|THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - PEACE
T. David Sustar
HIS GLORY REIGNS
February 29, 2008
One of the greatest revelations of the character of our precious Lord is found in the prophecy of His birth in the Book
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall
be called wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his
government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to
establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform
this." Isaiah 9:6,7.
The song of the angels announcing Christ's birth to the shepherds proclaimed again His mission of peace: "Glory to
God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14
The Spirit and Peace
Our Lord beautifully combined the work of the Holy Spirit with the state of peace. Jesus' life was measured by hours as
He moved toward the crucifixion, and He chose to spend that time with His own. Although He had to leave, He
explained to them, and to us, how to practice the presence of and know intimate fellowship with God.
In that last discourse He developed the basis of trust in God and the provisions He had made:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and
bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 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: 26,27
The Holy Spirit reminds us that our hearts are not to be troubled nor afraid. When He, the Comforter or Counsellor,
comes into a life, peace also abides.
For those who know the blessed Comforter, we can rejoice in the peace He brings! We understand the reality of the
apostle Paul's writing to the Corinthians concerning the proper working of the gifts of the Spirit: "For God is not the
author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." 1 Corinthians 14:33
Old and New Testament Meanings
The Old Testament word for peace is shalom. It carried with it a deep desire that the peace of God would rest upon His
people. It meant completeness, soundness, wholeness, as does its New Testament counterpart, serene.
Most often we think of peace as the absence of war, but to the Christian it means much more. Peace is the condition
of freedom from strife internally as well as externally. Isaiah constantly warned the wicked they could expect no peace
(Isaiah 48:22; 57:21). Jeremiah reminded men of a false sense of peace which was also the result of a wicked heart
The godly life of the New Testament believer was tied closely to peace, as if it were an outworking of the Spirit's
inworking: "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and
have peace with another." Mark 9:50 The apostle Paul reminded the Philippians that God the Father would join the
Spirit and the son in bestowing peace: "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7.
The Book of Romans is a grand expose of Christian living. The apostle Paul was directed by the Spirit to instruct the
saints to live above reproach. They were not to let their good be evil spoken of by anyone or place a stumbling block
in the path of another. All they possessed and attempted was to be according to the following understanding of the
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that
in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things
which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Romans 14:17-19.
Notice the coupling of the three words in the above verses. The words righteousness, peace, and joy are
by-products of the Holy Spirit's presence. Righteousness is how I treat you and how you treat me. It is what the law of
God demands - that is, the law of love! When we treat each other right, as love demands, then we will live in peace
with God and man, a state of true joy! Christianity is a battleground, but it is also solid ground. We have inherited a
kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:27,28). Isaiah reminded us that God will keep us in "perfect peace" if we
keep our minds on Him and trust in Him.
Perhaps the greatest reason for our peace lies in the declaration of Romans 16:20: "And the God of peace shall
bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."
Peace is to be Cultivated in the Church
The apostolic letter, filled with teachings, greetings and salutations of peace, encouraged the saints to adopt a lifestyle
that cultivated peace.
The apostle Paul's instructions to the divided church at Corinth revealed that this would be the lifestyle of the true and
faithful: "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love
and peace shall be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11.
To the Ephesians he gave insight concerning Christian unity: "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond
of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;" Ephesians 4:3,4.
In his counsel to the Thessalonians, he gave the correct treatment of their ministers and each other: "And we beseech
you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to
esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves." 1 Thessalonians 5:12.
Peace is the Basis for Evangelism
In his "vessels unto honor and dishonor" section, the apostle Paul told young Timothy how important peace really is:
"Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure
heart....And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness
instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the
truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
2 Timothy 2:33,24-26.
There is a correct way to regain those who have turned away from the Lord. There is a correct way to react toward
those who are in authority and leadership, even of nations:
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For
kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. for
this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the
knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4.
It would seem that a state of peace is a prerequisite to our evangelistic efforts. As we strive for the salvation of
mankind, we must reveal the peace of God toward one another, toward the lost and even toward our enemies. It is the
quickest and most effective way of turning them back to God.
As James reported in his contrast of worldly and heavenly wisdom:
"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without
hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." James 3:16-18.
Peace - a Natural Result of Love
The psalmist continually declared, "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Psalm
119:165. This peace is the serenity of heart arising out of justification by faith. Those who know it's result in their
heart yearn to be instruments in God's hands to cause others to share their tranquility.
Hence, the peace possessor becomes, in turn, the peacemaker (Matthew 5:9). It may not always be an easy matter to
live in peace - especially with some people. But those who are truly conscious of this great gift of peace, which we
received from God as a result of Christ's bitter death on the cross, will respond to the apostle Paul's admonitions, "If it
be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18.
As a matter of fact, God's Word gives little hope for the wicked, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then
sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." 1
Thessalonians 5:3. However, that same event, the coming of Christ, which brings destruction to the wicked, offers no
fear for the saint of God. We shall be ushered into everlasting peace! Our God shall reign, and eventually the enemy
will be destroyed forever. The Prince of Peace will fulfill His mission - the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform it!
A Layman's Guide to the Fruit of the Spirit, by T. David Sustar, Copyright 1990, Pathway Press.
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