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BIBLICAL PEACE – PART 2

November 20, 2012


BIBLICAL PEACEPart 2: PEACE (eirene from eiro = to join together) is not just the absence of hostility & strife (which it is!) but also describes the situation where two are brought together & there is no long anything between them to cause friction or create a barrier. As missionary Jim Walton discovered, BIBLICAL PEACE was beautifully described by the natives as a person who possessed “ONE HEART” (See prior post). When things (people, God and man) are “disjointed,” there is lack of harmony (a DIVIDED HEART) & a loss of a sense of well-being, but when they are joined together, there is ONE HEART that can supernaturally sing “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!”

PEACE WITH GOD should be distinguished from PEACE OF GOD. The former is forever, equates with justification & is the position (standing, possession) of every believer, while the latter is associated with sanctification (daily growth in Christlikeness), is experiential & manifest by inward tranquility (freedom from agitation, disturbance, turmoil) of one’s soul but sadly an experience that can be “stolen” from our heart, especially by the “thieves” named fear, anxiety and worry.

PEACE WITH GOD: Paul writes that “as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1Cor 15:22-Spurgeon sermon) And so when we were in Adam “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1-note, cf Ro 5:12-note) we were not at PEACE WITH GOD for we were “alienated and hostile in mind (“hostile toward God” Ro 8:7-note), engaged in evil deeds” (Col 1:21-note). BUT JESUS “made PEACE (WITH GOD) thru the blood of the Cross” (Col. 1:20-note), so that now “having been justified (declared legally in right standing before God) by faith, we (forever) have PEACE WITH (“face to face” before) GOD thru our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ro 5:1-note). Indeed, even while “We were enemies, we were RECONCILED (taken from a state of enmity to a state of peace which restored our relationship) to God thru the death of His Son” (Ro 5:10-note) Who thereby made us God’s “children, heirs also, heirs of God & fellow heirs with Christ” (Ro 8:17-note), yea, even eternal heirs of the precious prize of PEACE WITH GOD.

As Spurgeon explains that “There is no quarrel now between God & those who are in Christ Jesus. PEACE is made between them. The middle wall that stood between them is taken away (for “now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ, for He Himself is our peace, Who made both groups into one & broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.” Eph 2:13-14-note). Christ, by His “one sacrifice for sins for all time,” (Heb 10:12), has made peace for all His people, and has effectually established a union (oneness in Christ) that will never be broken.” Amen! Hallelujah!

PEACE OF GOD: As noted this “genre” of divine peace can rise and fall proportionate to disturbances from fear, anxiety or worry. Little wonder that these thieves can steal our peace, for ANXIOUS is derived from the Latin angere meaning to strangle while WORRY is related to German wurgen which also means to strangle! Is this not what anxiety & worry do to disturb the PEACE OF GOD in our heart and mind? But God has not left us without “the way of escape” (1Cor 10:13-note) when we encounter these “peace breakers.” Under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul writes “BE ANXIOUS (command) for NOTHING (Paul’s circumstances? An “anxiety producing” prison cell!), but in EVERYTHING (not just the “big things” – nothing too small to bring to God) by PRAYER (includes the ideas of adoration and worship of God) and SUPPLICATION (sincere, earnest sharing of our needs and problems) with THANKSGIVING (A Spirit enabled God aligned attitude of gratitude. 1Th 5:18-note) let your requests BE MADE KNOWN to God (Of course He knows them, but this is an act of humbling ourselves before Him, knowing He is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Jas 4:6-note). And the PEACE OF GOD, which SURPASSES ALL COMPREHENSION (Why? In short, it is supernatural in nature and origin, a gift of grace from the God of peace and a gift that “keeps on giving” in spite of adverse circumstances or people, which is simply incomprehensible to non-believers & even mysterious to believers who are surprised at the presence of peace & lack of anxiety even though they are in trials or tribulations!), shall GUARD (God’s “supernatural soldier” standing on guard duty over) your HEARTS and your MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS (Don’t miss this last phrase -in Christ Jesus – we are safe in Him Who is Peace Personified).” (Php 4:6-7)

So what is the divine “antidote” for peace stealers? It is a command to stop worrying & start praying with thankful hearts. “Careful for nothing, prayerful for everything, thankful for anything!” (Moody) Wiersbe helps us understand this command noting that “It is not enough for us to tell ourselves to “quit worrying” because that will never capture the thief (worry the greatest thief). Worry is an “inside job,” and it takes more than good intentions to get the victory.” The only way to obey this command is by jettisoning self reliance & self effort and casing ourselves wholly on the Spirit of Christ to give us the desire & the power (see Php 2:13NLT-note)

Spurgeon adds we must supplement “No care with all prayer….Carry our desires to the Lord of our life, the guardian of our soul. Go to Him with two portions of prayer and one of fragrant praise. Do not pray doubtfully but thankfully. Consider that you have your petitions, and, therefore, thank God for His grace.”

