Peace is word that is often on lips of so many in our world. It is on the lips of politicians, college professors, and social justice protestors. It is at the center of nation’s treaties, manifestos and rhetoric. It is at the heart of many religions, philosophies and value systems.
So this begs the question what is peace? Is it just the absence of war? Is it to tolerate everyone and to try to co-exist in harmony? Does it mean to have no animosity, conflict or strife? Does it mean to simply not disagree and only discuss what we agree on? Does it mean to not ruffle any feathers, but to water down the truth so it is more palatable to all? Is it to get everyone together and get rid of what divides us? Is it just to be easy-going and not to make any issues? No these actions are not Biblical peace. We cannot be peacemakers, if we shrink back in fear and are afraid to speak the truth because it may offend someone.
If we want to me a peacemaker, we first need to know what Jesus meant when he used the word peace and also what is the source of peace. Where do we go for this definition of peace? College books? The news media? Our favorite national icon? Church traditions? Cultural imperatives? As Christians we must go to the only source of the truth, the God-breathed Word of God, to get the true definition and meaning of peace.
The first thing we must realize is that Jesus Christ clearly taught that there are two types of peace:
John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
There is true peace that only comes through Jesus Christ and a counterfeit peace offered by the world. The church cannot be deceived into embracing the peace of this world as a substitute for the true peace of God that is always centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot be a peacemaker molded in the world’s image or blindly follow the world’s weak attempt at peace.
We will see from Scripture that God put a high priority on peace and peacemakers. It is vastly different than what the world embraces. God did not give the job of peacemaking to politicians, or ambassadors, or lawyers, or diplomats, or presidents or judges or kings or Nobel Peace Prize winners or the United Nations or the World Council of Churches. He gave it as a duty and responsibility of each Christian believer. The world’s peacemakers fail miserably in their attempt to make peace. In fact, the Bible reveals that in the future a world leader will proclaim himself as the great peacemaker and for a short time he will seem to be successful, but his rule ends in the worse conflict the world has ever experienced. He is known as the antichrist. So do not be fooled at the world’s superficial attempts at peace, but are a counterfeit peace that always ends in chaos.
Peace is an important attribute of God and an essential part of His character. He is called Yahweh Shalom, the Lord of peace. He is called the God of peace (2 Corinthians 13:11, Hebrews 13:20; Philippians 4:9; Romans 15:33) and Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Ephesians 2:14 declares that Jesus Christ is our peace. God is the origin of peace, not human-made decrees. God is the source of peace, and God is the author of peace. It comes from nowhere else. Peace belongs to God and cannot be reproduced, manufactured or duplicated by any organization or government.
In Hebrew, the word for peace, shalom, means: wholeness, completeness and soundness; it’s a harmony and unity of heart and soul because of a restored relationship with God, our Father; it is an inward and outward tranquility, a quiet assurance and a complete well-being where nothing is lacking or broken. Peace is the symphony and harmony of life, in which you enjoy all that is good because of your right relationship with God. It is the opposite of discord, strife, and anxiety. It is the absence of inward conflict, condemnation, and torment, but rather a state of rest, calmness, and quiet confidence. It is to be at ease and calmly unaffected by circumstance. Peace is the highest measure of contentment, joyfulness, happiness, and satisfaction in life. There is absolute security, safety, and victory at the center of peace.
The entire Bible is about the journey of peace. It begins with peace in the Garden and ends with peace in the new heavens and earth for all eternity. Peace for Adam and Eve was totally disrupted due to their disobedience to God and the entry of sin into the human race. Men and women became separated and at an enmity with the God of peace. In essence they were at war with God and this war produces no peace. The world that is built by the human race is a world without peace; a world of trouble, chaos, wickedness, shattered hope and brokenness. The human race is in desperate need of peace and peacemakers as there is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 57:21). They cannot know the way of peace because they are under the penalty of sin (Romans 3:9,17).
The God of peace so loved the world that He gave His only Son as the ultimate sacrifice on the cross to make true peace available once again to all those who believe. Peace was made by the blood of the cross which opened the door for the sinner to be reconciled to God (Colossians 1:20,22). Peace can never be made at any other place than the cross.
Who (Jesus Christ) was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:1 (Amplified):
Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
True peace comes with justification through the blood of the cross. Justification is a legal term that means to be freed from the penalty of sin. There is no peace without justification. If sin is pushed aside, ignored and not dealt with, there will never be peace. Sin is the enemy of peace, and it must be crushed, cleansed, and atoned for or peace is an illusion. There is also no peace without reconciliation. Reconciliation means to bring back together that which has been separated. We are brought from a relationship of hostility and enmity to a relationship of peace through the finished work of Jesus Christ. We now have true peace which is a complete unity with our awesome God where we can enjoy Him and have an intimate relationship of love and peace. The broken relationship has been repaired and peace has flowed like a river into our hearts. No person can ever have the peace of God without a vibrant, living relationship with God through what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. There is no other way to peace as all other roads to peace lead to complete disappointment and failure. We cannot buy peace, we cannot medicate peace, and we cannot manufacture peace. It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that we can experience the peace of God daily because we have been justified by faith and reconciled back to God. What rejoicing this should bring to our hearts that through God’s immeasurable gift of grace, we have now have magnificent peace that binds us to our Heavenly Father.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
Jesus killed on the cross every hostility and broke down every wall to peace. By his blood we were reconciled to God in one new body through the cross. He abolished the distinctions of Jew or Gentile, black and white, male or female or any other racial prejudice for we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). He and He alone is our peace. He is the true peacemaker. He restored the peace that Adam and Eve lost in the garden and one day He will establish His kingdom of peace that will have no end. He is the critical component, the necessary key, and the only way to peace once again reigning in the hearts of men and women. No other religion, no other human philosophy, no other political mandate, and no other mental gymnastic exercise can ever bring peace to this world.
