The Peace of God

boat in fog

Many people feel that they have some form of peace in their lives. But what most are experiencing is merely peace with their own conscience. This is not the peace of God. Some think that when their anxiety level eases up, they have found peace. And others have what they call peace just because they don’t bother to think! But not one of these forms of peace can compare with the peace that God brings. They will not make your soul content.

The peace of God is the kind of peace that “passes all understanding.”

How many people realize that peace is what they are trying to find? Some think it would be nice to find it, but they don’t really pursue it. Yet they spare no effort in pursuing other things they feel are desirable. The search for peace for many others does not begin until they have become disillusioned and worn-out. Then they will often search for just enough peace to enable them to sleep at night and perhaps dream of a way of escape.

Real peace, according to God, relates to His attitude toward man. The “peace of God” refers to a state of total contentment because the mind is at rest. This, in turn, puts the conscience in a state of blessedness and tranquility. This only happens when man gets into the right kind of relationship with God. A person who is not right with God can never turn his mind anywhere but on himself. But man cannot begin to have peace with God until he comes to the point of seeing, and then stating, that God is righteous in requiring the death of Jesus Christ as payment for man’s sin against God.

“Peace of God”—what does this mean? It can be called a condition of the heart, where those who believe in God know that He is always watching over them. But the peace of God cannot come into your heart until you realize that you are guilty of sinning against God. If you have sin in your life, there can be no harmony between you and God, or even with your fellow man.

No true peace can be had until sin’s curse on your life is taken away.

Those who realize that they are sinners [someone who transgresses the law of God] can come to God and tell Him how sorry they are for their sin. If they are sincere, He will forgive them and have mercy on them and save them from sin. Then they can experience what His peace is. But no mercy is promised to those who will not admit that they are wrong. The only way to find true satisfaction for the heart, mind, and conscience is to have peace with God. Any other form of peace is false and deceptive. True peace never involves deceit. Once you find this peace with God, then you can finally achieve peace within yourself and with others. But “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21).

The state of peace between God and man was made possible by Jesus giving up His life on the cross.

All mankind had gotten into a terrible, sinful condition, which was highly offensive to a holy God. This made it absolutely necessary for Jesus to give His life as the only way to save mankind. For those who, in turn, give their lives to Christ, He becomes the Prince of Peace, and God the Father is the God of Peace.

We don’t have to be disturbed concerning what to do about our troubles and our sins, because Jesus already took them all upon Himself when He hung on the cross. He paid the ultimate price (giving up His life) for our sin against the heavenly Father, and now we don’t have to pay it ourselves. In fact, the cost is so enormous that we never could pay it. “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20). When we come to understand this, then our sins will not be able to overcome us anymore and deprive us of peace. We can come to the point where we can live in a state of true peace with God.

But don’t start running after peace—run after Jesus, and His peace will follow you. He is the only source of real peace.

When Jesus left Earth to return to Heaven, He told His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). The peace He gives is nothing like the peace the world gives. His peace drives out trouble. Jesus told us to not to let our heart be disturbed out of its relationship with Him. In a world always at war with God, can there ever be real peace? Jesus also told His disciples: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The world hated Jesus, and it still does. It hates His followers too. But, even in the midst of all this, He has assured us that we can have peace.

It is not usually the big things which upset us the most, but the ordinary, little, everyday things that disturb our peace continually. What can we do about this? We need to lay out all our troubles before God. Whether we are confronting little difficulties, or large ones, like sorrow or death, we need to hear Him telling us, “Let not your heart be troubled.” The picture of real peace can be seen by looking at the life of Jesus while He was on Earth.

Jesus is not the least bit worried about the difficult situations you find yourself in. But if you worry about them, He won’t get involved in your situation—because you are determined to handle it yourself. Then you get what you deserve. We are to live in Him, but we get disturbed, because we do not take Him into consideration when we look at our difficult situations.

“Be careful 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, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

What is the case with you? Are you trying to find peace with God? Why haven’t you found it yet? Could it possibly be because of your unbelief? To find God’s peace, you need to have faith in God. The more you have faith in Him, the more peace you will have from Him. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

The Bee and the Birdbath

 

old birdbath

“He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19

In my travels, I visited a small butterfly garden that was part of a larger botanical garden. The butterfly garden consisted of a pathway lined mostly with flowering plants and shrubs and with an occasional decorative accessory, such as a bench or a birdbath. While passing one of the birdbaths, I noticed an insect floating on the small amount of water that had accumulated in it. On closer inspection, I determined that it was a small honeybee. The poor thing had somehow become stuck upside-down on the water and was barely moving. I watched as what appeared to be its final minutes were running out. If others had passed by then, they probably would not have noticed or cared about the helpless bee. But I could not bear to just let it die in such a sad, helpless state. So I picked up a nearby leaf, carefully scooped up the straggler, and gently placed it right-side-up on a raised area of the bath. I figured that it could at least have a short time in a dry, sunny place before its demise. When I returned about thirty minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised to find that its weary self had apparently not only dried out, but also recovered enough to fly away!

This incident may seem insignificant, but God, throughout history, has done this innumerable times with each of us.

Just when we thought our life was about at an end, He reached down, picked us up, and placed us on dry land. He cares for us so much that He is willing to reach down and pick us up from our lowest moments in life, if we will let Him.

Yet, even in such a desperate moment as this, we often refuse because of pride, and even curse God for trying to help us. We believe we can make it on our own. We think, “I don’t need anyone’s help; I am on the verge of reviving” (while actually moments away from drowning). But God sees the big picture, and He desires to rescue us. In fact, He sent His beloved only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.

birdbath nested in plants

Because of our sins (our wrongdoings against God), God’s law was broken. It therefore demanded that the penalty be paid: death. And it was not just to be death and the grave here on Earth, but death eternally in Hell (a place of perpetual torment).

According to God’s law, the only way out of this was through the sacrifice of an animal as our substitute. An innocent, spotless lamb was required to be sacrificed in our place. But this was only a temporary means; there was no way that we could ever pay the price ourselves to be saved from eternal death.

It’s like trying to rise up to a great height by lifting ourselves up with only our bare hands. That’s why God sent His Son, who willingly came down as a human being, to be the perfect, innocent, and sinless sacrifice for all of our sins. This fact was witnessed in the book of John, chapter 1, verse 29: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. That includes sins from the first sin of Adam to the sins of a future generation not even born yet!

Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements of God’s law (but did not eliminate it) through His sacrifice on the cross. When He died, He broke the chains of eternal death and our sentence to Hell forever.

And He set free all of those, prior to His death, who had offered up the temporary covering of the blood of the sacrificed lamb.

Our sin has ultimately left us like that bee in the birdbath, hopelessly struggling to live on borrowed time, or even dying. To say that you have more time, or that everything is fine, or that it will all work out all right in the end, is like saying that, because today is sunny and clear, every day is going to be sunny and clear from now on—when actually an inevitable and deadly storm is on its way straight toward you. You are not able see the big picture that God sees. All God wants you to do is to admit that you have sinned against Him, and believe that Jesus died for your sins on the Cross, which paid the tremendous price that you owed. Ask for His forgiveness now, and let Him work inside of you. Let Him reach down and pick you up!

–James Pangburn

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