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Perfect Peace

Peace can be difficult to imagine, let alone attain and keep. Since our beginning, mankind has been at war. With one another, within themselves and with powers beyond those of this world. Just think of how many different groups we have: teams, cultures, countries, ideologies, the list goes on. If humans have mastered anything, it’s how to rob one another of peace in a variety of ways.


Turmoil has snaked its way into all facets of life within all walks of life, leaving utter destruction in its wake, and the scars, trauma, distrust and anger it creates. Though war, hate and unrest are part of our DNA and thus have always existed, it seems they have reached their pinnacle today.


As technology progresses faster than ever, historic tensions continue to rise and the dark chasms which have always separated us only enlarge and deepen. Historically, we are the most globally connected, yet we have never been so fractured.

Old war plane deteriorating on the beach
Benjamin Behre photo | Unsplash

People are hungry for peace, to the point many are willing to do nearly anything to achieve even the slightest blip of cheap imitations.


However, perhaps the peace you seek has less to do with this world and more to do with you. Not that you don’t long for world peace or recognize the great evils being done across the globe, but the war within you or directly around you presses harder. You can’t imagine peace on a global scale because you can’t even imagine it within your own mind.


Just as we are a world riddled with hatred and war, we are a people debilitated by fear and anxiety. The threat of another world war is only one reason to be anxious. Whatever makes your blood boil or stomach churn, know peace is available to you. Do you see it? Do you believe it?


Admittedly, peace is nearly incomprehensible—for us, anyway. Yet, there is One who not only offers and gives perfect peace, He is perfect peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4).


What is perfect peace?


It may seem impossible or too good to be true, but it is both possible and good because it comes from the One who is peace: God Almighty. He is the One for whom nothing is impossible (see Luke 1:37), and He is good and true (see Deuteronomy 32:4). He goes beyond simply offering peace but is the embodiment of peace. He literally is the definition, and thereby is the only true Source of pure peace.


Leaders (social, political and religious) have come and gone, but not Him. He has always been in control because He has always been. It is why we can read of truths such as, “In the beginning, God…” (Genesis 1:1), “‘...I (meaning Jesus) am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end’” (Revelation 21:6) and “for by Him all things were created” (Colossians 1:16). God has always been, is currently and always will be. Unchanging, unwavering, unfading (see Hebrews 13:8).


"...God Almighty...He goes beyond simply offering peace but is the embodiment of peace."

As Creator of all things, He appoints all leaders in their times and dethrones them in their times (see Daniel 2:21, Romans 13:1). Nothing—including mankind—is out of His knowledge, power or control. Yet, He is the One who offers us—mere humans, flaws and all—not just peace but perfect peace. A peace which surpases all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and is nothing compared to the imitation peace the world offers. (We can see how far that “peace” has gotten us.)


His peace is not just the absence of conflict, it is a much richer, complete peace which also includes innumerable blessings, including grace, mercy and a relationship with God Himself.


Yes, you read that correctly. God Almighty, the One who fashioned the stars in the sky and planted the mountains on the horizon. The One who appoints all leaders, He wants a relationship with you.


How do we attain such a relationship, given God is so great and we are, well, humans? Not on our own strength or by our own merit, but His (see Ephesians 2:8-10). No one is worthy of God for we all sin, i.e. do things which go against God and His character (see Rom. 3:23). Therefore, we’re all separated from Him (see Isa. 59:1-2). But God, in His infinite love offered Himself in our place—His righteousness for our sinfulness, His perfection for our flaws, His glory for our evil (see Rom. 5:8, 1 Peter 3:18).


Young blond man wearing black jacket with "No longer lost" in white on back
Jon Tyson photo | Unsplash

Just as all human crimes deserve just punishment, so do our crimes (sins) against God. From lying to murder, slandering our neighbor to rape, lustful thoughts to theft, all deserve the same penalty: eternal death, separation from God and suffering in Hell with the evil one, Satan. This may seem harsh, but ultimately all sins we commit, whether big or small in our eyes, are manifestations of us choosing ourselves (our desires and personal glory) over God.


But again, despite our sinful nature and the punishment we deserve, God offered a substitution on our behalf: Himself. Jesus Christ, though He knew no sin, temporarily forsook His rightful place in Heaven as the second Person of the Trinity, to take on human flesh, our sins and the penalty they deserve: the full wrath of God (see 2 Corinthians 5:21, Phil. 2:5b-8).


Having paid the price, He washed us clean and now renews us to be more like Him (see 1 John 1:9, 2 Cor. 3:17-18). However, this is only the case for those who believe in Him—those who take Him at His word, admit and turn away from their sins, accept His sacrifice on their behalf and pledge their lives to and for Him alone. These people are His people, and it is them He keeps in perfect peace (see John 3:16-18).


Because of Him, it is they who can say, “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Cor. 15:54-55). How can they profess such a bold claim? Because God has won eternal life for them; He has already conquered death for them, therefore, they are already living in victory.


His people, like all, will physically die, but they will be resurrected, like Him, and live forever in relationship with Him in Heaven. Those who are not His, they, too, will physically die and be resurrected, but it will be to eternal torment in Hell, along with Satan, his demons and all others who do not believe (see Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:14-15, 21:8).


"Because God has won eternal life for them; He has already conquered death for them, therefore, they are already living in victory."

To which group do you belong? Do you long for the peace only God can bring? Better yet, do you long for Him? The One who swallowed up death forever and defeated Satan; the One who delivers His children from fear of death and slavery to sin (Heb. 2:14-15)?


Do you desire the One who paid the penalty you deserve because of your sins, nailing them to His cross, and reconciled you to Himself (see Col. 2:13-15)? He is an everlasting rock to you. He not only “ordain(s) peace for (you),” He leaves His peace with you. Such is the promise Jesus gave His early followers, a promise He extends to those who believe Him now. Listen and trust when He says, “‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).


The peace He gives is not a what so much as a Who, for in the same conversation where Jesus utters these words of extending His peace to His people, He tells of His and the Father’s sending of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity (the one and only God manifested in three distinct but equal Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; see John 14:15-26).


With the peace of God living within us and Him as our Helper and Advocate, we have nothing to fear. Death has been conquered, sin has been overcome, Satan’s head has been crushed (see Gen. 3:15).


Drip coffee maker next to white coffee mug reading, "My cup runneth over"
Jon Tyson photo | Unsplash

With these truths in mind, fix your eyes on Him, the One who not only extends but is perfect peace. In the midst of any storm, look to Him and nothing else. Do you doubt His presence or willingness or ability to help? Do your anxieties seem too great? The words Jesus spoke to His first followers He said shortly before dying on the Cross. His peace brought Him through the very wrath of God. If His peace can withstand such a trial, it can get you through your trial. Nothing is impossible for Him. He defeated death, He disarmed Satan, He delivered you from slavery to sin. Therefore, trust Him when He says, “‘My peace I give to you.’”


Be still and know that He is God. Wait patiently for Him. Return to Him and rest. Quietly sit before Him and trust. Hear Him as He sings over you. He is your refuge and shield, your strength and stronghold (Psalm 18:1-3). He is an everlasting rock, and He keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him.




References:


English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.



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