Webster defines PEACE as a “state (not an attitude but a condition of one’s heart) of stillness and serenity, of freedom from disquieting, agitating, anxious thoughts and a condition of harmony in relationships.” The Greek word for PEACE is EIRENE from the verb EIRO which means to join or bind together that which has been broken, divided or separated! Eirene is the root of our English word “serene” (free of storms or disturbance, marked by utter calm). EIRENE literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which has been separated, the result being that the separated parts are set at one again. Our common English expression “having it all together” speaks of everything in place and as it ought to be, a good description of BIBLICAL PEACE. When things (or people) are disjointed, there is lack of harmony and absence of an inner sense of well-being. When things (or people) are joined together, there is a sense of harmony, well-being and freedom from inner turmoil. PEACE can also describe cessation of war – “war” describes the state of all mankind in Adam (Ro 5:12-note) because before salvation we were enemies of God (Ro 5:10-note) and our peace with Him was broken. When we believed in Jesus by grace thru faith we were transferred from our old position in Adam to our new, eternal position of peace with God in Christ (1Cor 15:22-sermon). As Paul explained “having been justified by faith, we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro 5:1-note)
Matthew Henry once asked “What peace can they have who are not at peace with God?” answering that “Peace is such a precious jewel, that I would give anything for it but truth.” Amen!
One of the best illustrations of BIBLICAL PEACE I have ever encountered is from missionary Jim Walton who was translating the New Testament for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. However, Jim was having trouble translating the word PEACE. About this same time (don’t you love the PROVIDENCE of God!), Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was furious (loss of peace) because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton taped the chief’s diatribe and later when he translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase, “I don’t have ONE HEART.” Jim asked other villagers what having “ONE HEART” meant, and he found that it was like saying, “There is nothing between you and the other person.” Walton realized that God had just given him the picture he needed to translate the word PEACE into their language! To have peace with God means that there is nothing–no sin, no guilt, no condemnation–that separates us from God, PEACE possible only through Christ, Paul writing “having been justified (declared eternally in right standing before God) by faith, we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ro 5:1-note).
Do you have “ONE HEART” with God today?
Outside of Christ there is no peace.
Only those in Christ know peace!
Amy Carmichael, missionary to India wrote, “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace…If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you know what His will is.”
Indeed as Thomas Watson said “The seeming PEACE a sinner has is not from the knowledge of his happiness but the ignorance of his danger.” D L Moody adds that “A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; all we have to do is to enter into it.”
BIBLICAL PEACE describes that state of inner repose and quietness, even (especially) in adverse circumstances, which indicates that this peace is not natural but must be a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, a truth that Paul affirms writing that “the fruit of the Spirit is…PEACE” (Gal 5:22-note) It follows that we can possess “ONE HEART” because God is able to give us His peace even when our lives seem to be “falling to pieces.” Have you experienced His supernatural peace that surpasses all human understanding (Php 4:7-note)? How can we experience this glorious peace? We experience this peace by learning to surrender to the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.
As Kenneth Wuest explains this blessed "state of untroubled, undisturbed tranquility and well being is produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit. We have this peace to the extent that we are yielded to the Spirit and are intelligently conscious of and dependent upon His ministry for us.” (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Alexander Maclaren adds that this "PEACE comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of” Christ.
Jesus promised His fearful little flock
PEACE I leave with you. MY PEACE (“the imperturbable, inviolable peace of Jesus imparted to us in every detail of our lives”-Oswald Chambers) I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (Note that Jesus is saying that His peace is the “divine balm” for a troubled and fearful heart!) (John 14:27)
As Amy Carmichael (who lived in the midst of troubling circumstances as a woman missionary in India) testified, “The PEACE of Jesus stood every sort of test, every strain, and it never broke. It is this, His very own PEACE, which He says ‘I give.’” And so we see that the peace that Jesus gives is not a guarantee of the absence of trouble, but instead is the promise that He is there with us in and thru the storm (Cf “The waves were breaking over the boat…and HE HIMSELF was in the stern”-Mk 4:37-38-sermon). While sometimes Jesus chooses to calm the storm as when He declared “PEACE, BE STILL” (Mk 4:39KJV), at other times He lets the storm rage and calms His child by giving His peace that transcends human understanding. Regardless, as Oswald Chambers says “No matter how complicated the circumstances may be, one moment of contact with Jesus and the fuss is gone, the panic is gone, all the shallow emptiness is gone, and His PEACE is put in, absolute tranquility, because of what He says—“All power is given unto Me.”
