Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (NLT)
In the first part of this study on the Spiritual Fruit of Peace we looked at the promise in Philippians 4:6-9 which tells us that it is God’s own peace which can come to us in difficult times. There are many troubles we may face but God is able to help us through them all. At times it may be His plan to change the circumstances we are in but, for reasons we may not understand at the time, it may instead be His will that we endure difficult times and rely on His strength. It is especially in these times that His peace is important as it can carry us through by confirming in our hearts that whatever we are facing can be turned to bring forth good instead of bad. It is also in His peace that we will most easily know His will for us.
God certainly cares for our physical and emotional well-being, but our spiritual well-being is of prime importance since this is about our relationship with Him. The peace that He can pour into our hearts gives us a certainty that He is in control and has a plan for us despite what we may be experiencing.
Now we have already pointed out that God’s peace flows from our relationship with Him but it also requires God’s peace to strengthen that same relationship. Many Christians find themselves troubled by their past sin and struggle to believe they are truly forgiven. They may have accepted Jesus into their lives with all sincerity and yet deep down inside have doubts that God really has forgiven them. This will often present itself in misguided attempts to win God’s favour by being busy doing things they believe He wants. Of course we should do good works for God, but not with the intention of earning His favour.
Jesus did all that was necessary to pay for our sins and put us right with our heavenly Father. Any good works we do should flow out of loving gratitude and not because we feel we need to earn anything. Sadly there are Christians out there who feel like this. They may not admit it even to themselves, but deep inside they have doubts, fears and an uneasiness which robs them of the joy God wants them to have. This is where God’s peace can transform us. It is the truth of God’s promise of forgiveness being planted deep inside us which confronts and removes the doubt and fear. It gives us certainty of the freedom we have from our sin – The certainty that what Jesus did for us was enough!
Ephesians 2:13-19 “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ. For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.”
This is the truth we need to grasp. Jesus is our peace!
Without Him there can be no peace with God because there is no forgiveness possible without Him. It is sad indeed when a Christian has not fully come to terms with this reality as it hinders their growth and can lead to being an ineffective witness to others. It can also leave them with a wrong picture of God as being cold, distant and always keeping score of their rights and wrongs. This is far from who God is as our loving heavenly Father. Jesus was sent not simply for the forgiveness of our sins but to show us God’s character through His own.
Yes, we can know peace with God and the certainty of our forgiveness if we look to Jesus and trust in what God’s Word tells us. When we do this, God’s Holly Spirit works within us declaring, “You are forgiven!”
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.”
After reading take some time to consider the following questions:
Q1. Do you feel at peace with God or do you have some doubts about whether you are forgiven? What triggers may be causing this for you? Take some time to pray about this.
Q2. Do you find yourself trying to please God with good works/acts of service? If so, is this helping your relationship or making your feel weighed down?
Q3. Have you heard before that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough for you to be put right with God? If this surety became more of an anchor in your life, do you think you would live differently?