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Bible verses about Peace
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Any good dictionary will define peace as freedom from war, harmony, concord, agreement, calm, tranquillity, serenity, quiet, undisturbed state of mind, absence of mental conflict, contentment, acceptance of one's state, and the absence of anxiety. It will list its antonyms as war, anxiety, disorder, disturbance, disruption, conflict, and commotion.

The New Testament Greek word most often translated as "peace" is eirene. It has the sense of "joining what had previously been separated or disturbed." Thus, it frequently is used to signify "setting at one; quietness; and rest." The Daily Study Bible Commentary by William Barclay says it "means not just freedom from trouble but everything that makes for a man's highest good."

The word did not begin that way. Its classical Greek usage was narrow, confined to mean the absence of conflict. The New Testament's writers, however, also familiar with the Hebrew shalom, used eirene as its synonym. Thus, eirene also came to indicate inner satisfaction, the contentment and serenity that derive from living a full life.

The Hebrew predominantly uses three words, but one we will not consider because it refers to the peace offering. The second is charash. It means to hold one's peace, quiet, silent, rest, and a host of nuances both positive and negative depending on the context.

The third is the very familiar greeting, shalom. Though it is also generally translated as a single word like peace, rest, favor, safe, health, welfare and prosperity, it has, as the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states, "a basic meaning of totality or completeness including fulfillment, maturity, soundness, and wholeness."

Thus, like eirene, it also implies that which makes for man's highest good. Unfortunately, this sense does not carry through into the English translations. We miss out on the sense that shalom, whether used as a greeting or benediction, carries the desire for the recipient's well-being in the widest sense. When applied to the tranquillity of a person's mind even in the midst of trouble, it suggests that the person is being blessed with fullness or that his character is maturing into the image of God, who is perfect.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible Series gives this understanding of shalom:

In Hebrew peace is never only a negative state; it never means only the absence of trouble; in Hebrew peace always means everything which makes for a man's highest good. In the east when one man says to another, Salaam—which is the same word—he does not mean that he wishes for the other man only the absence of evil things; he wishes for him the presence of all good things. In the Bible peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it means enjoyment of all good. (vol. 1, p. 108)

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

In the center of Hiroshima, Japan, the twisted ruins of the former exhibition hall remain as a memorial to the death and horror of the atomic blast. On a standard outside, one word is inscribed in large, bold letters: Peace. Man has long desired peace, but found it to be elusive because he does not know how to acquire it. In the Old Testament peace indicated material prosperity or physical safety. But for the New Testament church, peace means far more: spiritual well-being, completeness, and stability of mind (II Corinthians 13:11). True, heartfelt peace is not merely the absence of or restraint from conflict, but a positive, proactive, heartfelt peace of yielding to God and of good will toward all.

Martin G. Collins
Peace


 

Genesis 14:18-20

Notice that Melchizedek was king of Salem. That is the city of Jerusalem. "Salem" comes from the Hebrew word meaning "peace." That would make Melchizedek the "King of Peace" (Hebrews 7:2). The Hebrew name Melchizedek itself means "King of Righteousness" (Hebrews 7:2). The same individual is mentioned in Psalm 110:4. Speaking prophetically of Christ, David stated: "The Eternal hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." This verse is quoted again in Hebrews 5:6, 10.

Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)
The Mystery of Melchizedek Solved!


 

Psalm 34:14

Making peace takes real effort! Although a gift from God through Christ, peace has to be sought (I Peter 3:11). The pursuit of peace is not merely an elimination of discord, but peace is produced by conscious effort to overcome while asking God to grant it. By themselves, however, our efforts are not enough. Jesus Christ Himself will ultimately bring peace to all mankind (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Martin G. Collins
Peace


 

Psalm 37:37

Righteousness produces peace with its qualities of quietness and assurance, but at the same time, peace provides the proper environment for righteousness to grow. One builds upon the other. A home without peace hinders the development of righteousness. Thus, God allows a Christian to divorce an abusive, unconverted mate (I Corinthians 7:15).

Martin G. Collins
Peace


 

Psalm 107:21-22

Thankfulness is offered as a spiritual sacrifice. It is given in combination with other spiritual sacrifices. As a spiritual sacrifice, thanksgiving can be offered in the form of a prayer and/or praise. Prayer, praise, and thanksgiving are almost inseparable, and they are most often offered together. Thankfulness is a peace offering (Leviticus 7:11-13). It produces peace (I Timothy 2:1-2).

Martin G. Collins
Thankfulness


 

Psalm 119:165

Some modern translations replace the last clause of Psalm 119:165 with something akin to "nothing can make them stumble." Nothing can entice them to sin, nor can the sins of others cause them to fall.

As a fruit, the love of God's instruction—paying attention to and keeping His law—produces peace, which is a wonderful, strong sense of well-being, stability, and confident assurance in what we already have. Thus, the enticement to go another way holds no attraction. Why exchange something we have proven to be eternally good for something else of very nebulous and doubtful short-term value?

The psalmist writes in verse 49, "Remember the word to your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope." Why turn aside from a way that gives hope? "This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. . . . I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts" (verses 50, 63). Peace, hope, comfort in affliction, fellowship with wonderful, like-minded people also submitting to God, and life all come as a result of loving God's law. In other verses, he adds delight, understanding, and wisdom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Defense Against Offense


 

Psalm 119:165

Human nature is enmity against God, and it rejects God's law (Romans 8:7). The result is continual warfare with God and between men. No one who breaks God's law as a way of life can have peace, at least not the kind of peace God gives. Jesus says in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you."

The world can produce a level of tranquility from time to time, but it is not the peace of God. When a person sins, it seems as though there is a feeling, a natural fear, that wells up. Even before the sin occurs, one invariably seeks to make sure no one else sees it happen. This does not display a mind at peace. Immediately following a sin, the fear of exposure arises, and the sinner begins justifying, at least to himself, why he has done such a thing. If caught, he justifies himself as Adam and Eve did before God.

In simple terms, God is showing us the consequences of breaking His laws. If one were at peace with God, he would have no need to hide himself. With a clear conscience, he need not lie, justifying and shifting the blame on to others. No one who breaks God's laws can have peace. However, one who loves God's law will not only keep the peace he already has but will add to it as its fruit and reward.

Psalm 119:165 promises another wonderful benefit: Nothing causes those who love God's law to stumble. "To stumble" indicates faltering along the path to the Kingdom of God or even to fall completely away from God. This provides great encouragement and assurance regarding security with God, meaning that we will not be turned aside by the difficulties along the way.

Instead of fear of exposure and a guilty conscience, we will be assured because God's Word says so, as I John 3:18-19 confirms: "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him." What a confident life we can live by following God's way!

Another New Testament passage, I John 2:8-11, parallels the psalmist's thought:

Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Consider these verses in relation to the meal offering, representing the devoted keeping of the last six commandments. Hating a brother would be breaking those commandments in relation to him. It might involve murdering him, breaking the marriage bond through adultery, stealing from him, lying to or about him, or lusting after him or his possessions.

Verse 10 parallels Psalm 119:165 exactly when it says, "But he who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him." I John 5:3 defines love: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." The New Testament strongly affirms that loving one's brother is keeping God's commandments in relation to him, and this provides us strong assurance and stability along the way.

I John 2:11 then shows that the blindness of darkness envelops the eyes of one who hates his brother, that is, breaks God's commandments in relation to him. This blindness produces stumbling and fighting, and thus he has no peace.

It is particularly disturbing if the brother spoken of in these verses also happens to be one's spouse, father, or mother. Old people today stand a high chance of being shunted off into a convalescent or old-age home, if only for the convenience of the adult children. Is that honoring a parent, or is it in some way contemptuous? Are the children unwilling to make sacrifices even for those who brought them into the world? Will this course of action produce peace? Will it produce a sense of well-being in either party?

John says, "He who loves his brother abides in the light" (verse 10), implying that love produces its own illumination. Illumination is what enables a person to see in the dark. Light contrasts to the darkness, blindness, and ignorance of verse 11, which result in stumbling. Illumination indicates understanding and the ability to produce solutions to relationship problems. The difficult part is laying ourselves out in sacrifice to express love. If we fail to do this, we may never see solutions to our relationship problems.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Five): The Peace Offering, Sacrifice, and Love


 

Psalm 119:165

What does "great peace" mean? "Peace" automatically suggests an absence of war, no battling, no fighting. Under temptation, a battle always rages, even if we are winning. In such a case, no peace exists, much less "great peace." As an illustration, initially, the U.S. in Iraq won every battle handily, but it was still war. The spiritual war we fight is caused by temptation from Satan, our human nature, and the world. Remove temptation, and war stops. What remains is great peace.

How do we achieve not just peace, but "great peace"? The last half of Psalm 119:165 tells us: "nothing causes them to stumble." What causes a human to stumble? Temptation! This means that we have to be sheltered from it. The American Standard Version renders this phrase, "they have no occasion of stumbling," Young's Literal Translation puts it as "they have no stumbling-block," and the Rotherham's Emphasized Bible reads, "nothing to make them stumble." All of these renderings mean that not even the opportunity to stumble is presented. Other scriptures mention protection from stumbling:

Psalm 121:3 (NLT): He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.

I John 2:10: He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

Jude 24: Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. . . .

God through the gift of His Holy Spirit is the only power in the universe that can accomplish such a feat. If God does not place that shield around us, we have no hope of success. Alone, we are powerless in the face of temptation. We overcome it not by our strength, but by God's power, the shield of faith (I John 5:4) given to us as His gift (Ephesians 2:8). It is our only sure defense.

To acknowledge God and to pray always are to be in alignment with one of Christ's most basic principles, a principle found in Matthew 6:33—to "seek first the kingdom of God" in all things. Praying always is stepping out in faith, believing that if we seek God first, He will add all the things we need (Philippians 4:19), including the strength to overcome, to finish this journey, and to enter His Kingdom.

When faced with the myriad decisions we have to make during each day, if we are not acknowledging God's presence, we have placed ourselves in the position of fighting our battles on our own. Israel made the same mistake, choosing the hard road in their fight, one littered with bodies. We probably all know of some bodies that now litter the spiritual road we have walked. We veterans carry scars from the battles we have lost.

Our battles to overcome are more like skirmishes than battles. In fact, we experience our most severe temptations and trials in everyday events like eating, conducting business affairs, or relating to others in the family or community. Luke 16:10 acknowledges this: "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much."

What better way to win those little skirmishes than to have an invincible Champion, God, in the van of the battle? Because these skirmishes are in the myriad of details we deal with every day, only striving to pray always during the day gives us that unyielding first line of defense.

Our deceitful human nature has in its arsenal countless ways, reasons, and excuses to avoid confronting the real issue of life—overcoming and allowing God to form and shape us into His image. Just bringing God into the picture unleashes forces that will not only help us to overcome, but will also protect us from the pitfalls that litter our path (Psalm 91:12). It is this striving to pray always that a Laodicean naturally avoids because he feels no need.

Pat Higgins
Praying Always (Part Six)


 

Isaiah 53:4-9

Jesus shows us that meekness is not a mere contemplative virtue; it is maintaining peace and patience in the midst of pelting provocations. In II Corinthians Paul realizes that the meek and gentle approach can easily appear as weakness to those unfamiliar with Jesus' example, so he calls it "the meekness . . . of Christ." True meekness is always measured by Christ's meekness. His humility, patience, and total submission of His own will to the will of the Father exemplifies meekness.

Martin G. Collins
Meekness


 

Isaiah 53:10

Isaiah 53 presents an entire chapter about the Lord's Servant sacrificing Himself. Notice verse 10: "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand."

The word "pleased" does not mean that God's mind was merely inclined in that direction. Rather, it carries as a strong undercurrent of a sense of satisfaction, even pleasure and delight. Why would one have a sense like this in relation to an excruciating and painful experience such as Christ experienced in His crucifixion? Because God foresaw the overwhelming good that it would produce.

Recall that the peace offering shows us that God is satisfied because man is in communion with Him. A man is satisfied because he knows he is accepted by God, that he is in fellowship with and sharing with Him. The Priest, Christ, is satisfied because, as the common friend of formerly estranged parties, He is happy to see them sharing due to His work. Each party encompassed by the peace offering is at peace with the others.

On the eve of His crucifixion, as He takes them through the New Testament Passover service, Jesus tells His apostles, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). He is certainly not looking forward to the pain of sacrificing His life but to what would be accomplished as a result of His sacrifice. It would be the major means of producing peace between God and man. He knows His sacrifice would make possible a Family born of God.

God repeatedly shows that, whether in a family, business, nation, or in any aspect of God's creation, peace is a major fruit of sacrifice. Most specifically, for us it means sacrificing ourselves in keeping God's commandments and fighting human nature, holding it in check. It means being a living sacrifice by not conforming to this world or yielding to the base demands of human nature. The peace offering reveals the consequence of truly loving one another: Sacrifice is the very essence of love!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Five): The Peace Offering, Sacrifice, and Love


 

Jeremiah 29:7

The first two points in how to survive exile have to do with feeding the flock and getting ourselves back into spiritual shape. The third point deals with going to the world and increasing our numbers. The fourth concerns our witness to the world and our response to it.

Paul advises us to do it in peace. Live peaceably with all men as far as lies within you (see Romans 12:16-21). This is an important point because peace trickles down. Peace in the nation will trickle down to peace among citizens. If we live in an environment of peace, we can accomplish the overcoming, the growing, and the producing of fruit. As James writes, "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:18).

We have to be among the peacemakers, even while living in a world full of strife. We should seek God's hand in this, asking Him to give peace so that we can have the time—and not the distractions of strife—to use in producing fruit, getting our families in order, and increasing our numbers. If there is no peace, those things become much harder to do. We need to be peacemakers, which is one of Christ's beatitudes: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). It is vital that we have peace.

"Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). He we see how important peace is to producing holiness. If we fail in this, we will not see God! Peace is vital. In James 4, the apostle curses the recipients of his epistle, calling them adulterers and adulteresses because they were full of strife with one another. They were at war with each other. They were not producing peace. They were certainly not producing righteousness.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

Jeremiah 30:23-24

These verses actually repeat Jeremiah 23:19-20 almost word for word. This repetition is significant because Jeremiah 23 is a warning against false prophets. In particular, it is about men, claiming to speak for God, who tell the people—whose lives deny God—that, "The LORD has said, 'You shall have peace.'" These prophets say to the people, who were walking according to the dictates of their own hearts, "No evil will come upon you." In essence, they deny God's justice, and the fact that sin has consequences. They are telling the people not to worry about God's judgment upon them—everything would be fine; no change of course would be necessary.

