Divine peace comes from God and His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3). This peace is a tranquil harmony of heart and mind that maintains Christ-centered well-being regardless of circumstances or people.
1 Corinthians 1:3, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
At its foundation, this peace is a result of being justified by faith before God Almighty through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1-2, Hebrews 10:10). Standing on peace with God we can have the peace of God. This divine peace, exhibited by Jesus Christ, is promised to His followers (John 14:27).
Romans 5:1-2, Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Hebrews 10:10, By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your
heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
The world defines peace as the absence or cessation of conflict, but peace that comes from God results in Christ-oriented tranquility even in the middle of conflict. The fullness of peace and joy is available to those who believe in Christ (Romans 15:13).
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.
God’s sphere of spiritual life for a believer is not dependent on human activity but is sustained by divine power that results in righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). This peace can be personally realized by a believer to such an extent that it becomes an observable character quality (Galatians 5:22).
Romans 14:17, for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
self-control; against such things there is no law.
An acrostic for P–E–A–C–E (Perplexity Erased And Christ Embraced) reminds us of the God-given peace that comes only through His Son, Jesus Christ.
DIVINE PEACE IS AVAILABLE TO BELIEVERS IN CHRIST
Believers who experience God’s peace in an ongoing manner are those who continually recognize God’s sovereign care and give thanks for God’s abundant grace and mercy. These God-oriented believers love God’s Word and, correspondingly, have great peace (Psalm 119:165). These believers set their minds on things of the Spirit instead of focusing primarily on natural aspects of everyday life (Romans 8:5-6).
Psalm 119:165, Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.
Romans 8:5-6, 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. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
Peace is not something that “just happens” to a believer. Peace must be pursued, which is accomplished by those growing in Christ (1 Peter 3:10-11; Romans 14:19; 2 Corinthians 13:11).
1 Peter 3:10-11, For, the one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
Romans 14:19, So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
2 Corinthians 13:11, Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Peace in the lives of believers is to be expected since they are mentally and spiritually oriented toward Christ and led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law [Emphasis added].
DIVINE PEACE IS RELATED TO BIBLICAL PRAYING, THINKING, AND LIVING
From a measurable perspective, the peace of Christ becomes a reality for believers in proportion to ongoing prayer, right (biblical) thinking, and biblical obedience. The relationship between these aspects of the Christian life and the peace of Christ are presented in Philippians 4:6-9.
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, will 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, 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 will be with you.
Much of the following is excerpted from Joyful and Worry Free
When believers are at peace, they are free from anxiety and worry; and consistent prayer is integral to that result, as Philippians 4:6 indicates. The word for “anxiety” or “worry” in this verse means “to be stretched apart” or “to be distracted.” The Latin root word for “worry” means “to strangle”. When we worry we “strangle ourselves” which renders us unproductive and unfruitful, thus hindering our growth in Christ.
Notice that Paul does not say that the primary answer to worry is setting priorities and following them. There is, obviously, nothing wrong with setting priorities and following them, since that indicates personal responsibility. Before prioritizing, however, spend time in prayer. The scriptural alternative to worry is to pray about everything. There are three descriptive statements about this verse:
- Biblical prayer begins with God, not personal needs, so when you pray … begin with worship.
- Faith-based prayer makes a priority of taking requests to God, not simply repeating potential prayer needs to others.
- Effective prayer is always accompanied by thanksgiving.
The above statements come from Paul’s use of words to show that the scriptural alternative to worry results from a God-centered plan for prayer. Paul uses the word for prayer that emphasizes adoration and worship. In others words, when you pray to the Lord in a habitual manner, you come to Him because of Who He is, for the Gift of His Son, for the provision of eternal life on your behalf, for His promises, and for His sovereign care of you in any and all situations. If you’re going to ask anything at this point, ask the Lord what He wants to accomplish in and with you.
Out of this heart-to-heart encounter with the Person and character of God, then Paul says to ask for specific things— supplication. Someone who doesn’t pray much or who doesn’t know God’s priorities of prayer will typically begin praying with “asking” instead of “worship.” Obviously, asking is a necessary aspect of prayer. However, with the kind of prayer that is the biblical alternative to worry, worship comes first, then asking follows.
