — not as the world gives indeed, for though it may give largely and generously it gives away; but He gives as bringing us into the possession of it with Himself. It is here applied to His peace, but the principle is true of all He gives — as His joy (John 15:11),

His glory (John 17:22), and the place He has in His Father's love (John 17:23, 26). How surely our hearts would own that the way He gives is the richest thing in what He gives, even that we possess it all in and with Himself. This second peace, then, coming in its own perfect order, is peace of heart, of the heart that has found Christ's own resting place as its own in a Father's love well known. We are entitled to count it ours, and that by His absolute gift, now to live in it practically through all the stress and strain of circumstances. Once again it is formally referred to in the Epistles (Col. 3:15): "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (N.Tr. and other critical versions), holding its blessed sway in all that is there, "to which ye have been called in one body," and thus in all our relations with our fellow-Christians.

It only remains to emphasise the strongly conditional character of the peace promised in Philippians 4. But the condition is only that we trust God with what would suggest care to us, putting the care upon Him instead of carrying it as a burden upon our hearts. And now it is not the peace of Christ, who as Man passed through the scene of trial, but the peace of God on the throne where no breath of trial ever came, which He guarantees shall keep our hearts and minds. And if our poor hearts would say that it is utterly incomprehensible, God has anticipated us and tells us that it passeth all understanding. He does not expect us, then, to understand it, but acting upon His word in simple confidence of heart in Him we shall realise the truth of it. May it be ever more and more so with us.