However, the people, in reality, have declared war on God and His way of life through the conduct of their own lives. Whether or not they realize it, their carnal minds hold great enmity for God's way of doing things. They can never have peace with God until they repent and change.

God always desires peace, but if the sinning party is unwilling to face reality and repent, then His response will be a painful one. There will be peace with God only when the sinner is broken and submits to God. Yet, the false prophets insinuate that God does not care and that it does not matter how one lives. Nevertheless, these verses show that God destroys those who promote the idea that sin does not have consequences, who say God's justice is of little concern. These ideas keep getting Israel—indeed, all of mankind—into trouble.

The symbol of the whirlwind, then, represents God's fury and anger. Just as no man can control or divert a tornado or hurricane, so God's anger at the sin of the wicked cannot be resisted. It will continue until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days, which we are in, God says we will consider it, meaning that Israel and Judah have not yet learned this lesson. However, when that chastening is over, Israel and Judah will be restored to the land, and, more importantly, they will be reconciled to God and able to live in peace.

David C. Grabbe
The Second Exodus (Part Two)


 

Matthew 5:9

At first glance, there seems to be a number of contradictions regarding peace, peacemaking, and the Christian. Most commentators write only narrowly on peacemaking, approaching it almost entirely in regard to mediating between disputing people. Good as far as it goes, this is inadequate in describing what the beatitude means.

Jesus was a peacemaker; in Isaiah 9:6, He is titled "Prince of Peace." Here, however, an apparent contradiction appears. We might think that, if anyone could successfully mediate between warring parties, He could. If anyone could bring peace, perhaps even impose it, He could. But He did not. In fact, He says in Matthew 10:34-36, quoting Micah 7:6:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to "set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." And "a man's foes will be those of his own household."

Nonetheless, Jesus is still our model; His life is the pattern ours should follow. Paul writes in Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Undoubtedly, Jesus did this, but it did not produce peace at that time. Some perceived His life, popularity, and words as so threatening that they put Him to death. Some were moved to jealousy while others, enraged, incited the populace against Him to sway Pilate's judgment. His life, death, and resurrection, however, enabled Him to be the instrument of our peace with God and each other by qualifying Him as the payment for sin and High Priest to mediate for us before the Father.

The following verses add several necessary elements:

» I John 2:2: And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
» Romans 3:25-26: [Jesus,] whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
» Hebrews 5:9-10: And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek."
» Ephesians 2:14-18: For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

As a human, Jesus of Nazareth certainly had more success mediating between disputing parties than we ever will under similar circumstances. Even though His life created conflict and hostility in others, it did not stop Him from living the life of a peacemaker so that He could become a real Peacemaker upon His resurrection as Savior and High Priest. The life He lived as a man cannot be separated from what He became. It is the model of the kind of peacemaking Jesus intends in the Beatitude.

Peacemaking involves not only mediating but also everything the person is, his attitude and character as well as what he intends to accomplish. Peacemaking is a package dominated by the godliness of the person. Thus, Paul says in Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Matthew 5:9

Most of us are not at all adept at reconciling warring parties, but that is not the kind of peacemaking Jesus is concerned about for us now. His idea of peacemaking revolves around the way we live. It was Adam and Eve's conduct that shattered the peace between man and God. Cain's conduct broke the peace between him and Abel and him and God. As it is with all of us, conduct makes or breaks the peace!

As mentioned earlier, Paul commands us, "As much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18), an arduous task at times, considering human personalities. The thrust of Paul's exhortation implies that, far from being a simple task, complying with it will call upon our constant vigilance, self-control, and earnest prayer.

Though human nature guarantees that peace-breaking "offenses must come," it is part of Christian duty to ensure that our conduct produces no just cause of complaint against us (Matthew 18:7). It is first for our own peace that we do so, for it is impossible to be happy while involved in arguments and warfare. Some Christians are more competitive and contentious than others, and they need to beg God doubly for the spiritual strength to restrain their pride and anger and to calm them. Paul warns, "'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). Though pride may be at the base of contention, rising anger within one or the other person in a dispute is frequently the first sign that the peace is about to be broken. Paul's warning is necessary because anger is so difficult to check and equally difficult to let go completely before the peace is broken, and bitter and persistent hatred soon replaces the anger.

Paul quotes the first phrase of this verse from Psalm 4:4, then modifies the second phrase to give it a more immediate and practical application. "Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord" (Psalm 4:4-5). This is exactly the course Jesus follows when taunted and vilified by those whose ire He had aroused. Notice Peter's testimony:

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. (I Peter 2:21-23)

If we follow Christ's example, the one reviling or threatening soon finds himself without an opponent. God, then, advises us to be passive in the face of contention. In the Kingdom, however, we will likely be a great deal more proactive, just as Christ is now as our High Priest. He will be even more active when He comes as King of kings to fight against the nations and establish His peace.

Since it is true that "blessed are the peacemakers," it logically follows that God curses peace-breakers, a fact all who desire to be peacemakers must keep in mind. Contention produces the curse of disunity. When Adam and Eve sinned, both unity and peace were shattered, and God sentenced them to death. Regardless of the justification, it is impossible for sin to produce either godly peace or unity. It is therefore urgent that we be diligent not merely to guard against the more obvious forms of sin but also bigotry, intemperate zeal, judging, impatience, and a quarrelsome spirit, which provide a basis for Paul's counsel in Romans 14:19.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Matthew 5:9

Jesus says that peacemakers "shall be called sons of God." Once we understand the Bible's usage of the words "sons" and "children," we can easily see that this beatitude does not apply to worldly people. Both "sons" and "children" not only describe those who are literal descendents, but also those who show the characteristics of a predecessor who is not necessarily a biological ancestor. For instance, in John 8:38, 41, 44, Jesus tells the Jews that Satan is their father. Their attitudes and conduct revealed who their true spiritual father was; they were in Satan's image. Those who fit the Matthew 5:9 description of godly peacemakers reveal that they are in the image and likeness of God!

As Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, God is called the God of peace (Hebrews 13:20). When we add the thought of Hebrews 2:11, interesting ramifications concerning us surface: "For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren." If indeed we are His children and therefore united in the spiritual body of Christ, we will show the same peaceable disposition of the One who is the Head. Thus He has no shame in calling us brethren. Through us, His characteristics are being manifested to the church and to the world.

Peacemaking is more complex and involved than it first appears because it entails the way we live all of life. This produces peace both passively and actively: passively, because we are not a cause of disruption, and actively, because we create peace by drawing others to emulate our example and by them seeking for the tranquillity and pleasure we have as a result. Though a Christian has little or no control over others in mediating peace between disputing parties, this should not deter him from living the peacemaking way. It is the way a person lives that will prepare him to be a much more active and authoritative peacemaker in the World Tomorrow when Christ returns. Peacemaking is indeed a high standard and a worthy vocation, yielding a wonderful reward that is worth bending our every effort to submit to God and seek His glorification.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Matthew 5:23-24

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only place where "reconciled" is used in Scripture. It just means to have peace with one's brother. God wants us to have peace with one another. We should not attempt to bring our offerings before God when at odds with our brethren.

