The Peace of God

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

The above verse states a profound truth that if you have become a believer, you have peace with God. You are now reconciled unto God as sons and daughters. The subject we are going to study is "The Peace of God." This is the experiential peace that we possess (or should possess) after we have received salvation. If you have never received Christ as your personal Savior, you will never experience true peace, in any phase of the word. Below are three Scriptures which attest to this:

(Prov 28:1 KJV) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Isa 48:22 KJV) There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.

(Isa 57:21 KJV) There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

 

Although we do not like to think of ourselves as wicked, the fact is that in the eyes of God, anyone without Christ is just that. If you are saved, then the war is over between you and God and you have eternal peace with Him. Let us begin our study of how to have and maintain the peace of God. We will also discover some hindrances to this peace.

The word peace in the New Testament is the Greek word "eirene" which means "rest in contrast to strife." It also carries with it the meaning of a "state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being." In the Old Testament God revealed Himself to Gideon as Jehovah-Shalom which means "The Lord is peace."

(Judg 6:24 KJV) Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

In Philippians 4:7, Paul called it the "peace of God, which passeth all understanding."

(Phil 4:7 KJV) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

In John 14:27 our Lord tells us:

(John 14:27 KJV) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

At this juncture let us make a distinction between the peace the world offers and the peace which Christ gives.

 

Worldly Peace

Focuses on the physical aspect of our bodies. It is designed to give only temporary relief. Some of the ways it is accomplished are vacations, sleep, drugs, alcohol, sex, reading, sports activities, etc.

 

Peace of Christ

Focuses on the spiritual aspect of our lives. Spirituality has a definite effect upon our physical bodies. We will study that relationship later on. It is peace for our permanent well-being. Since Christ indwells us and He has stated that He will be with us till the end of the world, His peace will also remain with us. This peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit who indwells us unto the day of our redemption.

(Eph 4:30 KJV) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

(Gal 5:22 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

 

Inner peace is part of the inheritance of the Christian life. This peace comes from the God of peace Himself.

(Phil 4:9 KJV) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

It also flows from His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The entire trinity offers us a lasting indwelt peace for eternity which is available to us right now. The question arises that if the peace is available right now, then why are so many Christians void of this peace? There are a plethora of reasons for this lack of peace. We will only focus in on some of the major reasons for this.

(Heb 13:8 KJV) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

This verses tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ has not changed so we may conclude that it is us who changed and this has resulted in a lack of peace.

 

HINDRANCES TO THE PEACE OF GOD

Unconfessed Sin

(Prov 28:13 KJV) He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

The word "prosper" may also be translated "succeed." It is impossible to succeed in the Christian walk with unconfessed and cherished sin. If there is unconfessed sin in a Christian’s life, this will grieve the Holy Spirit.

(Eph 4:30 KJV) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

As Christians we must realize that we still possess bodies that desire sin and sometimes we yield to them. However, in 1 John 1:7 we read, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

This may be any type of sin consisting of word, thought, or deed. Any sin that is allowed to remain unconfessed will have a tendency to progress into a worse situation which may cause debilitating sicknesses such as anxiety or other serious diseases.

In the Old Testament before the priests could offer any sacrifice for the people of Israel, they were first required to make atonement for their own sin.

(Lev 16:6 KJV) And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

We are no different, even though our sins are forgiven us, we still need that daily cleansing. If you cannot pinpoint the sin which may be causing you to lose peace in your life, then ask the Lord to surface that sin so you may confess and repent of it. Then fellowship with God will be restored and you will experience the peace of God.

 

Willful Sinning

A willful sinner is one who deliberately sets out to violate the Word of God. A person will sin to attempt to meet their own needs independent of God. When we seek this path it always causes us trouble and heartache.

(1 Sam 15:23 KJV) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

One need not be a scholar to look through the Scriptures and see what God thinks of witchcraft and idolatry. Willful sinning ranks right up there with them. How can the peace of God dwell in a person when they live diametrically opposed to the Word of God? God cannot bless sin and neither does He look with favor on it whether you are Christian or not. There are too many Christians who presume upon the grace of God and try to live their lives by their emotions and feelings. It doesn’t work!

Willful sinning causes us to grieve the Holy Spirit as we saw in Ephesians 4:30. It also causes us to quench Him.

(1 Th 5:19 KJV) Quench not the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is an intimate part of our life and we must cease from grieving and quenching Him. Eventually our own spirit will feel cast down in us. If we continue in our sins then God may send a gentle reminder that we are to stop our willful sinning. If that doesn’t work, He will be forced to send stronger chastisement:

(Exo 4:11 KJV) And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

(Eccl 7:14 KJV) In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

(Lam 3:38 KJV) Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

God is a loving heavenly Father and takes no delight in chastising us but if we are like sheep and we stray, then we must expect a swipe from the Shepherd’s staff. The only way to regain the peace of God will be to forsake the sin, repent, and turn your face toward God and your back to then world. If you have a stronghold of sin in your life, God can free you from it but it may take time.

