Peace is obviously precious. For the Old Testament saints, their hello was “Shalom!” Peace! Every time they worshiped, they received this blessing: “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num. 6:23-26). And almost every New Testament epistle begins, “Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our God, who put enmity between two seeds on earth, is yet the God of peace (Rom. 16:20). Christ, who came not to send peace, is yet the Prince of Peace who came into this world preaching peace, and departed it leaving us with peace (Matt. 10:34; Is. 9:6; Acts 10:36; John 14:27). And the good news is the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15).
One of the most profound gospel statements is this: “Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). This simple profundity is because peace passes all understanding and yet keeps our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7). It does so because peace is unique among the blessings and fruits of the Spirit. First, it encompasses and is the goal of them—you are the object of grace and shown mercy so that you might be at peace; and if the object of grace and mercy, then you have peace. Secondly, among the spiritual fruits only peace is a state of being—you may have love, joy, goodness, and faith, but if you have peace, you are at peace (Gal. 5:22). And a state of being is only known by experience; to know peace, you must be at peace. The wicked cannot know peace because no peace is given them; for to be carnally minded is enmity, but to be spiritually minded is peace (Rom. 3:17, 8:6; Is. 48:22). And to the righteous, God extends peace as an ever-flowing, unending river (Is. 66:12).
Peace passes all understanding because it belongs to that heavenly wisdom that eye hath not seen (I Cor. 2:9). Thus, peace is rarely defined but rather described, often in other-worldly terms—wolf and lamb living together, lion and cow eating straw together, or an infant leading wild beasts and playing with snakes (Is. 11:6, 65:25). Or, it is described as the cessation of its ubiquitous opposite, like warfare (Rev. 6:4). Peace is friendship, unity, and harmony versus enmity, division, and discord (Eph. 2:15; Luke 12:51). Peace is order, truth, and justice instead of confusion, deceit, and oppression (I Cor. 14:33; Zech. 8:16). Peace is quiet, calm, and rest rather than noise, turmoil, and agitation (Mark 4:39; Ps. 4:8, 35:20). Peace is to be satisfied, healthy, and prosperous, not needy, sick, and ruined (Ps. 122:7; Mark 5:34). Peace is to be in safety versus in danger, of good cheer versus anxious, joyful versus grieved, tranquil versus troubled, and comforted versus afraid (Luke 11:21; John 14:17; Judges 6:23).
Peace keeps our hearts and minds because Christ is our peace. The key to peace is righteousness—the work of righteousness is peace; and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever (Is. 32:17). Christ is our peace because Christ is our righteousness (Eph. 2:14). He makes peace—everlasting peace He made for us with God by His atoning death, opening the way to peace on God’s terms—His righteousness (Ps. 147:14). In Him we have peace, for in Him righteousness and peace have kissed each other (John 16:33; Ps. 85:10). And this peace He gives to us, He guides us in the way of peace, and makes us live in peace and depart this world in peace (John 14:27; Luke 1:79, 2:29, 7:50). His blessed fellowship is a covenant of peace (Num. 25:12).
Wherefore, beloved, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless (II Pet. 3:14). This wisdom from above is peaceable; and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (Jam. 3:17-18). Endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body (Col. 3:15). Follow peace. Seek peace and ensue it (Heb. 12:14; I Pet. 3:11). Delight thyself in the abundance of peace. (Ps. 37:11). Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6). And finally, brethren, farewell: Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you (II Cor. 13:11).