22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
What is peace? Not the peace that occurs when there is no war, but internal peace. Webster’s defines peace as freedom from disturbance, quiet and tranquility. Can we as a people truly obtain peace? I have moments of peace but it has never been a permanent status. The idea of peace has always been something I desired, whether I realized it or not. An inner freedom from disturbance, quiet and tranquility. The problem is things happen. So how do we obtain peace? Perhaps we simply have a misunderstanding of what peace truly is.
The Bible tells us peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit. So what does this mean? Peace in the Greek is the word eiréné. Eiréné comes from the Greek word eirō, which means to join, tie together into a whole. Properly it refers to wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God’s gift of wholeness). It is not a wholeness dependent on ourselves, but a wholeness as God joins us with Himself and each other.
Ephesians 2 speaks of this wholeness:
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
and again in chapter 4:
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
This peace that Paul wrote of was our bond in Christ. He has reconciled us to the Father. We are now one, or whole again. The sin that once separated us has been removed by Christ for those believe in Him. It is His gift to us. In Jesus we are united with our Creator once again. It also refers to our unity as a body. The church is one church. So peace in this sense is the truth of our oneness with God and our relationship with Him and each other.
James writes of peace in chapter 3:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Once again peace is a gift from God. The peace that James is speaking of is an attribute of the wisdom of God. It is an understanding of how God desire’s us to live. It is not just knowledge of His Word but understanding of His Word. As one body we are called to live as God has called us and as He has set forth in His Word. Again this is a unity as all believers are to live as Christ our head. Christ who is the Word that became flesh. The Spirit who gives us peace also gives us understanding, and bears testimony to the Word. Since this is not unique to any one person but rather the church as whole, it fits’ right in with what Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus. Peace is living as God calls us according to His Word.
In 1 Peter 3, peace is spoken as follows:
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Peter gives us some specific examples as to how we should relate one to another or what this calling looks like. He says to turn from evil and seek peace and pursue it. This turning away from evil and pursuing God, is the same as us turning towards God and seeking Him. When we are redeemed and no longer separate from God, we are to seek Him and to seek His righteousness. We are free and no longer bound by sin. We can trust God, by the power of the Spirit to live according to what He has called us to. This unity of mind is the mind of Christ. As Christ was also sympathetic with the needy. He loved His own like brothers. His heart was tender as the cross is a picture of the mercy of God. He humbled Himself to the Cross. Not asking anything more of us than what He has already endured. He lived sinless life and a sacrificial life.
Peace is a gift from God and it is relational. It is our unity with Him and with other believers. It is understanding the mind of Christ by the word of God as the Holy Spirit gives us the understanding. It is unity in the body, living according to the calling that God has put on us as believers. We are witnesses to the present miracles of God. These miracles are the lives transformed by Him. Once we were separated from God, lost in the darkness and living for ourselves. Now in Christ we are restored from our fallen nature, as he illuminates our hearts and our minds. We no longer live for ourselves but as a church, live as a whole for Him who is our Lord and Savior.
Father, we are so undeserving, but you have called us. You desire that we come back to You. Your Spirit works in us giving us understanding of how far from you we really are and also gives us understanding of the mercy that you extend because of your goodness. You love us and have given us a way to be whole again. To have the peace of God that passes understanding. You transform our lives and show us the way. Not only to the cross, but beyond. Illuminating our footsteps as we press on towards Your throne. You Lord have redeemed us, a fallen people who have turned from You and attempt to live on our own. You Lord redeemed us and do not turn from us. We have but to call and You are there. For those of us who know You, may our hearts cry in unison for the Lost. And for the lost give them the gift of peace, knowing that redemption is found at the cross. We praise You and pray in the name of the One who sits at Your right hand. Jesus Christ. Amen
God bless you,