(2 Cor 10:4-5 KJV) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) {5} Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

If you have been programmed by sin for 10, 20, or more years, it will not be an overnight victory. Keep in mind at all times that the same power which raised Christ from the dead is working on your behalf to bring you back on the road to obedience. (Eph 1:19 KJV) "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,"

Always keep in mind that God sees the secret sins as well as the public sins. This should be great comfort to us because private sin can kill us and God is right there to help us out of every sin we get into. When one sins privately, they are fearful of others finding out and this is why private sin can be more painful than public sin.

 

Worrying and not Praying

When we face any kind of situation in our lives, we have a tendency to immediately worry. Many times we don’t even know why we are worrying because all the facts are not in. The sad fact is that we have been programmed to worry. When we became children of God, we received a partner for life who is willing to listen and to help in any crisis we face.

(Mat 28:20 KJV) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

However, even when we are aware of this fact, most of the time we choose to worry and seek worldly advice. It is unfortunate that many of God’s children view prayer as the last resort instead of the first. This situation is likened to a person who feels a headache coming on, suffers with it all day, and when it goes away, then take the aspirin. Absurd isn’t it, but that is exactly what we do.

(Isa 38:1-2 KJV) In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. {2} Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD,

Here we read that King Hezekiah was told by Isaiah that his death was imminent. Hezekiah immediately turned his face to the wall and prayed earnestly. He didn’t wait until it was too late. He prayed and God heard him, as a result he was granted fifteen more years of life. Worry is a sin! Worry is a way of disguising our doubt about God’s ability to handle the situation. Prayer is our relief and strength.

 

Focusing on the Circumstances and not God

Whether we like it or not, being a Christian does not exempt us from adverse circumstances. No adversity can enter our lives without God allowing it. All adversity is to be viewed as a learning experience to teach us that God is always with us as we go through the valley experience. There is no problem in our lives that God is unaware of or that He cannot handle. As typical humans we forget we are also spiritual creatures with the God of this universe as our personal savior and friend. When we focus on the problem, we block out the fact that God is waiting for us to come to Him. We put God on a shelf and then in case we can’t solve our problem we bring Him down from the shelf. Focusing on the circumstances also causes me to focus on myself and my own power to solve the problem. This method leads to deeper problems.

Keeping our eyes on God whether it be during prosperity or adversity will bring about that peace that passes all understanding. I would like to share two verses that point out how God goes with us regardless of what situation we are facing. The peace is knowing that God cares for the smallest details of our life, after all, we are His children and we are going to spend eternity together. Satan wants you to believe that God has forsaken you or that He hates you because of sin. This is not what the Bible teaches. Note the message of the following two verses:

(Isa 41:10 KJV) Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

(Isa 43:2 KJV) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

The key word in 43:2 is "when." This means that we will face adversity at some time in our life. How are we going to handle it? Will it be by us or by an omnipotent, caring, all wise heavenly Father?

 

Fear

The word fear in the New Testament is from the Greek word "phobeo." This word is used 63 times in the New Testament and may also be translated "dread or terror." There are many Christians who are living their life in fear. This fear could stem from worry about what others think of them or fear of witnessing, etc. A Christian who walks in fear is unknowingly manifesting a distrust in God. Fear also surfaces the fact that we are not walking as close to God as we should be. It also shows a severe lack of Bible study, as you may glean from the Scriptures the methods that God used in the lives of others. God will never send you to a job until He first prepares you for that task. Let me sum up this portion of our study with the following two verses:

(Psa 27:1 KJV) The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

(2 Tim 1:7 KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

The word "fear" in the above verse is the Greek word "phobos" which means "terror, fright, or dismay." We get our word "phobia" from it. It is used 47 times in the New Testament.

 

Not Waiting on the Lord

When a person becomes saved, at the beginning of their Christian life they are zealous to get started in some phase of the Lord’s work. This is a good attitude, but if you are not sure what you want to do, you can go from church to ministry to organization and never find your place. This can create an "I don’t fit in" feeling. Satan will be glad to confirm this thought so he can help defeat you at the beginning of your Christian walk. In every Christian’s life there is a training time or discipleship time to grow you up in foundational truths of the Christian life. All Christians will experience this and Bible characters have all had their training time also. Let me give you some examples from Scripture:

Moses - 40 Years

Paul - 17 Years

David - 17 Years

Joseph 13 Years

Jesus didn’t begin His earthly ministry until He was about 30 years of age. What one must do is a self-evaluation of where their talents lie, and the type of occupation they are in or would like to be in, also what strengths they posses which could be used in the Lord’s work. The Lord might want you to remain right where you are and be a witness to others around you. Jesus had only 3 1/2 years to preach His message and we never find Him rushing from place to place, or worrying if He was ever going to get the job done. Sometimes the Lord will just have us wait until He reveals our ministry to us. He will be setting up the circumstances and situation for you to fit right in. This waiting period does not mean that you do nothing while you are waiting, but you are to remain busy and live in your present situation to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)

(Psa 27:14 KJV) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

(Psa 62:5 KJV) My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

(Lam 3:25 KJV) The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

(Isa 40:31 KJV) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

 

How Do We View God

Have you been programmed to believe that God sits in heaven waiting for His children to do wrong so he could zap us? Hollywood has perverted the true view of God with sayings like "God will get you for that," and also portraying Him as sending down lightning bolts at the people. Do we have such a fear of God that we are afraid to do anything, that if we are wrong in what we are doing, God will take violent vengeful wrath upon us? In the Old Testament, when God commanded the leaders of Israel to destroy certain nations, it was for the purpose of keeping His people pure. Since the cross, God desires that we view Him in a different manner. This does not mean that He tolerates sin and is not holy, but we are to view Him differently in the manner of relationship.

(Rom 8:15 KJV) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Here we read that we now have a relationship to God that is so intimate that we may call Him "daddy." God desires our intimate fellowship with Him like a father does with his child on his lap. He is not an ogre, this type of thinking is straight from hell to divert us from knowing the true nature of God.

 

Living the Self Life

If two people get married with the expectation of what they can get out of it instead of what they can put into it, they are heading for disaster. It is the same with our relationship with God, if all we do is seek Him just to get things out of Him, then our personal relationship with Him is heading down the wrong path. No, you won’t lose your salvation but you will lose the peace of God. Always wanting to get something out of a relationship is a trait of someone living the self-life. When we are the central personality in our life, then we are considered living the self-life. The Bible sets forth a simple chronology of importance: Jesus Christ, others second, you last. The self-life is a trait of the old nature and must be mortified.

(Rom 6:12 KJV) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Selfishness and other self-centered traits are sinful and wage a great war against our spiritual nature.

If a person continues to live the self-life, they will be continually quenching the Holy Spirit. If a Christian becomes self-centered and remains that way, then God will begin to send messages to them, normally in the form of adversity. God knows how to get our attention and in just the right manner before we completely ruin our lives. The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. As you study this list and you find that you do not possess any of the fruits, then there is a good probability that you are living in rebellion to God and you may be unsaved.

We have reviewed some possibilities of why you are not possessing the peace of God. Now we will examine some of the ways in which you may have and maintain the peace of God.

 

HOW TO HAVE AND MAINTAIN THE PEACE OF GOD

(Psa 145:18 KJV) The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

This is a fact we must always keep in mind as we go on each day. Just as the song says, "He’s only a prayer away." The following principles do not constitute an exhaustive listing but are designed to help you see some of the major principles that are required in possessing the peace of God. Your relationship to God will improve, peace plus a victorious life will move in where fear and anxiety once dwelt.

 

A Steady Prayer Life

There is a special confidence we gain when we bring our prayers and petitions to the Lord. This is because he cares for us in an intimate way.

(1 Pet 5:6-7 KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: {7} Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Daniel prayed knowing it could mean his death, but nothing was going to impede his time with God.

(Dan 6:10 KJV) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

I suggest that you find a special place in your home where you go to meet God everyday. Jesus prayed early in the morning, hours before the day was still ahead of him.

(Mark 1:35 KJV) And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Prayer is our personal communication with God and no relationship can exist without communication. The prophet Samuel stated it was sin against the Lord not to pray. Neglecting your prayer life is to neglect God Himself.

(1 Sam 12:23 KJV) Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:

 

Living the Crucified Life

(Rom 6:11-12 KJV) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. {12} Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

These verses state that we are to put away all sins that cause a hindrance in your relationship with God. You know what sin you are toying with which is hindering your relationship with God. Anything that is accepted by the world system is normally in opposition to the teachings of Scripture. Living the crucified life requires self-control and denial. A person who is serious about living the crucified life seven days a week will do an introspection of their life and remove those things which hinder their Christian walk. Ask God to replace your worldly activities with Christ centered activities. Do a careful study of Romans 6-8 and see what is written about putting away our sinful habits.

 

Intense Bible Study

(Josh 1:8 KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

God instructed Joshua to meditate on the book of the law and not to turn from it to the right or the left. If we go through the book of Joshua, we would find that one of the characteristics that Joshua possessed was a triumphant spiritual life. Why? Because he read the word and obeyed it, right to the letter and he prospered. Ponder this for a minute, if Joshua was a valiant Christian with just five books of the Bible available to him, imagine how strong a Christian could be who has all 66 books of the Bible at their disposal. Bible study requires that you set aside some time each day, but this is not a chore rather it is an investment. Something Wall Street will never understand.

