This article is part of the Key Bible Verses series.
Grant Us Peace
In a world of tumult, sin, and suffering, the only real and lasting rest believers can find is given to us by the God of peace. Be encouraged by these verses and commentary adapted from the ESV Study Bible.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
The peace described here is first the corporate peace of the city (Isa. 26:1) and the nation (Isa. 26:2) that comes from the “hand of the Lord” (Isa. 25:10); but it is also the individual peace of the person whose mind is stayed on God. The source of such peace is the righteous, sovereign, saving God (Isa. 25:9)—who “will swallow up death forever” and “will wipe away” every tear (Isa. 25:8; cf. Rev. 21:4), and who alone is worthy of trust.
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.
The expression peace (Hb. shalom) had a much richer connotation than the English word does since it conveyed not merely the absence of conflict and turmoil but also the notion of positive blessing, especially in terms of a right relationship with God (e.g., Num. 6:24–26; cf. Ps. 29:11; Hag. 2:9, and also, as a result, the idea that “all is well” in one’s life). This may be manifested most clearly amid persecution and tribulation; see also John 15:18–19; John 16:33.
Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 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.”
In the midst of the suffering and hardship that was to come, Jesus’ disciples, and all following them, can have such “peace” in fellowship with Christ. Fittingly, Jesus’ Farewell Discourse (John 13:31–16:33) ends on a note of triumph (cf. 1 John 2:13–14; 4:4; 5:4–5).
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.
Paul echoes Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 6:25–34) that believers are not to be anxious but are to entrust themselves into the hands of their loving heavenly Father, whose peace will guard them in Christ Jesus. Paul’s use of “guard” may reflect his own imprisonment or the status of Philippi as a Roman colony with a military garrison. In either case, it is not Roman soldiers who guard believers—it is the peace of God Almighty. Because God is sovereign and in control, Christians can entrust all their difficulties to him, who rules over all creation and who is wise and loving in all his ways (Rom. 8:31–39). An attitude of thanksgiving contributes directly to this inward peace.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
In his Beatitudes, Jesus makes pronouncements to the crowds and religious leaders and gives instructions to his disciples concerning the nature of life in the kingdom (Matthew 5:3–12).
Those who promote God’s messianic peace (Hb. shalom, total well-being both personally and communally) will receive the ultimate reward of being called sons of God as they reflect the character of their heavenly Father.
“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
The prophet concludes both this chapter and all of Isaiah 40–55 with a vision of the triumph of God’s grace, when the effects of sin and the fall (see Gen. 3:17; Gen. 6:11–13) are rectified and “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21) The redeemed, proceeding at last into their eternal joys, are the occasion for the creation to break forth into singing. “Instead of the thorn”: The image is of arid, unproductive land being transformed. God will be forever glorified by the display of his triumphant grace.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The central theme of Romans 5–8 is that believers in Christ, who are righteous in God’s sight, have a certain hope of future glory and life eternal. Those who are justified by faith have an unshakable hope, knowing they will be saved from God’s wrath on the day of judgment by virtue of Christ’s substitutionary death on their behalf.
Romans 5 begins with a ringing affirmation of the objective legal standing of the Christian—that the Christian, through faith in Christ, has been justified and declared righteous by God, once for all. The result of this is that the Christian no longer lives under the fear of judgment and the wrath of God but has peace with God, which is not merely a subjective feeling but an objective reality.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The Spirit fights against sin not merely in defense but also in attack by producing in Christians the positive attributes of godly character, all of which are evident in Jesus in the Gospels. Peace is the product of God having reconciled sinners to himself, so that they are no longer his enemies, which should result in confidence and freedom in approaching God (Rom. 5:1–2; Heb. 4:16). Against such things there is no law, and therefore those who manifest them are fulfilling the law—more than those who insist on Jewish ceremonies, and likewise more than those who follow the works of the flesh surveyed in Galatians 5:19–21.
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.
This refers to the state of harmonious friendship with God and with one another in the church. made us both one. That is, Jews and Gentiles. The opposite of peace is the hostility that Christ has quenched. Christ created a unified new people from the old hostile camps (Col. 3:15; cf. John 17:20–21). in his flesh. This refers to Christ’s bodily death on the cross (see Eph. 2:16). dividing wall. There was an inscription on the wall of the outer courtyard of the Jerusalem temple warning Gentiles that they would only have themselves to blame for their death if they passed beyond it into the inner courts. Paul may or may not be alluding to this wall, but it well illustrates Christ’s reconciliation of all people into a new humanity (see Eph.2:15).
On the cross, Christ put to death the hostility between Israel and the other nations. In this section the focus shifts to the new, unified group being brought near to God.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Paul calls the Colossians to a holy lifestyle, consistent with their new identity. Believers have been chosen by God and stand before him as his beloved holy ones. They are to live up to what they are in Christ.
Tolerance is a virtue within the Christian community, although Paul clearly does not want the Colossians to tolerate the false teaching. forgiving each other . . . as the Lord has forgiven you. When wronged and betrayed, Christians are called to forgive others, even as they have been forgiven for their betrayal of Christ (see Matt. 6:12, Matt.6:14–15; Matt. 18:21–22).
Above all else, Christians are called on to love one another (see 1 Corinthians 13). "Binds . . . together" may suggest that love unites all the virtues.
All commentary sections adapted from the ESV Study Bible.
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