Peace: What is It?

Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 1:3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

In each salutation Paul says, Grace to you and peace from God. In fact, he begins every epistle he wrote in the same way. Proclaiming peace to the churches was a very important part of Paul’s ministry; he wasn’t just being nice.

As is so often the case, the word “peace” in the English language does not mean the same thing as “peace” in Scriptural language. There is more than one word in the Greek for “peace.” But even knowing the Greek word does not always give you the Scriptural meaning. I’ll give you an example using the word “good.” The young, rich ruler approached Jesus saying, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Jesus responded by saying, Why do you call Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God (Matthew 19:16-17). We all understand what the English word “good” means. If a thing is pleasing or beneficial, it is “good,” and when we look up the Greek word for “good” (agathos), we find that it means the same thing. Next, we look to see how it is used in the Scriptures, and, in particular, how the Lord uses it. What is the definition He gives for it? When the young man called Jesus “Good Master,” Jesus responded saying, “Why do you call Me good, for only God is good.” Jesus took the word “good” completely out of the earthly realm and gave it a spiritual definition. He said that only God is “good.” Now, we have an entirely new concept of the word “good.” If a thing is “good,” according to Jesus’ definition, it is of God; His life and nature are in it. God often gives a word a completely different meaning from man’s definition. And we find that to be true with the word “peace.”

Man’s definition of “peace” would be the absence of war and hostilities. But the Scriptures speak of a peace found only in God. In Romans 16:20 He is called “the God of peace.” Being the God of peace, He is the only source of peace; it is only found in Him. Paul tells us that peace is a fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace… (Galatians 5:22). Peace is a divine attribute.

So, you see, peace is not merely the absence of war and hostility. Peace, in the Scriptures, is a spiritual state we must attain in the Lord. It has to do with our relationship with Him and our relationship with one another in Him. Peace is a divine attribute; therefore, it is not inherent within human nature. It must be appropriated from the Lord. In fact, Ephesians 2:14 says, “He is our peace.”

Ephesians 2:14-22 For He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows into an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit

Peace involves the removal of all that divides, but it is not really accomplished until there is the new man (verse 14). The new man is a holy temple; it is the habitation of the Lord through the Spirit (verses 21-22). Peace begins with our becoming one with the Lord. He must be the only Lord over our lives. A heart that is divided will not have peace. That “middle wall of partition between” our soul-life and our spirit must be abolished, and that is accomplished as we bring ourselves – body, soul, and spirit – under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We cannot serve the wants and demands of our flesh-life and the Lord at the same time. Body, soul, and spirit must come under His Lordship. Thus, we see that we have peace when His nature takes over our lives.

Each one of us must become a new man inwardly, and the same thing must take place for the Body of Christ. The peace of God will not be experienced as long as there are divisions. Listen, this peace doesn’t automatically happen because we are Christians. It doesn’t automatically happen because we all name the name of Christ. It happens through our submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; it happens because we put the sword of the Spirit to the Goliaths of our flesh-nature. The greatest enemies of oneness and peace are within us.

So, you see, peace speaks of a spiritual oneness we have in us and with each other in the Lord. We become one spirit with Him. Listen to what Paul says. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:1-6.

The Greek word for “peace” is eirene, which is derived from the primary verb eiro, “to join.” Peace, as spoken of in the Scriptures, is experienced only when we become “joined” to the Spirit of the Lord.

In summary, we will read a few verses of Scripture that sheds light on various aspects of peace.

John 20:19, 21, 26 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you.
26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

Three things of note here: (1) Jesus Christ is the source of Peace. (2) Peace doesn’t just happen; it is imparted. (3) The spoken Word is the medium.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Divine peace and world peace are not the same.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 14:17 For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Do you understand what Jesus meant when He said that He did not come to send peace on the earth, but a sword? Peace, as we have seen, is an attribute of God. Therefore, it is only found in the Spirit-realm, not on the earthly realm. Even a resemblance of peace cannot be a lasting thing on the earthly realm, lest we would be satisfied without God. Tribulations are a natural part of the world. They are the goads we need to spur us on into the realm of Spirit. If the Lord allowed us to experience His peace apart from Him, who would seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness?

Therefore, with Paul I say, “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:3).

Copyright © 2006 by Henry DuBose