Jesus again repeated the truth about His peace to His fearful disciples declaring “These things (John 13-16) I have spoken to you, that IN ME you may have PEACE. In the world you have tribulation (affliction, trouble), but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33-Spurgeon sermon) Observe the phrase “IN ME” which signifies that Jesus’ peace is not just His PROMISE (which it is) but even better, PEACE is the PERSON of Christ Himself! (cf Eph 2:14-note, Micah 5:5-note)
Now may the LORD OF PEACE HIMSELF continually grant you PEACE in EVERY (Greek means “all” w/o exception!) circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” (2Th 3:16-Spurgeon sermon). Indeed "Like a river glorious, is God's perfect peace." Pause and meditate a few moments on God's perfect peace in Christ as you sing this great hymn to Him...
Like a river glorious, is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
When we keep our MIND fixed (stayed) on the LORD OF PEACE, He gives us His PEACE OF MIND for as a man or woman thinks in their heart so they are (Pr 23:7a).
Great GOD OF PEACE by Your Spirit cause our hearts to BE STILL, and grant us Your grace to understand BIBLICAL PEACE so that we might know the blessedness of this peace by personal possession and practice, in the Name of Christ Jesus our Peace, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-sermon) and the God of Peace Who will soon crush Satan under His feet. (Ro 16:20-note) Amen
Dearly beloved, is your SOUL troubled (lacking His peace)? After you have meditated on the truth about God’s Peace, take a moment to sing prayerfully to your SOUL (cf similar exhortation in Ps 42:5-note) the beautiful Selah hymn medley
BE STILL, MY SOUL: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
BE STILL, MY SOUL: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
BE STILL MY SOUL the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below
Oh what PEACE we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
BE STILL MY SOUL.
PEACE (eirene from eiro = to join together) is not just the absence of hostility and strife (which it is!) but also describes the situation where two are brought together and 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 above). When things (people, God and man) are “disjointed,” there is lack of harmony (a DIVIDED HEART) and 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 and is the position (standing, possession) of every believer, while the latter is associated with sanctification (daily growth in Christlikeness), is experiential and 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.
I Will Be Still and Know You Are God
Hide me now, under Your wings,
Cover me, within Your mighty hand.
When oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, You are King over the flood,
And I will be still and know
You are God.
Find rest my soul
In Christ alone.
Know His pow'r
In quietness and trust.
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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and worry do to disturb the PEACE OF GOD in our heart and mind? But God has not left us without “the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13-note) when we encounter these “peace breakers.” Under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul writes
BE ANXIOUS (command - present imperative with negative = stop doing this or don't begin!) 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. cf 1 Thessalonians 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. James 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 and even mysterious to believers who are surprised at the presence of peace and 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) (See study of phrases in Christ and in Christ Jesus).” (Php 4:6-note, Phil 4:7-note)
So what is the divine “antidote” for peace stealers? It is a command to stop worrying and start praying with thankful hearts. “Careful for nothing, prayerful for everything, thankful for anything!” (Moody) Warren 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 and self effort and casing ourselves wholly on the Spirit of Christ to give us the desire and the power (see Php 2:13-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. (MacArthur, J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press)
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.
- Related Resource: Give Me An Undivided Heart
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 and inwardly knit by His uniting grace, we shall be powerful for good, but not otherwise. To fear God is both the beginning, the growth, and the maturity of wisdom, therefore should we be UNDIVIDEDLY given up to it, heart, and soul.”
Now the GOD OF PEACE, (cf Ro 15:33, Ro 16:20, 1Co 14:33, 2Co 13:11, Php 4:9, 1Th 5:23) 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 and 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 and 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 and minds in Christ Jesus in the midst of all storms and 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 and from his heart filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-note, Galatians 5:22-note, Isaiah 28:3) and His gracious gift of a deep inner peace peace of God prompting the timeless words "It is well with my soul".
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’