Remember that the Greek word for PEACE is eirene which describes the joining together of that which has been separated while ANXIETY is the polar opposite the Greek word describing a mind which is pulled apart or drawn in different directions! As Wiersbe says “Our hopes pull us in one direction; our fears pull us the opposite direction; and we are pulled apart!” The ANTIDOTE for this “ANTITHESIS” is grateful prayer leading to God’s PEACE which counters all ANXIETY! Indeed, care (anxiety) and prayer are as mutually opposed as fire and water so by turning our CARES into PRAYERS we throw them upon Him Who gives us in return His peace, the PEACE OF GOD that GUARDS us like a soldier over the two areas that create anxiety, our heart (wrong feelings) and our mind (wrong thinking) while the GOD OF PEACE GUIDES us step by step (Php 4:9-note)!

Spurgeon adds that the PEACE OF GOD is “God’s Own peace. You shall not be able to understand the peace which you shall enjoy. It will enfold you in its infinite embrace. Heart and mind through Christ Jesus shall be steeped in a sea of rest. Come life or death, poverty, pain, slander, you shall dwell in Jesus above every ruffling wind or darkening cloud. Will you not obey this dear command? Yes, Lord, I do believe thee; BUT, I beseech thee, HELP MINE UNBELIEF.”

John MacArthur adds that “The real challenge of the Christian life is not to eliminate EVERY unpleasant circumstance; it is to TRUST in the good purpose of our infinite, holy, sovereign, powerful God in EVERY difficulty. Those who honor Him by trusting Him will experience the blessings of His perfect peace.”

When circumstances arise that try to pull our hearts away from God and His SURPASSING PEACE, the psalmist offers us a great prayer “Teach me Your way O LORD and I will walk in Your truth. GIVE ME AN UNDIVIDED HEART,(Give me “ONE HEART” ~ PEACE) that I may fear Your Name.” (Ps 86:11NIV-note) Amen.

Spurgeon agrees noting that “Our minds are apt to be DIVIDED between a variety of objects, like trickling streamlets which waste their force in a hundred runnels; our great desire should be to have all our life floods poured into one channel and to have that channel directed towards the Lord alone. A man of DIVIDED heart is weak, the man of one object is the man. God Who created the bands of our nature can draw them together, tighten, strengthen, and fasten them, and so braced & inwardly knit by His uniting grace, we shall be powerful for good, but not otherwise. To fear God is both the beginning, the growth, & the maturity of wisdom, therefore should we be UNDIVIDEDLY given up to it, heart, and soul.”

Now the GOD OF PEACE, (cf Ro15:33,16:20, 1Co14:33, 2Co13:11, 1Th5:23) Who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, EQUIP you (Greek = mend what is broken, restoring to former useful condition, making us whole & what we ought to be) in every good thing TO DO His will (our responsibility), (enabled supernaturally by His Spirit Who is continually) working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, thru Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory forever & ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21-note)

The PEACE OF GOD comes when the Spirit of Christ controls our internal being whatever our external circumstances. The worst ocean storm never goes more than fifty feet deep. Gales rip across the Atlantic and cause waves a hundred feet high, but far below the water is calm as a pond on a sunny day in June. In the same way the PEACE OF GOD which surpasses all understanding keeps our hearts & minds in Christ Jesus in the midst of all storms & perils.

Horatio Spafford understood this metaphor, for his only son died of scarlet fever in 1870, his investment in real estate in 1871 burned to the ground that same year in the great Chicago fire, and then in 1873 he was devastated by the news that all 4 of his daughters had died in a shipwreck in the Atlantic. Later, as he was in route to Europe to meet his wife who had survived, he was shown the spot in the mid-Atlantic where his daughters had perished, and was suddenly overwhelmed by an inrush of SUPERNATURAL PEACE (the PEACE OF GOD). With tears streaming down his face, Spafford picked up a pen to record his feelings & from his heart filled with the PEACE OF GOD flowed the timeless words below.

Play & pray this great Hillsong hymn medley

When PEACE like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to say,
‘IT IS WELL, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL’

RELATED RESOURCES:
Php 4:6 Commentary
Php 4:7 Commentary

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