After worship and asking comes thanksgiving. You may think, “I can worship God for Who He is” and “I can ask for God’s help in specific situations” but “I don’t know about giving thanks in everything.” Notice Paul does not say, “Thank God for everything.” He says, “In everything, give thanks.” Why? You can thank Him that in spite of the circumstances, He is in control for He is sovereign. His love never fails, and His power never lessens. As was asked earlier: Can God work things out together for a believer’s good in any situation? Of course He can, so thank Him for that promised benefit that is wrapped up in any challenge of life.
With regard to this biblical model for prayer in Philippians 4:6, more than one person has observed, “A person who
comes apart in difficult situations has not made a habit of coming apart from the routine of life to meet with the Lord.”
Faithfully depending on the Lord helps to develop a “God-consciousness” that will lead you to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Believers who do not pray in a manner similar to the prayer pattern in Philippians 4:6 will tend to respond to difficulties by simply telling others what they are going through and what they think they need. This type of communication can temporarily relieve emotional turmoil associated with worry, but it does not lend itself to spiritual growth in Christ.
See A Prayer Pattern to Help Structure Your Life
Those who pray in the manner indicated in Philippians 4:6 are promised peace that is beyond full comprehension, as
the following verse indicates.
Philippians 4:7, And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This peace cannot be adequately described. You know it when you have it, and you certainly know it when you don’t. It is the tranquil inner condition of a believer who knows that his sins are forgiven in Christ and, thus, fears no judgment from God. This peace also allows a believer to “rest in the Lord” in whatever difficulty that may arise, because he knows that God is in complete control. This peace is diametrically opposed to being anxious (worried).
There is a characteristic of God’s peace that is markedly different from any other peace in the world. The last part of Philippians 4:6 says that God’s peace guards your heart and mind. Literally, God’s peace is a sentinel over your inner being (your heart), the very core of your life. God’s peace also guards your mind (your thoughts and where your attention is focused). When God’s peace is the sentinel over your heart and mind, you will not succumb to anxiety.
The peace of God cannot be separated from a biblical pattern of thinking. The Apostle Paul lists six specific aspects of a godly thought life in Philippians 4:8.
Philippians 4:8, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable (noble), whatever is just (right), whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable (admirable), if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (inserts added)
The New International Commentary states the following about the above verse:
“These six items are mentioned as objects of a wholesome thought life, and each one is introduced with
whatever. In the Greek, whatever is plural, which suggests that several things could be included under each heading.
“True things are of course the opposite of dishonest and unreliable things. Noble refers to what is dignified and worthy of respect. Right refers to conformity to God’s standards. Pure refers to what is wholesome, not mixed with moral impurity. Lovely speaks of what promotes peace rather than conflict. Admirable relates to what is positive and constructive rather than negative and destructive. These six objects of thought are then described as excellent and praiseworthy.”1
With this practical foundation in place, believers can faithfully obey the Lord and, as a result, enjoy divine fellowship in a profound manner, which is mentioned in Philippians 4:9.
Philippians 4:9, The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
The Apostle Paul not only taught the Philippian believers about the Christian life, he lived it out before them. As a result, they had a living example of what it means to follow the Lord . . . in word and deed.
As you might expect, what you believe internally will never be known by others unless you tell them. What you really believe will never be known by others until you show them. When your mind is focused on God and His perspective of your life instead of you and your perspective of your life, then you will live in a Christ-like manner. When that occurs, the following results will occur:
- God’s peace will be realized as you consistently rejoice.
- God’s peace will be realized when you exercise merciful love instead of unyielding justice.
- God’s peace will accompany a life of prayer that is based on worship, requests, and thanksgiving.
- God’s personal fellowship will be experienced in greater measure and, not surprisingly, joy and worry-free living will characterize your life.
All of the above benefits can be yours when you commune with the Lord as a way of life. What can you do if you are more prone to worry than to pray? Remember this first of all: The Good News (Gospel) of Christ focuses on you, not your circumstances. That does not mean that God is not concerned about your circumstances. He uses them to mature you and bring you to greater Christ-likeness.
As one person went to the heart of the matter and said, “The message of the Gospel is concerned about us as people before Almighty God, not us before ‘almighty’ circumstances.”
(This article was excerpted from Grace, Mercy, and Peace)
1 The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition, based on the New International Version, page 664, Victor Books, 1983, Editors John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck
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