My Peace I Give To You

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Introduction

“Let not your hearts be troubled...” is the phrase that opens John chapter 14. In that verse freedom from a troubled heart came through belief. Without belief in Jesus our hearts will never be free from trouble, from anxiety or pain. Given John’s continual focus on “belief” it is no surprise that he would present belief as the antidote for a troubled heart. However, a careful reading of John 14 will reveal that this chapter has as its bookends a discussion on troubled hearts.
In John 14:27 Jesus makes another connection in finding the cure for a troubled heart. That cure is peace.What is peace? Everyone wants its, but it is a struggle to find it. Eastern religions have built entire systems of belief around finding peace. Scripture is full of the concept of peace, finding the word “peace” or its derivatives over 400 times.

Defining Peace

The Dictionary’s Definition
the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.
Observations
There are two arenas of peace: exterior and interior, that is peace without and peace within.
Groups or nations can be at peace or be at war, they can even be at war with themselves.
Exterior peace is circumstantial and therefore often outside of our control.
Interior peace is not necessarily circumstantial, but if we are honest it usually feels like it too is outside of our control.
The World’s Definition
The world largely defines peace negatively.
The absence of:
conflict
annoyance
distraction
anxiety
pain
It is only through the removal of these things that any positive can be added, such as tranquillity or serenity.
For the world, peace is addition by subtraction.
But is what they find at the end of their equation truly peace? Is it even possible for a person to forcibly remove all the negative things in their life and find peace? Anyone who has lived in this world for very long surely finds that this world’s trouble always finds you. The world’s peace is not peace at all but rather a temporary sense of calm that is more distraction than genuine peace. It is nothing more than a placebo.
The Biblical Definition
Shalom, translated as “peace,” is perhaps the most widely known word in the Hebrew language and conveys various meanings in Scripture.
“Success,” “prosperity,” “completeness,” “wholeness,” “well-being,” and “welfare” are just some of its uses.
In the Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words, we find this explanation: “When shalom is best translated as ‘peace,’ this peace is more than the mere absence of war or strife. It describes a peace that is positive; a time, place, and condition that features love, righteousness, calmness, political and moral uprightness and much more. It is a word reserved for those who walk with God in a positive relationship” (“Peace,” Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W., Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000, p. 135).
In the New Testament, the primary Greek word for “peace” is eirene, and it refers to rest and tranquility.
One Greek lexicon defines the New Testament word for peace (eirēnē) as “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”
Did you catch that? According to this definition Peace is the state of a soul assured of its salvation.
Peace is not a product you buy or an emotion you feel.
Peace is a state of being that results from salvation through Christ
Salvation permanently changes our standing before God. When we place our faith in Christ we are justified by God. Meaning we are declared righteous by God. Without this justification we are the enemies of God and logically lack peace with God.
One major part of biblical peace is the absence of enmity with God, but unlike the world’s peace biblical peace is not just the absence of something.
Biblical peace is not just the absence of conflict it is the presence of Christ.

A Biblical Theology of Peace

The Source of Peace
If it is my thesis that peace is the presence of Christ, then if I am correct Jesus is the source of peace.
Scriptural Basis
The Announcement at His birth: Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Isaiah calls Him the Prince of Peace: Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Paul calls Him the “Lord of Peace” in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! Notice also that it is Jesus that is granting peace in this verse.
It is through Christ’s work of Justification that we can have peace with God. Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
In our text Jesus Himself refers to peace as “His peace”.
It is also clear from Scripture that the Father and the Spirit are also sources of peace.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
The Nature of Peace
Biblical peace is both exterior and interior. You could also say that it is objective and subjective
When we accept Christ we are justified and our standing before God changes from His enemy to His child. This is objective peace, you have been judicially declared righteous and are therefore at peace with God.
How we daily experience that peace can be subjective for each believer.
Unfortunately our awareness of the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit, the abiding work of Christ and the sovereignty of God ebbs and flows.
This is primarily because of sin. As believers our sense of peace can ebb and flow because of our sinful tendency to look for peace and contentment outside of Christ.
Peace with God results in the peace of God.
Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word translated “guard” is a military term meaning, “to keep watch over.” The peace of God protects believers from anxiety, doubt, fear, and distress.
Thus, it is not passive but active; far from being affected by circumstances, it triumphs over them, turning sorrow into joy, fear into boldness, and doubt into confidence. This is the peace that Jesus promised to His followers.
Obtaining Peace
God has promised peace to those that know Him. Does that mean that we are passive in obtaining the peace of God?
No, Scripture often teaches that we are responsible for applying God’s promises to our daily lives.
For instance Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells each believer empowering them to live daily for Christ, but at the same time believers are told to be filled by the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit.
Believers are called to appropriate God’s promise of peace.
Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 119:165 Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.
Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
It is of note that Isaiah connects trusting God with the peace of God.
The more we learn to trust God the more peace we will have.
Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
Here Isaiah connects righteousness and peace.
Doing what is right produces peace.
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Notice in this verse the connection between peace and believing.
Believing in Jesus brings peace.
Peace is the presence of Christ.
That is why in heaven we will have perfect peace because we will have His perfect presence.
The Enemies of Peace
Guilt
Psalm 32:3-5 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Guilt can dissolve peace like an acid.
Bitterness
Jealousy
Anxiety
Peace as a Guide
Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
As believers we are called to let the peace of God literally rule our hearts.
Have you ever heard someone say that they chose not to do something because they “lacked peace”?
Is that a legitimate deciding factor for the believer?
If a Spirit filled believer lacks peace about a choice it should send up a major red flag.
If your chief desire is genuinely for God’s will to be done and you don’t have peace about a choice you are making it should be cause for concern.
However, we can also easily use the “lack of peace” excuse to get out of doing something we don’t want to do.

Summary

The world’s peace is nothing more than a placebo.
True peace is not just the absence of conflict it is the presence of Christ.
Pursue peace!
Literally all things your are called to be and do as a believer produce peace.
Believing in God produces peace
Trusting in God produces peace
Righteous living produces peace.
Filling your mind with God’s word produces peace
Worshiping God produces peace
Prayer produces peace
Fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ produces peace
What if I lack peace?
Where do I start?
Get back to the basics.
Prioritize these three things:
Bible reading (small portions and study meditatively)
Prayer (by yourself and with others)
Church
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