Grace and PeaceRelated Media
The epistles of Paul begin with a salutation that always includes the words, “grace to you and peace” or “grace, mercy, and peace” as in the case of 1 and 2 Timothy. Paul’s salutations include the writer, the recipient, and the greeting proper, which follows the style of other letters of his time. Paul’s salutations add a new flavor, however, due to the meaning of the words “grace” and “peace” for believers in Christ.
While “grace to you and peace” recall the normal Greek and Hebrew greetings. Paul basically coined a slight variation to connote the deepened Christian truth of grace. Charis (“grace”) goes beyond the typical chairein (“greetings”; see Acts 15:23; 23:26; James 1:1). By doing this he placed the focus on the unmerited blessings given to believers in Christ. Through God’s marvelous grace sinners are delivered from their sins and brought into a saving relationship with a holy God by the work of God on their behalf completely free of charge. This grace does not cease with salvation from sin’s penalty, but continues on as the foundation of the believer’s life with God throughout all eternity. These blessings of grace Paul and his associates wish for their readers.
Grace always brings benefits and one of these benefits is reflected in the word “peace” which the Apostle always associates with God’s grace. In fact, the order is significant. First grace and then peace. Until we know and appropriate grace, we can’t experience peace. “Peace” was a typical Jewish greeting (cf. Judges 19:20), but for the Christian, it carries a much deeper meaning than it did among the ancient Hebrews. So exactly what was it that Paul was wishing for his readers? The following study is a brief overview of the grace and peace offered to believers in Christ.
For many believers, the concept of grace goes little beyond the basic definition of “unmerited favor” or “the free gift of God.” But since grace is at the very heart, indeed, it is the very foundation and fountain of true Christianity, we should have a better grasp of this important word and its truth.
The ramifications of God’s grace to us in Christ vitally affect our lives on every hand. Throughout the New Testament the effects of God’s grace are emphasized. Everywhere we turn, we run into this word (104 references—NIV). In fact, the Lord Himself is described as the very epitome and manifestation of God’s grace.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Furthermore, the doctrine of God’s Grace in Christ is multi-sided. As a doctrine of the Word it touches every area of truth or doctrine in one way or another. Every aspect of doctrine is related to grace. It is no wonder grace is an important word and one that Paul desires to be experienced by all. It is a fountain from which we must all drink deeply, but it is one that runs counter to our own natural tendencies. Rather than drink from God’s fountain, we tend to build our own broken cisterns.
Jeremiah 2:13 For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.
Definition of Grace
A Basic Definition—lexical
The Greek word for grace is caris. Its basic idea is simply “non-meritorious or unearned favor, an unearned gift, a favor or blessings bestowed as a gift, freely and never as merit for work performed.”
Grace is “that which God does for mankind through His Son, which mankind cannot earn, does not deserve, and will never merit”1
Grace is all that God freely and non-meritoriously does for man and is free to do for man on the basis of Christ’s person and work on the cross. Grace, one might say, is the work of God for man and encompasses everything we receive from God.
Ephesians 1:3, 6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,… 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
John 6:27-29 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal." 28 They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
We should remember that the coming of Christ is described as the manifestation of God’s grace. “Grace is summed up in the name, person, and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.”2
John 1:14, 16 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. …16 For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Description—an expanded explanation
The Characteristics of Grace
(1) Grace stresses God’s character and man’s sinfulness while mercy stresses God’s strength and man’s helplessness. Grace finds its necessity in (a) the fact of God’s holiness and in the sinfulness of man, and (b) in the nature of God as the Creator and man as the creature.
(2) Grace is opposed to and excludes any idea of works for merit, works done as a means of blessing or as payment for what is done. Grace means you never deserve it nor can you earn it even by the old fashion method of working for it. Paul’s statement in Romans 4:1-2 is noteworthy:
Romans 4:1-5 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.
Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
A great man like Abraham may be able to boast about his works to people who may be impressed with his achievements, but there is never any place or room for boasting before God. Not even for a man like Abraham.
The moment we add works to gain favor with God, we go from grace to meritorious living. This is obvious in Romans 4:4-5 (see above).
But what about Ephesians 4:1 which reads, “I … entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called?” Does that not suggest works that are worthy? Rather than works that merit God’s favor, the idea is we are to walk in a manner that is consistent or fitting with our calling, not in a manner that merits God’s love.
(3) But at the same time, grace is the fountain from which good works are to be produced in the Christian’s life if appropriated by faith in God’s grace.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:9-11 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
In other words, grace gives power and motivation for Christ-like living. Titus 2:11 teaches us that God’s grace in Christ is the dynamic means of instruction and motivation for the Christian life. It literally teaches us how we should live and motivates us to do so.
Romans 12:1 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.
(4) Though grace is the New Testament way of life, it still contains rules and imperatives that God expects us to live by, but not as a means of merit, but because of God’s grace. It is not antinomian or anti-law.
1 Corinthians 10:31Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.
Romans 8:1-5There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Titus 2:12-14 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Romans 12:1-2 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
As Titus 2:12-14 and Romans 12:1-2 (above) teach us, God’s grace in Christ demands the denial of the wrong things in life (by the strength of God’s grace) and direction and obedience toward the right things. It becomes quite evident from this that grace never means the right to unbridled living or doing as one pleases because we stand in the grace of God.
Romans 5:20–6:1 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. …1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?
Ryrie puts it this way, “The final cause of the revelation of the grace of God in Christ is not creed, but character”3
(5) Grace glorifies God because it reveals God’s person, His glory and excellence. God’s gracious salvation and work for man in Christ is to the “praise of the glory of His grace.”
Romans 4:1-5 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
2 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
(6) Grace guarantees the believer’s salvation. It makes it impossible for any man to get out of the plan of God from the standpoint of his position in Christ. Why? Because salvation depends on the character and work of God in Christ and not on man’s record or works.
Romans 8:33-39 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Believers will be judged or examined for their works for rewards, but not as a basis of salvation.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
Unbelievers will be judged on the basis of their works at the Great White Throne Judgment, but they are only at this judgment because they have rejected grace work for them in Christ. Their works become the proof of their unrighteousness and evidently also, the basis of the degree of their punishment (cf. Matt. 11:21 which implies degrees of punishment).
(7) Grace guarantees us of God’s love and provision for anything we might face in life.
Romans 8:32-39 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Blessings of Grace
There are four main areas or blessings that God’s grace provision encompasses. Though sinful and deserving of God’s wrath, grace means:
(1) The Blessings of Acceptance
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
1 Corinthians 1:29-30 that no man should boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
Grace means we are completely accepted because of the perfect work of Christ which: redeems us (Rom. 3:24), reconciles us (2 Cor. 5:19-21), forgives us (Rom. 3:25; Eph. 1:6,7), delivers us (Col. 1:13), justifies us (Rom. 3:24; 5:1), and glorifies us (Rom. 8:30).
(2) The Blessing of Enablement (spiritual power and capacity)
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
Though weak and without capacity for spiritual things, grace means special divine ability is secured for the believer through the grace of God which is ours in Christ. This is stressed by the following:
- No longer under Law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14; 2 Cor. 3:6-13).
- Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
- Baptized and circumcised in Christ unto new life potential (Rom. 6:4f; Col. 2:11).
- Indwelt by the Spirit of God for power or ability to live the Christian life (Rom. 8:2f).
(3) The Blessings of a New Position
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Ephesians 2:1-5 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved,
Colossians 2:10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
Though in Adam and dead in sin before salvation, grace means the believer in Christ has a new position in Christ which brings every spiritual blessing into the believer’s life. This means the gift of such things as:
- Every believer a priest—members of a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5,9).
