We all shop to buy more material possessions, yet we can’t buy the one thing that everyone wants. We can’t buy peace. Why do people always seem to be at war? Where does war come from? James 4:1 says: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”
There are three types of wars. First, we are at war with one another. Man fights with
First, we are at war with one another. Man fights with another man. One ethnic group fights against another ethnic group. One nation fights against another nation. We have even had two world wars with many nations involved.
Second, we war within ourselves. People have a spirit of anger and they may not even know what they are angry about. They go around looking to pick a fight with someone. The “war within” may show up as stress, headaches, ulcers, depression, and even more serious illnesses such as cancer or other diseases.
Third, we are at war with God. James 4:4 says: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” The reason we have war with others and war within ourselves is because we are at war with God. There will be no peace with others and no peace within ourselves until we have peace with God.
I. What is peace?
Before we define peace, let’s look at what peace is not. Peace is not appeasement. Romans 12:18 says: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” The important thing this verse tells us is that sometimes it is just not possible to live at peace with some people. We are not to appease. This only brings a false sense of peace. If we stand up for righteousness, we will have enemies. Jesus stood for righteousness and He had plenty of enemies. Can we expect anything less in our lives when we stand for righteousness?
Peace is not making a treaty. This is only a cessation of the hostility. Again, this is not true peace. True peace is not just an absence of war. True peace is positive, not negative. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. When Jews greet each other even today they use the word “shalom” which means peace.
True peace is a right relationship with God that leads to a right relationship with self and with others. To have a right relationship with God we must have Jesus. Without Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we will never have true peace with God, with ourselves or with others. We learn in Psalm 85:10 that righteousness and peace go together: “Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed.” Hebrews 6:20 tells us that “Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” The next two verses, Hebrews 7:1-2, tells us that Melchizedek is the king of righteousness, but he is “also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace.’” We see how righteousness and peace go hand in hand. When we live a righteous life in God’s will, we will also have His peace.
II. What is the adversary to peace?
It should not surprise us that Satan makes every attempt to destroy peace. Isaiah 48:22 says: “’There is no peace,’ says the LORD, ‘for the wicked.’” The wicked refers to the unbeliever. The unbeliever cannot have peace without a relationship with Jesus. But Satan also tempts the believer into sin. Sin separates us from God and having a right relationship with Him. When we sin, we lose our peace.
III. How do we attain peace?
We have already noted that we cannot buy our peace, but our peace has been purchased as we will see. First, God, the Father, has planned our peace as Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: “For I know the thoughts that I have for you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” In Judges 6 Gideon has an encounter with the Angel of the LORD who is actually the pre-incarnate Jesus. Judges 6:24 says: “So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it The-LORD-Is-Peace.”
Our peace was purchased by the blood of Jesus on the cross. In Colossians 1:19-20 we are to the Father through Jesus: “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:13-14 that not only did Jesus purchase our peace, but He is our peace: “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.” Sin was not appeased; it was paid for. Through Jesus, we can have peace with God the Father.
The Holy Spirit is also involved in our peace. Jesus tells us how in John 14:25-27: “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you a thing, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we have the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is live, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.”
IV. Who are God’s agents for peace?
If we are God’s ambassadors on the earth today, then we must be peacemakers. If we are reconciled to God through salvation, then we have a responsibility to encourage and help others to be reconciled to God. Paul says we have a “ministry of reconciliation” in II Corinthians 5:18: “Now, all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” Romans 5:1 says: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we have peace with God, how could we not want to be a peacemaker to help others have peace with God through salvation in Jesus Christ? There is a special blessing in leading others in being reconciled to God so that they can have peace also.
Notes from Dr. Adrian Rogers Taught by Dr. Susie Stiles