We do not bring physical offerings today, like burnt offerings. However, we do bring Him prayers. Before we come to Him with our prayers, beseeching His good will, we should make amends with our offended brothers. Go to the estranged friend and settle the matter.

The very essence of God is love. He epitomizes outgoing concern for others; this is what love is all about. Thus, we have to make changes in our lives to conform to God's standard so that our prayers will be fully accepted by Him. God expects us to reflect His love in everything we do. And He wants peace.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Don't Take God for Granted


 

Matthew 6:12

Jesus compares our sins to debts. We have violated our obligation of being obedient to God, and this exposes us to the penalty that results from that violation. To teach us the lesson of forgiveness, God bases how He forgives us by the forgiveness we extend to others!

Those who come before Him unwilling to forgive others cannot expect God to show them the love and mercy they desire. God will not show them the mercy and love they will not extend to others! If we forgive others when they injure us, our Father will forgive us.

How are we to conduct ourselves in forgiving others? We must forgive, even if the offender does not ask to be forgiven. We should treat the one who has injured or offended us with kindness, not harboring any grudge or speaking of that individual condemningly. We should always be ready to do him good if the opportunity arises. This is a tall order!

Why act this way when it goes so strongly against human nature? First, it produces peace. Second, it sets the example for the offending individual—and for everyone else—of what God considers right and proper.

Does forgiveness of a person fighting a recurring problem mean that we should place complete trust in him in the area of his problem? With many problems—poor money handling, gossip, lying, stealing, and sexual sins, to name a few—we need to see a track record of overcoming before considering him trustworthy, but we can still be understanding, forgiving, and encouraging.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Forgiveness


 

Matthew 9:25

Not wanting to cast His pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6) or to make a spectacle in front of unbelievers (Matthew 13:58), Jesus expels all but the girl's parents. By clearing the room of an excessively noisy, grieving crowd, He brings privacy, peace, quiet, and stillness to the situation.

In addition, these neighbors and curiosity seekers had already seen His mighty works, and He does not want God's gift to be considered mere entertainment. He never meant His miracles to coerce belief or amaze humanity. Nevertheless, He is quick to intervene when misery and suffering need to be relieved and people need to be exposed to God's glory.

Jesus resurrects Jairus' daughter in the presence of five appropriate witnesses: the father, mother, and only three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John. To establish the miracle's veracity, He uses two unconverted people and three who were being converted (Deuteronomy 19:15; II Corinthians 13:1).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Resurrecting Jairus' Daughter


 

Matthew 20:25-28

Meekness, a tolerant, yielding spirit, represents having the right of way but not insisting on it. Jesus Christ sets the tone of this approach in His discussion with the sons of Zebedee and the other disciples. Many have looked upon meekness, lowliness of spirit, or the willingness to yield, with suspicion and perhaps even loathing. Meekness—or its common perception—may seem too much like weakness, wimpiness, or timidity.

Some have taken Matthew 7:29 out of context to sanction a pompous, brittle, authoritarian approach, stating Jesus "taught . . . as one who had authority, and not as the scribes." Such people assume that this gives license to higher decibels and dogmatic manhandling of the audience, but they seriously misunderstand its intended meaning. Jesus could speak with authority because He possessed an unlimited reservoir of experience. He personified the Word of God, while the scribes and Pharisees could only quibble about the bits and pieces they had studied. Even though Jesus spoke with authority, the Gospels show His manner to be peaceable and yielding in most situations.

David F. Maas
Servant Leadership: Practical Meekness


 

Luke 2:11-14

The title "Christ the Lord" would probably have been said as "Messiah Adonai" in the Aramaic that these shepherds spoke. This is a not-so-subtle intimation that this newborn child was not only the promised Messiah, but also the One known as "the Lord" in the Old Testament. The angel is not merely announcing the birth of a special baby in Bethlehem but that God had been born as a human being (Matthew 1:23; John 1:14)!

In verses 13-14, Luke writes: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" Here appears another BOOM! in the evangelist's narrative. Suddenly, there was not just one angel in the glory of the Lord, but a whole host of them all around the quivering shepherds. Not only were they visible, they were singing as only angels can, praising God. Their presence heightens the importance of the announcement.

The angels are obviously overjoyed that this greatly anticipated event in God's plan had finally taken place. Another huge step in God's purpose had been accomplished. Note, too, that this was not just a small, heavenly choir but the heavenly host that appeared in full force. God's vast army came to add their voices to the announcement that their great Captain had just been born!

The hymn they sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" requires some explanation. Glory is the Greek word dóxa, which means "praise, recognition, honor, worship"—the height of reverence and adulation that we could give or say to God. "In the highest" is a somewhat controversial phrase in that, as a superlative, it could modify either "glory" or "God." Thus, it could refer to the highest glory or the highest God (or even God in the highest heaven). There is a possibility that in the Aramaic, the words the angels sang may have been "Glory to the Most High God," since that is a common title of God in the Old Testament.

They also sing of peace on earth. One of Christ's titles is "The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6), and He who had just been born would eventually bring peace on earth. He would do it first through His sacrifice, making peace between God and sinful man (Romans 5:1), and later He would return in glory, bringing peace to the earth with the sword (Revelation 19:11-21). He will have to impose peace at His second coming, but once He does, the earth will have real peace. Only through the birth of God's Son in Bethlehem could the process of bringing true peace to the earth begin.

The final words in the angels' song are "goodwill toward men," a long-disputed phrase. However, most modern experts in Greek agree that the whole clause should be translated, "Peace on earth among men of His good pleasure." This implies that God was bringing peace and joy especially and specifically to those to whom He had granted favor or extended grace.

During the Passover sermon Jesus gave His disciples, He says, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). His disciples, numbering a mere 120 (Acts 1:15), were the only ones who could really experience peace because they comprised the extent of those with whom God had found favor. Yet, within days, thousands more had been converted, and God's peace began to expand. Real peace, a fruit of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:22), can only be produced in those in whom God's Spirit dwells (Romans 8:14). Right now, members of God's church are the only people on earth who can really have godly peace on earth because "unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given" (Isaiah 9:6).

We are the "men of His good pleasure." Jesus tells His disciples in Luke 12:32: "Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are the ones who have this favor from God. The angels' song is a declaration to us that God is with us, just as He was with Mary when He overshadowed her (Luke 1:35). As spiritual Israel and spiritual Zion, we are the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:9-10; Zechariah 2:7-8), and He will do all He can to bring us to salvation and into His Kingdom.

These passages mean so much more than what we usually see in a Christmas pageant, a nativity scene out on the town common, or hear in a catchy jingle. What we see in these announcements are elements of the way God works, and they should strengthen our faith in Him and what He is doing. They should solidify our hope in the resurrection because, not only did the Father bring His Son into the world just as prophesied, but He also guided Jesus through a perfect human lifetime to His sacrificial death for us all, resurrecting Him from the grave exactly three days and three nights later, as Jesus had said was the only sign of His Messiahship (John 2:18-22).

That glorious Holy One ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God as our High Priest. He is the Head of the church and our soon-coming King. He promises us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5), as well as, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3). He now awaits the word from His Father to return to this earth to set up His Kingdom. What great confidence we can have that all this will happen as planned, and we will be part of it!

As the angels sang to the shepherds in the field, "Glory to the Most High God and peace on earth among those He favors!"

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Birth of Jesus Christ (Part Two): Nativity


 

Luke 7:49

Simon's guests are surprised to hear Jesus taking on the divine prerogative to forgive sin (see Luke 5:20-25). He says that it is her faith that brought forgiveness—not her tears, kisses, or ointment. His last comment to her is "Go in peace" or "Go into peace." She receives Christ's command to enjoy that peace and live in the full realization of the peace that passes all understanding.

We are all debtors in the sight of our just Creditor. All have sinned, so none of us has a way to discharge our debt on our own (Romans 3:23). Christ can forgive all who truly repent of their sins and turn to Him in faith (Acts 13:38-41). Through His willingness to take our debt and blot it out with His own blood, we receive the remission of our sins. Once freed from sin's oppressive debt, we must show our gratitude to Him by living in holiness and loving service to others, glorifying Him in a life of righteousness (II Peter 1:2-4).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Debtors


 

John 14:27

His use of "heart" reveals that the peace in which He is involved while we are in this world is a state of mind. John 16:33 confirms this: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

John 14:27

God's peace is a deep, spiritual peace unaffected by the world (Romans 8:6-9). We can have this peace, if we truly trust in God's redemptive plan for mankind, are striving to produce His character and are obedient to His Word.

Martin G. Collins
Peace


 

John 16:33

How glorious it would be to be free of the burdens of living in this dangerous, unstable, violent world, but as sons of God such is not our lot in life. God has called us to a life that runs counter to much of this world's practices and attitudes. As such, we are caught not only in general events and circumstances generated in the world, but also when we directly irritate and anger those close to us by determinedly following God's way.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

John 17:11

We become caught in and must endure this world's wars, economic swings, prejudices, social unrest, natural disasters, and accidents. We are exposed to the same diseases as everybody else. All these can and do strike us with fear and trouble our hearts, destroying peace. In this world it is very easy to anticipate that a disaster can occur at any moment.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

John 17:14

Jesus addresses the source of the more personal persecutions that threaten our peace. The carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7), and we can feel this hatred to a potentially terrifying degree when it is aimed directly at us. Throughout history, this sort of peace-shattering disturbance has produced job losses, divided families, uprooted lives in fleeing, imprisonment for those caught (Acts 9:1-2; 12:3-4), and for some martyrdom (Acts 7:54-60; 12:1-2).

Jesus says we can have peace through these kinds of experiences because He can give it to us. When He said this, He was not introducing a new idea. As part of the "blessings and curses chapter," Leviticus 26:6 shows that God is the ultimate source of peace, and He will give it upon our meeting the condition of obeying His commandments:

I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.

Here, peace is a quality of life He can give even as he gives rain in due season. Leviticus 26 emphasizes material prosperity as God's blessing to Israel. Peace is necessary for the material prosperity of a nation. War may be the ultimate distraction from accomplishing anything positive; it is catastrophically debilitating to every area of life. Not only can it break a nation economically, but also warp its people psychologically and destroy its social structure, infrastructure, and spirit.

Should we think that peace is no less necessary to spiritual prosperity? Is it possible for us to grow into the image of God when distracted by conflict and the anxieties and troubles it produces? Even if the conflict is not directly ours, it adversely affects our ability to live God's way of life. This is why the apostle Paul counsels us as he does in I Timothy 2:1-2:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Conflict promotes self-centeredness, virtually forcing us to flee, defend ourselves or attack the other to maintain or establish a measure of control. It can also cause us to detour permanently from what we were trying to accomplish.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

Acts 14:22

"Tribulations" brings thoughts of trouble, anxiety, fear, and doubt. However, Paul writes in Romans 5:3-5 that those who have peace with God and access to Him

. . . glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which was given to us.

This peace is not a kind of secular contentment that men can find by lowering their standards and expectations. It is both a gift from God to those reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ and a product of the Holy Spirit in us as we grow in a continuing, trustful relationship through the daily affairs of our life.

The Christian's outlook on life can be entirely different from those in the world, untroubled by the calamity they see all around them. This does not mean that the Christian's peace is a sort of magic or that he ignores the seriousness of the situation. Nor does it mean that the Christian achieves this wonderful quality instantly or that it is always constant. However, it is always available through faith because he has access to the Sovereign, Almighty God. He always has everything under control and is filled with love and wisdom that He is willing to use for our benefit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

Romans 5:1-2

These verses follow a long section on justification by faith. Paul concludes chapter 4 with the fact that Christ's resurrection was God's evidence that Christ's work was accepted and thus ensures our justification.

The word "therefore" at the beginning of chapter 5 shows that the immediate benefit of justification is that we have peace with God. This is justification by faith's practical influence on the lives of those justified. Paul says in Romans 8:6-7:

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

This plainly states that the sinner is the enemy of God, and the state of a sinner's mind is far from peace. It is at war, and his sinning proves the warfare, the rebellion in his mind. He is often agitated, alarmed, and trembling and feels alienated from God. God is not in all his thoughts (Psalm 10:4, KJV). Isaiah 57:20-21 explains:

But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."

The sinner trembles when he thinks of God's law. He fears His judgments and is alarmed when he considers hell. But as God moves a person toward conversion, He reveals His willingness to be reconciled through His Son's sacrifice. Through faith and repentance, the obstacles arising from God's justice and law disappear, and He is willing to pardon and be at peace. When the sinner embraces it, this process produces peace of mind, a peace the world cannot give or take away because the world is powerless over sin. This peace is a work, a product, of the Spirit of God by which the sinner has been called and led to this point.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

Romans 5:1

Here, peace undoubtedly means a cessation of hostilities, a tranquillity of mind, where formerly a state of almost continual agitation had existed because of the carnal mind's innate hostility toward God and His law. These last several verses take note of the horrible contention and enmity that sin causes, for where there is no strife, there is no need for a peacemaker. All of us, however, were at war with God; Titus 3:3 catches all of us within its scope: "For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another." Before conversion, we each needed a peacemaker to mediate and make reconciliation for us.

What is missing from verses like Titus 3:3 is that they do not show how tenaciously human nature clings to our attitudes and behavior, providing a constant challenge to maintaining peace with God and others. Paul vividly describes his battle with it in Roman 7, and numerous other exhortations encourage us to employ self-control and love for God and the brethren. This leads us to understand that peacemaking involves more than mediating between disputing parties. Peacemaking is a constant responsibility. Its achievement is possible but more difficult than it first seems because many factors - both from within and without - challenge us in maintaining it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Romans 10:15

The gospel to which God converts us contains good news of peace, and Isaiah describes the feet of the bearers of this message to the troubled as "beautiful."

"Peace" signifies any kind of good produced by the gospel. It is the good news of reconciliation and the end of the conflicts, distresses, and woes of our warfare. No wonder the means of locomotion to get this message to distressed and anxiety-ridden people—by foot, as it was delivered in Isaiah's time—is described as beautiful! Of course, this does not mean conflict and trouble immediately end. The gospel is prophetic, and salvation in its broad terms is an unfolding process. Peace describes the benefits that come when we cease to be an enemy of God, since, until that happens, peace is not a major part of our lives. It should be and will be, and we are preparing to be part of bringing it in its fullness (Isaiah 9:7).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Romans 12:8

God has called us to peace. He expects us to keep His commandments, and in return He gives us peace of mind. "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7). Sin separates man from God, causing a confrontational relationship with Him whereby man receives His wrath. This is anything but peaceful! Peace leads to more peace, washing away strife and fear as a river sweeps away debris.

