Fruit of The Lips: Peace

FOTL 3-2

Peace is an incredibly frequent word in the scriptures. Often times, our English word (peace) does not quite match the force of a word like shalom– which not only gives the impression of the absence of trouble, but the presence of blessing and reconciliation, especially with God. 



Ministry of Reconciliation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17–21, ESV)


All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one”” (Romans 3:10–12, ESV). But God so loved the world that while one would scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7–8, ESV). 


It was while we were enemies even, that Christ reconciled us to God. The Christian’s peace comes not at the expense of his own goods, or the work of his own hands, or the fervor of his own spirit, but by the death of Christ–God’s only begotten Son. There, and only there, can satisfaction be made for sinners. Jesus is the only one who can ascend the hill or the Lord–the one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully (Ps. 24:3-4). And it was this spotless lamb that was taken away the sins of the world, “canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 2:14–15, ESV). 


Rejoicing in the peace that we now have, we are entrusted with a message of reconciliation–to be “ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:18-20). That is, we are heralds of good news of great joy, that on earth has come peace and goodwill toward men. We are not to be steered by the fear of man, crying as the false prophets did in Jeremiah’s time “peace, peace” when there was no peace (Jer. 6:14). We speak to a world that really is dead in their trespasses and sins, but for God’s grace. 

We speak that every fallen soul can hear that peace is offered to them in the name of Jesus Christ.  But “how then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14, ESV). “As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”…. faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:15–17, ESV). 


A remarkable blessing of the gift of speech is to be entrusted to use it with these words of life. We should pray like Paul in Eph. 6:19 that words may be given to us to boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel, as we ought to speak. That our words will be “gracious, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer each person (Col. 4:6). And to prepare ourselves as Peter suggests to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet. 3:15). 




Death to hostility between those in the church 

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— 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. 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 us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 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, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:11–18, ESV)



Not only do we have peace with God through Christ, but we also have peace with man. Christians who receive the love of God and forgiveness of God but who do not extend that love or forgiveness to others simply aren’t Christians. The powerful work of reconciliation stands as a witness to God’s work in us.


As Jerry Seinfeld says, “people, they’re the worst”.  And its precisely in that very real tension that the church makes peace, breaking down the barriers and hostilities and annoyances among nations, killing the hostility in Christ, and uniting the body of Christ into one Spirit. 


It is what moves Jesus to cry out for the Father to forgive his persecutors or for the Apostle Paul to witness to his prison guards.  


It is what pushed Saint Patrick to travel back to Ireland where he had once been a slave to proclaim the gospel, and what made Corrie Ten Boom shake hands with one of her Nazi concentration camp guards. 


The gospel turns enemies into friends. It blesses and prays for those who persecute us, and extends to the ugliest of adversaries the other cheek of meekness and the right hand of fellowship. 




God Brings Peace In A Scary World

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have 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 hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:25–27, ESV)


I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:33, ESV)


do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7, ESV)




Not only does the good news bring peace with God and peace among men, but it also brings peace in our circumstances. 


There is a lot to be afraid of in this life: loss, loneliness, suffering, sickness, death. And it is a real grace in this life to be comforted in a variety of ways as we all walk a hard road, but the greatest comfort comes in a way that only the gospel has brought. That Christ is reconciling the world to himself, making peace by the blood of His cross, that he has even taken death’s sting away, and that he is making the world anew. “We will have tribulation”, he says, but we are to take heart, for He has overcome the world. God is the one who is guarding our hearts from despair and fear. And in that hope, aided by The Helper, The Spirit, we are able to have peace that passes understanding. 


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, ESV)


In this present hour, we are to stir one another up to love and good works (Heb. 10:24), to comfort those who are in affliction (2 Cor. 1:3), to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). We are to be peace speakers


Ministry of Restoration

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1, ESV)


Among our relationships we are also to be restorers of peace. 


When, by the grace of God, we see that someone is caught in sin and we are in a sober-minded faithfulness, should serve them with correction or rebuke, leading them to peace through repentance. But we are to do this while keeping watch on ourselves. This is especially hard in the home. When we see sin it is easy to be frustrated by it and respond to the offense of others with offenses of our own. I.e. yelling at the kids to stop yelling or being rude to your wife for being rude, etc. We can often fall into the same temptation that those whom we are to serve have themselves been caught in. 


As Jesus teaches, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). Those whose ambition is to help others turn from sin and turn toward God, bringing ambassadors of reconciliation, are those who are truly about their Father’s work, those to whom belong the title ‘sons of God’.