What comes to your mind when you hear the word, peace? Maybe it is a quiet calm time of the day. Maybe it is just an anti-war slogan. Maybe it is something that you think will never happen.
In the Bible the word “peace” often refers to peace with God, meaning that we are no longer at war with God. By God grace we have acknowledge that our sin has separated us from God, and through faith we have accepted that the only way to have a relationship with God is through his son’s death. We need God’s peace before we can have peace in other areas.
But what is peace?
The dictionary defines peace as “freedom from war or fighting.” Based on that superficial definition I have peace in my life. I am not living in a physical war zone. I am not at war with human enemies or fighting anyone. But I am involved in a spiritual battle. Because I have peace with God, his enemies have become mine. The question now is: Will I obey God or follow the lies of his enemies and my own desires?
How does the Bible define peace?
The Biblical concepts of peace comes from the Hebrew root slm which means “to be complete”. The noun has many slightly different meanings related to wholeness of life, right relationships, fulfilment, or victory or the absence of war. Salom was used as both a greeting and a farewell.
How does God display peace? As we read the creation story at the beginning of time, we see the response from God, “and God saw that it was good.” The world was at peace. The world was complete both the physical world and relationships between man and God and man and woman.
That peace did not last. Sin entered and that disrupted the completeness. There was now war. War between God and man and war between men. Sin causes us to seek our own desires. That causes strife and not peace. That is what James refers to in chapter 4 when he says that our passions are at war.
Now we are called to walk in the Spirit and to bear the fruit of the Spirit, the peace. It comes from God. Peace is how God designed the world. We can have peace because of Christ’s death and resurrection. We have the Spirit who came guides us and helps us to have peace.
The example we see of peace from God begins with creation. That gives us a picture of what peace looks like. In many ways that peace will not be achieved this side of heaven but we need to strive to live in peace. We need to put aside our passions and desires and follow God’s ways.
We also see that God wants peace with us because he sent Jesus who is called the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) Through Jesus we can have peace.
Do you have peace with God? Are you walk in the Spirit and living with peace?