Martin G. Collins
Peace


 

Romans 12:14

At the very least, Paul derived this from the example of Christ, who submitted to wicked and corrupt officials and authorities. Jesus had every right to rebel. He was completely innocent and had done nothing wrong—nothing of which He was accused had been part of His conduct. However, He had every intention of doing the right thing, and He carried through with it.

The true Christian consciously chooses to suffer evil rather than do evil because it would be wrong to do anything other than what Christ did. He set the example. He is the archetype; He is the One who goes before. The Christian is not a masochist, but by faith, he takes steps to prevent war. He does this because he recognizes that two wrongs do not make a right. Just because someone abuses authority does not give him the right from God to fail to submit to it. This is why there is never any real thought to war. Somebody gets into power and abuses his authority, and those who are under him react carnally and retaliate to get back at the one in authority—and the cycle never ends!

Will there ever be peace? There will be peace when people submit to God, and that means submitting to His way. If everybody would submit to God's way, war would stop overnight—that would be the end! But men will not submit to God (Romans 8:7). A major principle we are to learn in this life is to submit under duress, under abuse—when the pressure is on and the desire to retaliate is strongest. We have to learn not to justify our retaliation by saying, "He made me do it—the Devil made me do it!" All the ways of man are right in his own eyes (Proverbs 14:12).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 1)


 

Romans 14:19

This seems so obvious that it need not be said, but God includes it in His Word because Christians within the church do not hold in check some of the very things that cause so much disunity in this world. The apostle entreats us to lay aside the causes of contention so we can live in harmony.

Sometimes we do not understand how competitive human nature is. It is proud. It feels it has to win, be vindicated, and if possible, elevated over others. These attitudes do not make peace. Rather than pursuing the things that cause contention, Paul says, pursue the things that cause peace. It is a Christian's responsibility, part of his vocation. Emphasizing the positive is an incomplete, but nonetheless fairly accurate, description of what can be done.

Solomon writes in Proverbs 13:10, "By pride comes only contention, but with the well-advised is wisdom." Contention divides. Much of the strife and disunity in the church is promoted by those who seem bent on "majoring in the minors." This is the overall subject of Romans 14. Church members were becoming "bent out of shape" over things that irritated them but had little or nothing to do with salvation. They blew these irritants out of proportion to their real importance, creating disruption in the congregation.

Essentially, Paul tells these people to change their focus, to turn the direction of their thinking, because we agree on far more that is of real, major importance to salvation than what we disagree on. If we will cooperate on these major things rather than on private ends and prejudices, peace and unity will tend to emerge rather than strife and disunity. Paul further admonishes the irritated members to have faith in God's power to change the other: "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4).

Why can we not cultivate a spirit of peace by striving for holiness? Holiness is a major issue leading to preparation for God's Kingdom and salvation. Peace is one of its fruits. Why can we not show love for the brethren and strive to do good for them "as we have opportunity, . . . especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10)? Why can we not spend more serious time studying God's Word, getting to know Him? These admirable pursuits are humbling and serving. They produce peace and put other, less important matters into a proper perspective and priority. If pursued sincerely, they keep the "minors" right where they belong because they tend to erode one's pride.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Galatians 5:22-24

These qualities are aspects of God's character that we all need to have and use:

Love: Outgoing concern for others. True concern for all of mankind. Not being self-centered. Doing for others what is right, despite their character, appearance, social status, etc. (I Corinthians 13).

Joy: Related to happiness, only happiness requires right circumstances where joy does not. Jesus Christ felt joy though He faced heavy trials (Hebrews 12:2). We should all be joyful having been called by God.

Peace: Peace of mind and peace with God (Philippians 4:6-7).

Longsuffering: Bearing with others who are working out their salvation. Being slow to anger (Romans 15:1; Luke 21:19).

Kindness: Behaving toward others kindly, as God has behaved toward us (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Goodness: Generosity of spirit that springs from imitating Jesus Christ (Psalm 33:4-5).

Faithfulness: Being reliable. This describes a person who is trustworthy and will always stand up for God's way. We can count on, and should work at imitating, the faithfulness of God (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5).

Gentleness: Considerate and tactful in conduct and correction. Never angry at the wrong time (Matthew 5:22-24; Ephesians 4:26).

Self-Control: Discipline which gives us victory over the wrong pulls of our mind and body (I John 2:15-17).

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Time for Self-Evaluation


 

Galatians 5:22-23

Paul names nine qualities. This divides neatly into three general groups, each consisting of three qualities. Of course, we can expect some overlapping of application between the groups, but generally the first group—love, joy, and peace—portrays a Christian's mind in its most general aspect with special emphasis on one's relationship with God. The second group—longsuffering (patience), kindness, and goodness—contains social virtues relating to our thoughts and actions toward fellow man. The final group—faithfulness (fidelity), gentleness, and self-control—reveals how a Christian should be in himself with overtones of his spiritual and moral reliability.

Each of these virtues is a quality we should greatly desire, for without them, we cannot rightly reflect the mind and way of God. The fruit of the Spirit reflects the virtues God would manifest before mankind. Indeed, when Jesus became a man, it was by his life He glorified our Father in heaven. God, of course, is far more than this brief listing describes. But seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness by yielding to His Word will produce these characteristics of God in us. Then, as we become like Christ, we will, like Him, glorify God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

Ephesians 2:10-18

In verse 15, Paul says that God "create[s] in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace." The apostle defines what these "two" are in verse 11: "Therefore, remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh - who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands. . . ." The two, Gentiles and Israelites, share one Spirit in Christ, "who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us" (verse 14). Whether physically Gentile or Israelite, those who have "put on the new man" have one Spirit, God's Holy Spirit.

Charles Whitaker
Choosing the New Man (Part Two)


 

Philippians 2:1-5

The Philippian congregation was generally a wonderful group of people. Many different commentaries state that of all the groups that Paul wrote to, Phillipi was probably the best of them all. However, Paul was writing to these people with some measure of sadness because two ladies were feuding, and it was inexorably dividing the group into rival camps. In this section, the apostle is spelling out our Christian responsibility.

Notice that nowhere in the entire epistle to the Phillipians does Paul tell them, "Don't come to church." He did not say, "Split away by yourself." That is what is happening in the greater church. Paul did not say, "Just go sit in your living room." That is not an option with God. He tells us here that we have to look to and seek higher things. He says to let our conduct be worthy of the gospel that we say that we believe.

How far did Jesus Christ go to make peace? To the death! He did not allow the hostility of the world against Him to justify hostility against those who were mistreating Him.