There also is no peace without righteousness. Jesus Christ became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). This perfect righteousness that is wrapped in grace that leads to eternal life is only through the Lord Jesus Christ. Righteousness is a critical component of God’s salvation where righteousness and peace kiss and become interwoven together in an unbreakable bond (Psalm 85:9,10). Righteousness is to be legally brought into a right relationship and standing with God restoring fellowship, companionship and intimacy. Righteousness is the God-given ability to stand in the presence of God without any sense of guilt, condemnation, shame, or unworthiness and to stand in the presence of Satan without any sense of inferiority, weakness, fear, or cowardice. Righteousness stands firmly on the finished work of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection. The important Biblical truth is that righteousness must come first before there is peace. The effect of this heavenly righteousness is peace.
So now we begin to see what is God’s definition of a peacemaker in this troubled world? A peacemaker brings the peace of God into a restless and lost world. A peacemaker is justified, reconciled, and declared righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ and restored to a relationship of peace with Almighty God. A peacemaker has been fully redeemed from the power and penalty of sin, and now has a wholeness and completeness that replaces the torment and condemnation of sin. We have been birthed as sons and daughters of God in the family of God and are citizens in His kingdom of peace. We have been given authority with the ministry and word of reconciliation to proclaim that the restoration of peace is available to all through our Lord Jesus Christ. There can be no peacemaking in the world without justification, righteousness and reconciliation at the foot of the cross. This is the foundation of all peacemaking. This the true gospel of peace. Jesus Christ is the way to peace and this is the essential message of the true peacemaker. God has called us to be His spiritual peace corps and offer a peace to the human race that is far beyond anything they could ever imagine. We have been sent by God to open people’s eyes to this magnificent gospel of peace, to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to the power of God, to obliterate the penalty of their sins at the cross and to bring them to a relationship of peace with their Creator.
A peacemaker will encounter resistance, persecution and conflict from the darkness of this world as they proclaim this message of true peace. The devil marshals his kingdom to blind people from seeing and experiencing the gospel of peace. He produces a counterfeit peace that has no justification, no reconciliation and no righteousness. This false peace is built upon the lie that unity of peace can only be accomplished by compromising the truth of the gospel, ignoring the problem of sin and watering down our message so it does not offend anyone. The peace of God is offensive to the systems of this world. Jesus Christ is referred to as the Rock of offense and the gospel of peace will offend, insult and upset many people around the world. This does not change the mission of the peacemaker. The Devil hates this true message of the peace of God because it spells his ultimate destruction. So it is not surprising that the gospel of peace stirs up the legions of hell, and they oppose its truth at every opportunity. So the church cannot be deceived into thinking that peace can be produced by the world’s institutions or by the world’s collaborative efforts without the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ. They will never accomplish true peace on any level.
As the Body of Christ, we must shine as the lights of this world when it comes to the peace of God. Not only should there be this external witness of the gospel of peace that we proclaim to all humanity, but there should be an internal witness of peace in the church itself. We must also be peacemakers in the Body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:3 declares: Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The Greek word for “endeavoring” means an intense effort and determination. It is to be conscientious, zealous and earnest in discharging an obligation It is an all-out diligent effort to do one’s best with unrelenting energy and conviction. It carries with it an element of haste and urgency. The Greek word for “keep” means to preserve, guard and watch over with careful attention. Both words “endeavoring and “keep” are in the present tense meaning it should be our continual habit and way of life to make an intense effort as Christians to guard the unity of the Spirit. Notice it is the unity of the Spirit, not the unity of a denomination, or a church federation or the unity of a political party or the unity of a human philosophy. It is the spiritual unity of the Body of Christ forged at the cross. We do not make the unity or join the unity as God has already accomplished that, we just guard the unity that binds us in an intimate union with peace. The peace of God is the foundational thread of the unity of the Spirit for without the peace of God there is no unity.
Peacemakers are guardians of the unity of the Spirit and this cannot be done if they are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (verse 14), but a peacemaker must speak the truth in love (verse 15). A peacemaker in the Body of Christ does not abandon truth, and they do not abandon doctrine. True peace is always a child of the truth. A peacemaker manifests the love of God in words, in actions, in kindness, in humility, in gentleness and in confidence, but never compromises truth in doing so. A peacemaker reflects the character and heart of Christ and helps to bind together that which has been broke or divided through love, kindness and forgiveness. This promotes growth and unity in the Body of Christ and allows the church to shine as light in the darkness of this world. A peacemaker walks by the spirit and produces the fruit of peace. A peacemaker lives according to the wisdom from above and sows peace in both the world and the church and reaps a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18)
God has called each Christian believer to be a peacemaker both to the world and in the church. What an awesome privilege to carry the message of the gospel of peace to the world and to pursue peace in the Body of Christ. The peace of God is revolutionary, it is transformative and as peacemakers, we are the true ambassadors of His peace.