- Citizens of heaven and thereby left here on earth as ambassadors for Christ (Phil. 3:20; 2 Cor. 5:20).
- Children of God, members of God’s family (Eph. 5:1).
- Adopted as adult sons with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities (Gal. 4:5).
- Gifted for ministry (1 Pet. 4:10; 1 Cor. 12:4-7).
(4) The Blessings of an Eternal Inheritance
1 Peter 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Finally, though previously cut off from God and bound for hell, grace means the blessings of an eternal inheritance, one which is untouched by death, “imperishable,” unstained by evil, “undefiled,” and unimpaired by time, “will not fade away.”
The Needs in Relation to Grace—Grace Orientation and Multiplication
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:2-9).
Man’s natural tendency is to think in terms of works and merit. A salvation by grace through faith is simply too easy. It’s often called “easy believism.” This is obvious when one considers the many religions of the world, which all stress man doing good deeds of some sort as a means of gaining acceptance with God. This is illustrated in John 6 by the response of the Jews to Jesus’ words in John 6:27. When told they should not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall (please note) give to you…,” they replied, “What shall we do that we may work the works (plural) of God” (vs. 28). They completely missed the point because they were thinking in terms of human works to gain the spiritual food God had to offer. Jesus’ response is enlightening and orients us to grace. He said, “This is the work (singular) of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Salvation is the work of God, accomplished in His Son, which man receives as a gift through faith or believing in God’s Son.
Grace orientation and its multiplication comes through knowledge of the Word and through faith. First Peter 1:2 literally reads, “May grace and peace be multiplied or increased.” Later, in 2 Peter 3:18 Peter will exhort believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Not only do we need to be oriented to grace, but we need to grow in our understanding of the multiple facets of grace in all of life.
The Hazards in Relation to Grace—Grace Disorientation
Again, because of our works mentality, we tend to fail of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15). Consequently we turn to our own solutions, strategies, and methods for life which range all the way from humanism and legalism—we ignore God’s divine operating assets or grace and depend on self to the opposite, which is license—using God’s grace as an occasion for the flesh.
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Galatians 5:1-5, 13 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. …13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
There are several biblical pictures that warn of the danger:
- Leaning on the arm of the flesh which leaves one in desert like conditions (Jer. 17:5)
- Hewing out cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water (Jer. 2:13)
- Warring according to the flesh or using human weapons against spiritual forces (2 Cor. 10:3)
- Leaning on the staff of a sharp reed that pierces the hand (Isa. 36:6)
- Walking by our own man made fire brands to light our path (Isa. 50:10-11)
Note some of the forms the hazards take:
HUMAN STRATEGIES FOR LIVING
Loss of Control
Note some of the consequences the hazards lead to:
Galatians 5:1f very clearly shows us that when we turn to our own solutions (leaning on the arm of the flesh), we immediately exclude faith in God’s provision, nullify the power of God in our lives, dishonor God, quench the Spirit, produce the works of the flesh, and experience general misery rather than God’s peace.
Romans 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.
Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Galatians 3:1-5 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain-- if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
Galatians 5:1-5 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
Definition of Peace
The word for peace is eirhnh. It apparently comes from eirw which means “to join.” It means a state of untroubled tranquillity, a state without war or dividing factions or enmity. It refers to a state of harmony and well being. However, in the use of this word in Scripture, there are several aspects of peace which God's grace gives according to the varied contexts.
Description—The Kinds of Peace
The Peace of Reconciliation, Peace with God
Peace with God refers to the peace of salvation wherein the barriers, like man’s sin and God’s holiness, which separate man from God are removed through faith in God’s gracious work in Christ. In Ephesians 2, Christ is seen as the Peacemaker.
