A friend of mine referred an expression to me that he felt was “great” and “worth passing on”, although neither of us is certain as to who originally coined the phrase, “No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.”
In this world of brokenness and angst, few will argue that there is very little peace to be found. With the mists of confusion that constantly swirl about us, attempting to obscure all surety of truth, the fumes of inner turmoil very nearly choke the good air of hope within us and genuine peace appears to be all but unattainable.
What is it about peace that leaves everyone talking about it but so very few ever finding it? Is it merely the absence of conflict as we all learn to live without making waves in the ocean of society? Or perhaps it is really just some vague and esoteric inner feeling of contentment and tranquility that only a very few will ever find while the rest of us wallow in misery, hatred and bitterness. Hmm.
Well, there obviously has to be more to it than accepting evils in the world as they are without ever challenging them as we drift in the currents of the status quo. And let us certainly hope that the latter is not true since “wallowing” is never pretty and only underscores the ugly and repulsive condition of rationalizing one’s miseries. Besides, who wants to “wallow” when we were created to “fly?”
Peace is first and foremost the uniting of our lives with the life of God. It involves the ending of hostilities as we lay down our arms of selfish ambition and personal rebellion against the will of God, as well as both blatant and subtle idolatry. It is essentially the surrender of our lives to Him as we raise the white flag of submission and cry out, “Not my will, Father, but Yours be done,” (from Luke 22:42).
“Remember that you were… separated from Christ… having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, Who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility… that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:12-17 ESV).
Thus, God’s zealous ambition to judge sin and yet provide us the means by which we as men and women may be set free from that judgment and be established in a personal relationship with almighty God has been realized.
As we place our faith in His sacrifice on the cross, repenting of our sin and confessing our need for a Savior, He washes our sin from His sight and receives us as children.
“Therefore, since we have been justified (made right) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:1-2a ESV).
Peace is, in large part, our ability to stand free and unashamed in the presence of God, confident in His power to forgive and wash clean the muck of our lives.
But peace is also a confidence in our spiritual inheritance. Having once been enemies of God, we have been transformed by faith into His children, subject to not only a new and exalted title (as a “son” or “daughter” of the King of kings) but also an entirely new reality, invisible perhaps to the naked eye, but the very real fruit of our new identity as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Consequently, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us” (Romans 5:2b-5 ESV).
This peace of God carries with it a profound sense of freedom as we revel in our new identity, released from apprehension about our present painful circumstances or a plague of uncertain days ahead. And how can you not rejoice to know that He has settled on the cross forever the uncertainty of your eternal destiny if only you’ve placed your faith in Him? If you have really trusted Christ as your savior, then you’ve been set FREE!
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by Whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:15-17 ESV).
And don’t you need the anchor of assurance that God’s promises are in these turbulent times? Don’t you need to know that there is an eternal hope that can never be quenched or even dimmed by the cares of this life if you’ve trusted Christ as your all-in-all?
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18 ESV).
Finally, as peace with God secures a new standing for us in our relationship with Him and a new outlook on life as we’ve been brought into His royal family, that peace of Christ must find its way into not only our attitudes but into our relationships with one another as well.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body” (Colossians 3:12-15a ESV).
Jesus Christ has secured for all who believe in Him an open door to know the Holy One as Father. Knowing Him as Father sets into place our perceptions about our worth and eternal destiny, giving us sure footing for the handling of the “here-and-now”. And now, having Him as Lord of our lives and with His Spirit at work in us enabling us to love others as He loves us, we have the means to supernaturally show the world what true peace between people can look like as we joyfully serve Him together in unity and love.
What a great saying for it is infinitely true: “No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.” In the human heart in which there is no acknowledgement of God, there cannot be peace. But where the heart has shed its darkness and sin and allowed God’s healing love to come in, there is a peace that no power can overcome.
Said the Savior to a troubled group of men on a dark night long ago, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27 ESV).
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected]