“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15
Numerous Old Testament priests and prophets cried out, “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace (Jer. 6:14; 8:11). Today, too, ministers and preachers say all is well when, in fact, it isn’t.
You see, there can be no peace between God and man without atonement for sin, and there will be no peace between men and God without repentance on man’s part. And so, the preachers and prophets who seek to assuage troubled but impenitent consciences with words of peace may give a little false comfort to consciences but not peace, for man can have no peace with God apart from godly sorrow over sin and faith in God the Son’s atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
While the world goes about seeking peace and comfort of heart in all the wrong places, the believer in Christ Jesus knows true peace; for Jesus suffered and died for the sins of the whole world and won peace between God and man — the peace of atonement made and sins forgiven for the sake of Jesus’ holy and precious blood shed upon the cross for all.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:13-18: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 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; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and He came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
That is why, when Jesus was born, the angels glorified God saying, “On earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). Jesus paid for the sins of all and won God’s favor and peace for all mankind.
The Bible tells us, in 2 Corinthians 5:19-21, “that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus, God’s only-begotten Son, paid in full the just punishment for the sins of all when He suffered and died upon the cross. His resurrection is proof (cf. Rom. 4:25). God pleads with us to be reconciled with Him by acknowledging our utter sinfulness and receiving in faith His pardon and forgiveness for the sake of the sacrifice of His Son in our stead.
Jesus shed His blood to make peace and has appeased God’s just wrath against sinful man. When we, by the gracious working of God’s Spirit through the Word of God, see and acknowledge our sinfulness and failures to keep His commandments and place our faith and trust in the perfect life and innocent sufferings and death of Messiah Jesus in our stead, then we know peace — peace between God and man — and fellowship with God our Father.
This peace (shalom and eirene in the original languages) is a perfect peace for Jesus has paid for all our sins and, when we look to Christ in faith, they have been removed from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). “If we confess [homologomen — to say the same thing as God about] our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
This is the peace of God which is to rule and govern our hearts. This is the peace to which we and all believers in Christ’s body — the church — have been called. This is the peace for which we have every reason to be thankful.
We were enemies of God, rebelling against Him and His commandments and going our own way. There was no peace! But Jesus paid in full for all our sins — for the sins of the whole world. In His grace and mercy, God reaches out to us, offering to us pardon and peace. When, by the gracious working of God’s Spirit through the Word, we are brought to see our own sinfulness and also to see and trust in His forgiveness and peace for the sake of His Son, Messiah Jesus, then we know peace!
O LORD God, heavenly Father, You have graciously given to us, and all who look to Christ in faith, peace through the forgiveness of all our sins for Jesus’ sake. Grant that this peace — this assurance of Your forgiveness and acceptance — rule and govern our hearts, driving out all fear of wrath and punishment. Thank you for granting to us and all believers Your peace in Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.
[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]