We should not be misled by the word "if" in verse 1. Paul is not stating a "maybe." He is stating an absolute fact. That word "if" is better understood as "since": "Since there are these things in you because of God's Spirit, sacrifice yourself. Make my joy complete and use them." What are we to use? Love, fellowship of the spirit, bowels and mercies. "Fulfil you my joy, that you be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

Because of God's calling, because He granted us repentance and gave us His Spirit, we have already been enabled by His Spirit to use these things to make peace, to be of one accord, to be of one mind. "The mark of the beast" can be overcome by God's Spirit in us, but we must sacrifice ourselves to use it. It is already there. Thus, Paul is saying, "Use God's love in you, and be of one mind. Quit fighting with each other to gain the upper hand. Consider the other person better than you, and serve him by looking out for his interest."

When he says, "Let this mind be in you," what he literally says in the Greek is, "Keep thinking like this." How? As Jesus Christ has already shown us. He is saying, "Don't let your mind be drawn toward what you consider to be the cause of the offense." Or, "Don't dwell upon those things."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Spiritual Mark of the Beast


 

Philippians 4:5

The New King James translates this literally. The margin, however, reads: "Let your forbearance or graciousness be known to all men." Let it shine. Why? "The Lord is at hand."

This is a Book written to us! We are coming upon the absolute worst time in human history, and Paul left us a note from nearly two thousand years ago, telling us that this time, as it was in the days of Noah, is the time to exhibit forbearance to all men. Forbearance should be on the top of our list of virtues that we want to include in our character. We should let our gentleness, graciousness, forbearance be known to all men, especially at the end. Squabbles, fights, and offenses only make things that much worse in this terrible era of human history.

Among us there should be peace and unity. If anyone is to be seen showing love and forbearance for one another, it should be God's church - and lately, in the past decade, we have failed the forbearance test. It does not mean we must put up with evil for long, but that we give others a chance to change. If they fail to change, then matters must be worked out so that there will be peace. But we have to start with forbearance.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

Philippians 4:6-9

God gives His peace to those of a pure or righteous heart and mind. The transition from Old to New Testament usage of "peace" strikingly illustrates its personal, internal application: Out of about 90 New Testament instances, 90% refer to heartfelt peace.

Martin G. Collins
Peace


 

Hebrews 7:1-3

Since God names individuals what they are, that, then is what this man is: "King of Righteousness."

Think of it! King of Righteousness.

Jesus Himself said: "There is none good but one, that is, God" (Matthew 19:17). Human self-righteousness is, before God, as filthy rags. None can be righteous but God—or one made righteous by God's power—Christ in a person! And certainly none but One of the God Family—the divine Kingdom of God—would be King of Righteousness. Such an expression, applied to any but God, would be blasphemous. Why?

Righteousness is obedience to God's law. Since God made all laws (James 4:12), He is Supreme Ruler or King. He determines what righteousness is. "All thy commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119:172). When speaking of one of the points of that law, Jesus placed Himself superior to it. He is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). No man is Lord or King over God's law. Only God could be! All human beings have sinned and broken that law of righteousness (Romans 3:23).

To continue with Hebrews 7. Note, too, that this man was King of peace. "Salem," from which Jerusalem was named, means "peace." And remember, Jesus is called the Prince of peace! No human being could be King of Peace. Men know not the way of peace. Read Romans 3:10 and 17: "There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . And the way of peace have they not known."

Observe further: Melchizedek was "without mother, without father, without descent," or as the Phillips translation renders it: "He had no father or mother and no family tree." He was not born as human beings are. He was without father and mother. This does not mean that Melchizedek's records of birth were lost. Without such records human priests could not serve (Ezra 2:62). But here Melchizedek had no genealogy. He must not have been an ordinary mortal. He had no descent or pedigree from another, but was self-existent. Notice Paul's own inspired interpretation of this fact: "Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (Hebrews 7:3). Therefore He has always existed from eternity! He was not even created, like angels. But He is now eternally self-existing. And that is true only of GOD deity, not humanity!

Yet Melchizedek cannot be God the Father. He was the "priest of that Most High God." Scripture says no man has ever seen the Father (John 1:18, 5:37), but Abraham saw Melchizedek. He cannot be God the Father, but rather, "made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually" (Hebrews 7:3).

And there it is! In the days of Abraham, He was not the Son of God, for He had not yet been born of the virgin Mary but He was made like unto the Son of God in His manifestation to the ancients.

Notice again: Melchizedek, this scripture reveals, abides that is, remains permanently, continually, a priest. God the Father is not the Priest of God, but Christ the Son is! Yet, in the days when the Apostle Paul lived and wrote, shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven as High Priest, the scripture states that even then Melchizedek "abideth"—which means does now abide—"a priest continually." The Moffatt translation states it: "continues to be priest permanently" even while Jesus Christ is High Priest!

And notice that the order of Christ's Priesthood is named after Melchizedek. It is the High Priest's name that is placed upon an order just as Aaron's name was upon the Aaronic priesthood. Thus Melchizedek was then High Priest, in Paul's day, and even now, and He will rule forever! And at the same time Christ was, is today, and shall be forever High Priest!

Are there two High Priests? No! Impossible! The conclusion is inescapable. Contrary to many cherished man-thought-out ideas, Melchizedek and Christ are one and the same! Some people have stumbled on the statement that Melchizedek has no "end of life." They contend that since Christ died, He had an end of life! If that be true then Christ is still dead! But Christ is not dead. He is alive. It was not possible for Christ to be held by death (Acts 2:24). Melchizedek would never have fulfilled His office of High Priest if He had not died for the sins of the people and risen again. It is the function of the High Priest to lead the way to salvation.

Indeed, Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our salvation (Hebrews 5:9; 12:2). He is "called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 5:10).

And no wonder. Melchizedek and Christ are one and the same Person!

Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)
The Mystery of Melchizedek Solved!


 

Hebrews 10:24-25

The New Testament stresses that Christians need the fellowship of others of like mind. An identifying mark of the true church is that the members have love for one another (John 13:35). Indeed, one of the criteria by which Christ will judge us is how we treat our brethren in the church (Matthew 25:31-46). How can we love and serve one another if we do not fellowship with and get to know each other?

God has given us ample instruction regarding how we should relate to other Christians. It is His purpose to teach us how to get along with each other so we can teach others about these things in the Millennium. We are to be unselfish and concerned for the needs of others (Philippians 2:4). God wants us to learn patience and forgiveness (Colossians 3:13), striving to be "kindly affectionate," humble, and self-effacing in our dealings with one another (Romans 12:10). We should be giving and hospitable to our brethren (verse 13).

The New Testament is replete with various admonitions on how we should interact with our brothers and sisters in the church. Obviously, God views our interaction with other Christians as vital to our training to become members of the God Family and qualifying for a position in His Kingdom. He wants us to develop interpersonal skills that equip us to deal with occasional differences of opinion and offenses.

Our fellowship should be a source of encouragement to one another. We should use this time to show love to our brethren and to motivate them to perform acts of kindness and service for others. All of these exhortations show a clear need for us to be part of an organization of God's people. God's Sabbath service is like a weekly training school for Christians. The spiritual food that God's true ministers prepare for us is vitally important for our spiritual growth and development. In discussing the relationship of the ministry to the church member, Paul explains that the ministry is given

for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13)

The interaction that we have with one another when we fellowship at church services helps us to develop the fruit of God's Spirit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Paul shows that the church is truly Christ's body, and like the human body, each part depends upon the other parts.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
For the Perfecting of the Saints


 

Hebrews 12:14

We are to pursue peace and holiness. We are to pursue peace because there is no peace. There is no peace because of the communication we have had with Satan. Humanity reflects his nature, and the earth is filled with violence. Peace must be pursued.

