4. God's Peace

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. —Colossians 3:15

One of the greatest possessions in a world like ours is Peace. We’re not always enjoying what God has given to us. I’d like to have a little Bible reading with you just now about the Peace of God, and Peace with God, which we as believers have and should be enjoying.

From Romans, the fifth chapter, we read, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He has just been telling us, in the preceding chapter, that Abraham was counted righteous with God; and David described the happiness of the man to whom God imputed righteousness apart from works saying, “Blessed” (or happy) “is the man whose sins are forgiven…” Then he tells us, all of this was not written just for his sake alone…but “for us also to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is not a peaceful feeling. This is a state of peace, just as peace is declared following a war, upon agreement of certain terms. So we who were once the enemies of God have been brought to God through faith in the Lord Jesus and things are right between God and us. And we have peace with God.

Now I know there are immature believers, believers who are not too well taught, who are not enjoying this peace with God. They do not realize what it means to have a place of fellowship with God, to be at peace with God, to be at home in the presence of God. If possible, I would like to help you enter into the enjoyment of your possessions as a believer—to know that you have peace with God, that things are right and settled.

This can only be, as we read here, because we are justified by faith. Because we have a right standing with God, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and for no other reason can we have this peace with God.

There is also the peace of God in Philippians, chapter four, where we read in verse six: “Be careful for nothing” (that’s the old English word, “full of care” or as we would say, “Be anxious for nothing”); “but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God [that is, God’s kind of peace], which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

It’s possible, then, for us to have peace with God, and the peace of God. This is contrary to nature. We’re told several times in the Old Testament that there is no peace. Isaiah tells us, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” “The wicked are like the troubled sea, that cast up mire and dirt.”

Of course, there is such a thing as a false peace. Jeremiah warns against this. He writes, “Some have healed the hurt of the daughters of my people slightly, saying, Peace, Peace, where there is no peace.” Some of you may have a false peace. You may be depending on your own good works. You may think because you’ve always been a pretty good sort of person that you don’t have to worry about meeting God.

Or, maybe you’re depending on the merits of your church, or some ordinances. Or maybe you have a false peace because somebody who should know, who should have authority, has said to you, “Now don’t you worry. You’re a fine person. Everything will be all right.” Well, I’d like to see you disturbed about that if you have that kind of peace. I’d like to see you want to get peace from God.

God is said to be the author of peace in First Corinthians 14:33, and our Saviour is called the Prince of Peace in that wonderful prophecy in Isaiah 9. So God Himself must be the source of true peace.

Notice how most of the epistles in the New Testament begin with “Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Where else could we get real peace, except from Him who shows us real grace? I have no right to be at peace in the presence of God because of who I am, but I have every right to be at peace in the presence of God because of who God is and because of what He has done for me. I have peace with God by faith in Him.

The kind of peace that God gives us is His own peace. It’s possible to be at peace, to have no disturbance of thought, because where God lives there’s no disturbance. That’s why He calls it the peace of God.

The Lord Jesus said in the fourteenth chapter of John, verse 27: My “peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you.” Then He said in the sixteenth chapter, “In the world you will have tribulation,” but in Me you have peace. So we’re not going to find peace anywhere else. We’re not going to find it because of circumstances. I remember a man saying to my father when he first became a Christian, “Billy, what do you think about the Scripture that says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway’?” My father said, “I suppose it depends a good bit on circumstances.” “Ah, no,” he said, “it does not say to rejoice in circumstances. We can’t do that. But it says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord.’ “ So whatever your circumstances are it is possible for you to have peace in God.

You need not be disturbed about your sins, for the Lord Jesus has taken them away. You need not be disturbed about your future, because He has promised to look after that.

Back in the 26th chapter of Isaiah, he says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” That’s the kind of peace God offers—perfect peace.

Then we read in Second Thessalonians 3 that He wants to give us peace always. It’s possible to be at peace with God even though we are very aware of our shortcomings. It’s possible to have the peace of God ruling in our hearts even though we are very aware of conditions in the world about us. You may be very disturbed about what you read in the papers and hear over the radio, but you need not be disturbed about your future if it is in the hands of God. That’s why He says in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” The peace of God is able to control all of our feelings and emotions because we know God—because we know He’s dependable.

Now for a Christian, the meek and quiet spirit, which characterizes those who are resting in the peace of God, is said to be an ornament. God is glorified. God is honored when His people are meek and quiet and restful. Let me ask you now, fellow Christians, Are you meek? Are you restful? Are you trustful, or are you all disturbed? I suppose there are times when Christians need special help because of physical infirmities and mental disturbances, but ordinarily the best tranquilizing pill I can think of would be the promises of God. Turn to the Word of God and get this restfulness the Psalmist David knew when he said, in the close of the fourth Psalm, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makes me dwell in safety.” It’s possible for us to be extremely restful in spite of the conditions that are all around us.

How is this possible? I would like to tell you, first of all, that peace is one of the graces included in the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5 tells us the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” and continues on to name other things. Nine graces which should be marking the life of the believer who is led by the Spirit of God. This isn’t something you can produce yourself or drum up inside of you. This is something the Spirit of God produces as He has an opportunity to work in your hearts by faith.

From the fourteenth chapter of John—everybody knows that wonderful verse: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” I think that’s the secret of an untroubled heart: We believe in Him. When Paul was on the ship and about to be shipwrecked, and everybody was so terribly disturbed, even the old seasoned sailors were awfully disturbed. Things were bad—they hadn’t seen the sun in about three weeks. Paul said, “Sirs, I believe God.” His confidence in God gave the rest of them peace and they all took time out to have a little lunch. “I believe God.” That’s what gave him peace.

Suppose things look bad to you. What do you do? Turn to Him in prayer. Leave it all with Him. Put your confidence in Him. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The Lord said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.”

Let me close with the wonderful prayer in the sixth chapter of Numbers: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” In Jesus’ Name. Amen.