When one begins serious Bible study, the Holy Spirit will open their spiritual eyes wider than the Grand Canyon. Reading the Bible is good for the beginner but as you progress in your spiritual life, you need to go from the milk of the word to the meat of the word. Let me conclude this section with an analogy: If you go to a hospital for an operation, do you want a surgeon who reads or studies as well as you do? Would it mean your death or your recovery? Think about it.

 

Physical Involvement

Applying shoe leather to your biblical knowledge may be the most rewarding thing you do in your life. Helping others in their Christian walk or seeing souls become saved will be very gratifying:

(2 Cor 12:15 KJV) And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

Paul would not have minded to spend and be spent for all the people God would send him to. Age is no factor in applying yourself to the spread of the gospel. In Joshua 14:11 we read that Caleb was 85 years old and he was determined to pioneer the land of Hebron. There is no place in Scripture which speaks of a retired Christian. Retiring from your job does not mean you retire from being a Christian. Employment in an established Christian ministry may not be in God’s plan for you but full time Christianity is. If you would like to seek ministry work you may try visitation, office work in a mission, Bible study, etc.

 

Giving Tithes and Offerings

If for some reason you cannot get physically involved with Christian work, you may still play a large role in spreading the gospel by means of giving. One of the spiritual gifts is the gift of giving. These people live to give and may be the only ministry they have:

(3 John 1:8 KJV) We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

Care must be taken to select those ministries that are truly sending firth the gospel and furthering the cause of Christ. God makes wonderful promises to those who give with the right motive. Read and study the following portions of Scripture: Malachi 3:8-12; Luke 6;38; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. Let no one deceive you into believing that tithing is law because Abraham tithed to Melchizedek in Genesis 14;20 which was about 600 years before the law came into existence. Jacob also tithed before there was a law. (Gen 28:22 KJV) And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Tithing is the beginning point. If anyone tells you tithing is bondage, the truth is that they are in bondage to their own greed. Giving allows you to dissolve greed which may have been a sin of your old nature. Ninety per cent with God goes a lot farther than 100 per cent without God. Try it and you will see the faithfulness of God in action. Tithing is actually freedom not bondage, start giving and you will see what I mean.

 

Be Open to God’s Responses

Whenever you pray for something, keep in mind this principle, be ready to be part of the answer. Many times God answers our prayers in a different way than we expect. God knows how to answer our prayers according to our needs and because He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows how much we can handle at a certain time. If we keep our spiritual eyes open we will recognize His answers. Unfortunately, too many people rationalize an answer to prayer or a blessing as luck or something we had coming to us already. This is blasphemy because God owes us nothing and He can, at any time, take us out by any means He chooses. The key to hearing God’s responses is within the following verse:

(Prov 8:34 KJV) Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

 

Wait for God’s Responses

(Psa 62:5 KJV) My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

The 4 D’s of answered prayer are: Direct, Delayed, Denied, Disguised. Many of us who pray expect an answer to always be immediate. Instead of praying with the expectation that God will answer in His own timing. No matter what His answer may be, He is under no obligation to reveal to us the reason for answering our prayer in the manner that He did.

(Deu 29:29 KJV) The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

God is under no obligation to explain all His actions to us. However, you may be assured of one thing, that no matter what His timing or response is, it will always be to our best interest.

 

Be Ready to Act on God’s Responses

(Acts 16:9-10 KJV) And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. {10} And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

One of the best ways of maintaining a proper relationship with God is desiring to do His will and ready to act as soon as you know what it is. If a person has no intention of doing what the Lord wants, then they better not pray. If one is serious, then you will want to pray while you are sitting on the edge of your seat or with roller skates on. If God knows you are serious about doing His work, then He will use you but to what capacity, that is up to God. He will never send you to do a job unless He first prepares you for it. All He asks is for willingness to go where He sends you. If we delay, He may send someone else, then we will miss a golden opportunity to work close with God and miss out on an intimate working relationship with Him.

 

Realize Opposition Will Come

(1 Pet 5:8 KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

The godlier the life you lead, the more Satanic opposition you will face. This is a hard fact of the Christian life. There are demons who will try to defeat you in your Christian walk. If they succeed, then go right to the Lord, not away from Him. Never be afraid to approach the Lord Jesus Christ after a sinful or bad experience. He receives you back into fellowship, as a father receives a son after he was wrongly notified by the Army that his son was killed in action. To finalize this section, let me quote a great passage of Scripture.

(1 John 4:4 KJV) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Back