Peace I leave with you, My peace (of God) 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 [John 14:27, parenthesis added].
There is a world of difference between peace with God and the peace of God.
When a person accepts Christ as Lord and personal Savior, he establishes peace with God. As a result of salvation, God appeases His anger toward sin through Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice and establishes peace with with Himself (Romans 5:1). Being a regenerated, reconciled child of God, I revel in knowing this peace can never be removed.
However, the peace of God is something much different. It is conditional to life choices, may be withheld and controlled, and represents a state of mind and condition of heart.
Understanding the Difference
The source of peace
“God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). God is organized, excels at specificity and is involved in the nitty-gritty details of life. As sovereign, omniscient God, He is not frenzied, reactive, or surprised. Nothing catches Him off-guard. Rather, He precisely and intentionally orchestrates every event. Amazingly, He even maneuvers man’s persistent immoral behavior and sinful exercise of free will to fulfill His ultimate purpose.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace
As such (Isaiah 9:6), He imparts His peace to His followers. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). This does not imply the absence of heartache or adversity. Rather, it is a calm contentedness regardless of the circumstances. It is a trusting foreknowledge that God holds every aspect of reality in His hands, has it all under control, and everything will be okay.
Peace is correlated to application of God’s Word
“Great peace have those who love Your law” (Psalm 119:165). Those who love and delight in God’s Word generally apply its guidance and instruction to their lives and lifestyles. Deeper obedience and submission to God’s moral standard leads to greater peace. It may seem counter-intuitive to independent thinking and the pursuit of freedom. However, peace parallels obedience to God’s instruction. More obedience, more peace. Less obedience, less peace.
Peace can be claimed / controlled
“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). Although we’re instructed to allow God’s peace to govern or control our hearts, each person maintains the ability to permit or restrict it. Each of us faces a choice. We can allow adversity’s frenzy, the world’s chaos, or a self-imposed need for control to wreak havoc in our hearts and minds. Or we can lift our eyes from those stormy waves and affix them on the Storm-Walker.
Peace is pervasive
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). In granting it full access, God’s peace permeates every relationship, circumstance and aspect of life. By pleasing Him, we unleash the unmatched power of His peace. In its incomprehensible manner and softens hardened hearts. It loosens unyielding mindsets, settles unresolved conflict, and casts down strongholds. Amazingly, it negotiates and navigates what is impossible through force.
Peace is not weakness
“The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20). Though God is the source of peace and peacefulness, He is still holy and righteous. He equitably distributes both rewards and consequences. He grants favor to those who follow, submit and obey. Inversely, He dispenses severe judgment on all who oppose, rebel against or ignore Him. Yet even in judgment, His goal is to establish peace.
Peace is an incomprehensible safeguard
“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). We have grown comfortable describing certain attributes or effects of peace. But finite minds cannot fully understand or define such infinite and soothing calm. Through Christ’s salvation and righteousness, this peace provides a protective shield for those hearts and minds submitted to God’s instruction and allowing full access to His peace.
God’s peace may be removed
“I have taken away My peace from this people” (Jeremiah 16:5). In addition to it being restricted by anxious, fearful and doubting minds, God also withholds and removes His peace. He does so as judgment and the means to recall people from waywardness. In granting their desire to be removed from His influence, He subsequently removes His peace. The ensuing turmoil prompts a repentant heart and safe return to His side.
Do you have peace with God? Is the peace of God reigning over you today?