Tools of Faith: Peace

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. [Matthew 5:5 ESV]

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. [John 16:33 ESV]

Within every human lives a desire for peace which drives them. For with peace there is rest and security. There are no threats or dangers. When God created our first parents He placed them in a garden, a place where peace was natural for there was nothing to fear. There was no sin. There was no risk of loss. God was with them. Their safety was assured.

Then Adam sinned and they were banished from the garden, driven away from their peace. They were separated from God the One in who’s image they were created and with whom they were designed to have an intimate relationship. With separation can the loss of the feeling of the presence of God. Their rebellion brought fear because the world became dangerous. There was no peace between people and no peace with the animals they once ruled. Even nature and weather turned against them. Their rebellion destroyed their peace.

Separated from God and in complete rebellion against Him we do not want to enjoy the intimate relationship for which we were designed. We want to return to the garden without God. We want peace with the world, with nature, with people and nations without having peace with God. Yet, peace with God is primary, the necessary element to peace with His creation.

Fear, like anger, destroys intimacy with God and those closest to us. Fear reflects a lack of trust in the perceived promise of security given by the One who guarantees our security. We will examine peace more fully when we discuss the verse “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” [Matthew 5:9 ESV]. For now, we recognize the evidence of peace as a feeling of security, where there is a lack of danger like the tranquility of the garden before the fall. This peace is had in the midst of danger found within the turmoil of the sinful world. Where the world demands we fear it Jesus says do not fear because He has claimed us as His and the world can do nothing to change our position before God.

Peace is given and may be had only by the servant who has relinquished control to the Master and is submitting fully to the training and commands to obedience because of their trust in His promises. Christians are being made ready, prepared, trained for at least two tasks. These tasks do not have a beginning or end, for one leads into the other and where one may finally stop the other immediately begins.

We are trained for eternity with God as citizens of His kingdom. We have only the most rudimentary understanding of eternity based on the revealed truth of God in Scripture. We then supplement the thinking of our hearts with allusions and imagery which cannot reflect the complete truth of that which awaits us. We know God is eternal and eternity is God Himself. This is enough, for God encompasses everything He imagines, which He then creates, all of which is beyond our limited imagination.

Before eternity is the here and now. God uses this world as a training ground for those who are His. In this world we are His witnesses. Our job and His command is to serve Him and not the world or ourselves. Throughout our lives, from the moment of salvation until the moment of death we are under the obligation to act like a citizen of the kingdom in a world deadly hostile to the Gospel, to Jesus and God. While doing this we slowly, painfully, relinquish control of all we own, whether things or attitudes or people or time, until all is brought under His control.

When God tells us to speak we speak for there are many, we know not who, in this world who are His and called out of the world into His service. When He tells us to be silent we are silent. When He plums the depths of our hearts and minds revealing anything which controls us in completion to His will He tests and refines us. He will allow no idol in our lives. We are at war in this world, aliens and strangers, even refugees, living in this world as non-residents passing through to our true home. Our lives are short and this world is passing away. Why would we place our hope or trust in anything which will not last for eternity?

Peace is not a felt emotion but a position before God. We have peace with God and none with this world because our position before God is one of inclusion in Christ and separation from the world. Peace is a tool given us to stand in the world between the world and God. Living in hostile territory demands we seek a pattern of life which does not compromise who we truly are with what the world considers us. We have an intimate relationship with God which the world cannot possibly understand. Those who hate God actually fight against Him.

Even our momentary rebellions against Him will not separate us from Him for peace with God is found in our position not our actions.

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. [Romans 7:24-8:2 ESV].

We are at peace with the Creator of all. Though the world throw us into turmoil, though we do not feel peace while in the world, God decided to make peace with us. He has not made peace with the world (see Matthew 10:34) but with those He has called out of the world as His own. Those who relinquish control of themselves to the God of peace may feel the evidence of peace with Him. Even if they do not feel peace they will act according to the peace of God. This world holds nothing but strife and turmoil, division and war. The citizen of the kingdom has a place and position outside of the world and nothing the world does, or our flesh does, or Satan does, will change our place before God.

When others see our peace may God use it to draw them to Himself.  This peace frees us from the constraints of the world to serve God with our whole being.

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