Likewise, we have to pursue holiness. The work of God on earth is to produce holiness in His children. Without that holiness in us, we will not see the Lord.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is Prayer?


 

James 3:16-18

Wisdom in the Bible has the same general meaning as the English word "skill." In this context, wisdom indicates proficiency, competence, or adeptness at living in such a way to produce the fruits of righteousness. Notice that this wisdom from above that reflects itself in the conduct of God's children is first pure. It is uncontaminated by any of the myriad aspects of carnal, self-centered human nature. It is not peace sought at the expense of righteousness. Hebrews 12:14 clearly says we are to "pursue peace with all men, and holiness." It is not either/or but both. We all need to avoid needless contentions, yet not to the point of sacrificing the truth, compromising principle, or forsaking duty.

This wisdom is also peaceable and, unlike the attitude of the highly competitive, willing to yield. That is, it is not irascible, contentious, angry, or bigoted—driving the wedges of separation deeper—but rather calming, gentle, and tranquil. The heavenly wisdom will accomplish this through a person, not because he is necessarily mediating, but simply because he is projecting the nature of God.

If we are indeed regenerated by God's Spirit, being at peace and making peace will be the rule in our lives. As to the actual mechanisms that we can use to make peace, room for some differences of opinion certainly exists. There can be no dispute, however, that the vocation of every Christian is to make peace primarily through what he himself is. Secondarily, we must strive to secure the conditions and relationships that will make good will, concord, and cooperation possible instead of hatred, strife, competition, and conflict.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

James 3:17-18

These two verses give direct and specific reasons why peace is such a great benefit toward spiritual prosperity.

"Wisdom" indicates influence of heavenly origin, that is, from God. Its effect on the mind is to make it pure and chaste, not more imaginative or intelligent. Its purpose is to make the person upright, inoffensive, and good, then peaceable, etc. It disposes a person to live at peace with others. By itself, it corroborates Jesus' statement that He is willing and able to give a peace unlike the world's, a state of being not native to man.

If a person is of a pure spirit, then peace tends to follow. First, this occurs because a pure-hearted person is at peace within himself. He is therefore not self-righteously, self-centeredly, and discontentedly seeking to impose his will and way on others to control their lives. Such a person will not induce conflict.

Second, they will follow Paul's advice, which he gave in two places. Romans 14:19 says, "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." Hebrews 12:14 adds, "Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." It is very difficult for people to have conflict with others who will not fight! This does not mean that we should make peace at any cost by denying truth. We can remain faithful to truth without going to war, though it might appear costly at the moment. Jesus—and many others—did it.

James goes on to say that this approach to life's relationships produces the fruit of righteousness. This phrase could mean that what is produced as a fruit is righteousness, but it can also mean the fruit that righteousness produces. The latter is preferable. The fruit of the Spirit is the fruit the Spirit produces. The fruit of repentance is the change repentance produces in one's manner of living and attitude. Some of the fruit of righteousness are the qualities James mentions in James 3:17. Righteousness is therefore the seed from which these things grow.

But a seed needs the proper conditions to germinate, grow, and produce fruit. Regardless of how good a seed is, if the conditions are not right, this process will be hindered, and it will bear poorly. The Parable of the Sower and Seed in Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 shows this clearly. Peace is the proper condition for the fruit of righteousness, and peacemakers are the green-thumbed gardeners. Growing a good crop demands the right conditions for good seed.

So important is peace to the Christian's spiritual prosperity that God will permit a marriage to be broken by divorce where there cannot be peace. I Corinthians 7:15 says: "But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace."

Divorce is usually preceded by a fairly long period of contention. It is warfare on a small scale. Living in an environment of warfare right in the home contributes little to growing in the image of the loving God of peace. It forces one to focus on himself, and at worst, it is entirely possible God will lose the person involved in such a contentious circumstance. At the very least, growth will be slow and minimal.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

James 3:18

For the seed which one day produces the reward which righteousness brings can only be sown when personal relationships are right and by those whose conduct produces such relationships. (James 3:18; William Barclay's Daily Bible Study)

In this verse, James is talking about a social situation. God's purpose - the fruit that He wants from His way of life, the kind of character that He wants in us - has to be produced in peace. It cannot be produced in war.

Why it cannot be produced in war is obvious. When one is involved in war, he is thinking only of himself, which runs 180 degrees counter to God's nature. God's nature is outgoing. When one is engaged in war, all one is seeking to do is to preserve the self. For God's purpose to be fulfilled to the very best degree, peace is required.

The seed, which one day produces the reward that righteousness brings, can only be sown when personal relationships are right, and by those whose conduct will produce such relationships.

Jesus says that peacemakers will be the children of God, not those who butt others aside, aggressively trying to get to the top, asserting themselves, their will, and their ideas in every circumstance, angling to be the big shot. "Out of my way, buddy. That is my beat." Those people, by implication, will not see God.

This is why God will permit a divorce. Does He not say through Paul in I Corinthians 7:15, "If the unbeliever departs, let him depart"? The believer "is not under bondage in such cases" because "God has called us to peace." God will permit a divorce so that a person can be saved due to the subsequent peace. In a family in which a war rages between a husband and wife, it is possible that God may lose both of them.

When those who butt and disturb the flock are present, the flock will not prosper. The shepherd has to ensure that there is peace, freedom from fear from the outside, freedom from tension within, and freedom from aggravation. (We even use the term "bug," which is what insects do to sheep: They irritate them to no end so they cannot gain weight and are discontented.) The shepherd must also make sure there is freedom from hunger - a congregation, a flock, will prosper if it is being well-fed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 1)


 

1 John 4:20

We cannot be right with God unless we are also right with men. Make peace quickly; do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26). Hatred is sin, and sin separates us from God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment (Part One) (1997)


 

Jude 1:2

Jude wishes upon his readers specific blessings. His salutation is not the same as the apostle Paul and some of the other writers used. He specifically chooses "mercy, peace, and love," as all three are vital in times of apostasy.

He asks for mercy because they probably needed to repent. His whole reason for writing the epistle stems from the fact that they had begun to get lax, allowing false teachers and false teachings in. They needed God's mercy as they began to repent.

He wishes them peace because, obviously, a major result of apostasy is war and division. Remember, his brother writes in James 3:18 that the fruits of righteousness are produced in peace, and these people were not producing the fruits of righteousness for two reasons: false teachings and war. Thus, they needed peace

Finally, he includes "love," the prime virtue. They needed love because it would take love to resolve this situation—and not just love for God but love for one another. This is the agape form of love, not just phileo— not just caring for one another but setting the mind to do God's will for each other and for God.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude


 

Revelation 20:7-10

After the thousand years of imprisonment, Satan will be released for a short while. During his parole, he will again unite some of the nations and take them to war against God's people. But this rebellion will be summarily ended when God sends fire out of heaven to destroy them. Because he is spirit and cannot die, the Devil will then be sentenced to eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. Finally, God and man will be rid of their chief enemy, and peace will flourish for all eternity!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Satan's Origin and Destiny


 

Find more Bible verses about Peace:
Peace {Nave's}
Peace {Torrey's}
 




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