Ephesians 2:14-18 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
Romans 5:1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Galatians 6:12-16 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
The Peace of Fellowship, the Peace of a Conscience Void of Offense
This is the personal peace which God gives to the individual through fellowship with the Lord, or through walking in concord with God with all known sin confessed and turned over to God’s grace.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Acts 24:16 "In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
Titus 1:3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;
The Peace of Assurance, the Peace of God
This is the peace or rest of soul that comes from being confident of God’s supply and that God is in control of all the affairs of life. This is the peace that settles our nerves, fills our minds, and allows us to relax even in the midst of the uproar around us.
Philippians 4:6-9 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
Psalm 119:165 Those who love Thy law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.
Proverbs 3:13-17 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding. 14 For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways, And all her paths are peace.
The Peace of Harmony, Peace with Others
This is the peace of unity and oneness in the body of Christ; oneness of mind and purpose.
Ephesians 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
Principle: God reaps a harvest of peace when believers sow and water their minds with the Word. But Satan, the agent of disunity and strife, seeks to sow fear and anger in order to reap a harvest of discord through hurt feelings, failure to forgive, and selfish ambition. This happens when Christians refuse to operate on the principles and promises of the Word.
1 Corinthians 2:6-11 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
Mark 9:50 Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
Philippians 2:1-4 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
The Peace of State, Public Peace
This is the peace of righteous rule and comes through good rulers or governments acting in accord with the principles of the Word and through a strong nucleus of godly citizens who apply and live by the truth of Scripture (cf. the early chapters of Isaiah).
Romans 13:1-7 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. 5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Acts 24:2 And after Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, "Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation,
1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Global or World Peace
This is the peace of a world without war and disharmony which can only occur with the return and reign of the Lord (cf. Rev. 20). Until then, there will be wars and rumors of wars (Mat. 24).
Romans 16:20 And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
The Peace of Orderliness
This is the peace or tranquility that we experience when we do things decently and in order.
1 Corinthians 14:40 But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.
The Peace of Blessing
The wish expressed to others in a greeting for spiritual and physical prosperity, security, and safety as seen in the expression, “Peace, friend” or “Shalom.”
The Spheres in Which the Peace of God Exists in Our Lives
From the above, we can see that, if we are appropriating God’s grace as found in the promises and principles of Scripture as they relate us to God’s love and care, we can experience the peace of eternal security, the peace of good conscience, the peace knowing god’s will, the peace of knowing that God will supply, and personal peace in many other practical ways.
This naturally raises important questions. Where are we seeking our peace? How are we seeking our peace?
As we think about this question, we should note that God is called “the God of all grace”(1 Pet. 5:10), and also the God of Peace. The gospel is called the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15), Christ is Himself called our peace (Eph. 2:14), and Scripture speaks of guiding our feet “into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79). But then, let’s remember what Jesus said:
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Then later on the Lord added these words, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” Where do we find that peace? In the sphere of His life as the resurrected and glorified Savior seated at God’s right hand; in the sphere of His purposes, values, and character. Then He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! (be encouraged, comforted) I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
- Do you lack peace in some area of your life?
- Do you have peace with God with Christ as your Savior?
- Do you have the peace of God so you are resting in God’s supply?
- Do you have the peace of fellowship with a conscience that is void of offense (void of known sins, sins that have not been confessed)?
- Do you have peace in your home, with your fellow believers?
When we do not have peace, it is because somewhere we are not appropriating or resting in God’s grace. Remember, peace does not mean the absence of pain or hurt. It means that in our pain our hurt, we have peace because we know the Lord and we know He is in control.
Again let’s remember Peter’s words, “but grow in the grace” and Paul’s words, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
We are never told to pursue happiness, but the author of Hebrews does tell us to pursue peace and warns us against the danger of coming short of God’s grace.
Hebrews 12:12-13 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
Also, the author of Hebrews reminds us:
Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods (related to human religious works), through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.
Strengthening our hearts in God’s grace gives us the peace which the world simply cannot give. It can give temporary happiness and pleasure, but not peace because the world does not know God’s grace.