Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Fruit of the Spirit is...Peace...

What comes to mind when you think of the word, "Peace?" Peace of mind? World Peace? You may have thought about the peace symbol many wore back in the 1970's. What about a piece of cake? (That is the wrong kind of peace. I know this joke probably would go better verbally than written).

What about peace with God? If you are a believer in Christ, you have peace with God. The Apostle Paul tells the Roman church, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). This peace comes through Christ's finished work on the cross:

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace...And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near (Ephesians 2:14-15, 17).

We were once enemies of God and now through Christ we have peace. The Holy Spirit creates a sense of peace in the believer knowing that we are not hostile to God. Nothing can separate us from His love even when He disciplines us (Romans 8:38-39; Hebrews 12:4-11). Tony Merida wrote, "Peace rules the heart of those who walk in the Spirit." Colossians 3:15 says, "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."

Not only do we have peace with God, but we have peace with one another:

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, 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 (Ephesians 2:11-13).

There is no more classification between Jew and Gentile, which was brought hostility. Now every race and every tongue that comes to faith in Christ has a new identity, the church of God. The church is also to strive for peace within the body:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:1-6).

A study note from the ESV Study Bible on Ephesians 4:3 says, "Peace is a state of reconciliation and love and therefore acts as a bond to unite believers in Christ. Believers do not create unity but are to preserve the unity already established." We have peace with God through Christ and that cannot be taken away. We have peace with one another and should strive for unity.

Since we have peace with God and each other, we should embrace the call of God to the ministry of reconciliation that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).

God brought reconciliation to us through the finished work of Christ, therefore, we need to share the gospel message that people can have peace with God through Christ. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). Being a peacemaker are those who promote God's message of peace in Christ. This is the ministry of reconciliation.

The fruit of peace is the Spirit's work in our lives knowing we have peace with God through Christ, peace with one another in Christ, and seek for others to have peace with God through the finished work of Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment