Every Christian already has peace with God, but the peace of God is a free-will choice. To understand the difference let’s define both. What should we know about the peace we have WITH God and the peace OF God?
Peace WITH God
Peace with God is an objective peace. It doesn’t come from within ourselves. It’s not something we can obtain. It is something we are freely given. It is a gift from God — a gift given by Jesus when He saves a repentant sinner.
We know that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, and when we repent and trust in Him, He is faithful to forgive our sins and save us. Jesus absorbed the wrath of God that should have been ours. He made peace WITH God for us and He gives us that peace in our salvation. This peace is a fact, not a feeling. It is free and it is forever. It can never be destroyed or even diminished. It is a secure peace with the Almighty God of all creation because of Jesus’ finished work.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Peace OF God
The peace of God is a subjective peace. We have it when we experience the peace that comes through trusting Jesus. This peace is also given to us by God, freely and generously. It produces in us a feeling of well, but it is something that we must actively pursue.
In our salvation, God gave us the Holy Spirit who is also called the Comforter. One of His many jobs is to impart the peace of God to us. We are also promised from God’s Word that Jesus’ grace is sufficient in all things (2 Cor 12:9-10). This is a blessing and a comfort, and it is something we must remember every minute of every day. When we keep our eyes on Jesus and rightly remember Who He is, what He has done for us, and who we are in Him, we experience the calm, and peace, of resting in Him. That is how we receive the peace OF God. It is a choice to keep our eyes on Jesus, our hearts devoted to Him, and our minds continually being renewed in His Word. Sadly, when we allow anxiety and fear to set in, we lose focus, we become disheartened, and confusion abounds. Then the flow of God’s peace to us is blocked and our joy is diminished.
Paul warns against such worry that creates anxiety and he tells us that we are to come to God “with thanksgiving” in prayer to receive His peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.
When we remember all that God has given us and give Him thanks, the peace of God is received and we find rest in Jesus.
Jesus IS Peace!
When we read the account of angels announcing Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, we read that they praised God by proclaiming:
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The angels proclaimed peace, but not a condition of peace on earth as some say. This does not say “…and peace on earth…” in the sense that there will be no trumoil, strife, or wars. It says “on earth peace” and when Jesus was born there was on earth, “Peace.” Tthat “Peace” came in the form of a baby born in Bethlehem. The angels also proclaimed that “on earth” there was “good will toward man” and Jesus was that “Good Will” of God sent to seek and save the lost. His entering into our world was the greatest expression of God’s peace and good will toward us.
Jesus’ birth brought a true peace to our world, a peace in and of Himself, unlike any worldly peace. His presence was “on earth Peace” but not peace on earth. In fact, there was much unrest during Jesus’ earthly life. He even told that He came not to bring an earthly peace:
Mat 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
Although He is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), Jesus knew that His presence would bring division and unrest. Throughout the centuries there has never been peace on earth (at least not since the Garden). But in Jesus’ incarnation, and by the indwelling Holy Spirit in believers, there was and is “on earth peace” in our world.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace
Jesus opened the way to peace WITH God and He desires that all God’s children choose to receive the peace OF God. Make a concerted effort every day to keep looking unto Jesus and find comfort, rest, and the peace of God.
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee… (Psalm 40:16)
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. . . (John 14:27)
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