Galatians 5:22 (Peace)

Martyn Lloyd Jones once told a story about
John George Carpenter and his family. John George Carpenter was the General of the Salvation Army. He and his wife had a daughter who had dedicated her young life to foreign missionary work in the far east. But she was suddenly taken ill with typhoid fever and died. Just an hour or so after she died, John Carpenter said to his wife.

"You know, I am aware of a strange and curious calm within."

His wife replied,

"I feel exactly the same. This must be the peace of God."

It was the peace of God that passes all understanding. In Philippians 4 we read,

"And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus."

John Bradford was burned at the stake on Monday, July 1st, 1555 during the reign of Bloody Mary. At the place of execution he said to his fellow sufferer (Leaf),

"Be of good comfort, brother; for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night."

He had great peace.

Genesis 26 we read about how Isaac dug a well and discovered fresh water. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with him and said that the water was theirs. Isaac dug another well. They quarreled with him about that one too. So Isaac dug a third well and no one quarreled with him about it. Isaac was a man of peace.

The great truth that we see from our text is that

your life should be characterized by peace.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. Now there are many different facets of peace. The fruit of the Spirit does not just refer to one of them, to all of them. You are to have peace, you are to display peace, you are to seek peace.

To help us understand the peace that
we need to have, we need to lift our hearts and minds on high. The peace that we are to have, that we are to exhibit, is a divine characteristic. It comes from God. So to understand this peace correctly, the first thing we need to do is to look at God. What we see is that

Our God is a God of peace.

Our God is a God of peace. Five times in the New Testament He is referred to as the "God of peace". It's one of His primary designations in the Scriptures. An example is Romans 15:33. Paul writes,

"The God of peace
be with you all."

He is the God of peace.

What did God do what Adam and Eve sinned?

I think if I asked most people that they would mention how He drove them from the garden. But what we should realize is that when Adam and Eve sinned God began His great work of peace. When Adam and Eve sinned God could have justly cast them into hell right. They had sinned. They had rebelled against God. They had set themselves up against God's rule and authority. They had made themselves God's enemies.

This didn't just apply to Adam and Eve. Because we are all descended from them, we were in the same boat. As we read in
Psalm 14:2,

"The LORD looks down from heaven
on the sons of men to see
if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
All have turned aside,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."

Ephesians 2:1-3 summarizes the situation. Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

"As for you, you were dead
in your transgressions and sins,
in which you used to live
when you followed the ways of this world
and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air,
the spirit who is now at work
in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature
and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature
objects of wrath."

By nature we were objects of God's wrath. Our sins called out for punishment, for eternal punishment. The whole human race could have been consigned to hell. In doing so God would have been just and righteous. We were His enemies. He made us upright, but we turned against Him. (Ecclesiastes 7:29) We all became sinners. In Romans 8:7 Paul described the sinful mind. He wrote,

"the sinful mind is hostile to God.
It does not submit to God's law,
nor can it do so."

We were objects of God's wrath, hostile to God, unwilling and unable to submit to Him. We turned against God, against His love, against His goodness, against His truth.

Yet what did God do? Did He cast us all into hell? No. He had love and compassion on us.

God worked peace.

We read about this in Romans 5:10,

"when we were God's enemies,
we were reconciled to him
through the death of his Son,"

When we were His enemies God worked for peace. God send His Son into the world. John 3:16,

"For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life."

What did Jesus do? He came and died for sinners. He came and took their sins upon Himself and laid down His life for their sins.

By doing so He became the Prince of peace.

In Isaiah 9:6 we read,

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace."

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Why? Because He came to make peace. In Ephesians 2:14 the apostle said about Jesus Christ,

"For he himself is our peace,"

He Himself is our peace. He came to bring us to God. He came to do away with our hostility toward God, to work in our hearts and change us. He came to take away God's hostility toward us. In Colossians 1:20 we read,

"and through him
to reconcile to himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood,
shed on the cross."

Jesus made peace- through His blood. God could not look upon our sin. Jesus washed away our sin. He came to take our punishment, to give His life for our sin. He came to obey the law perfectly for us. God's righteous anger has been satisfied. Now when God sees us we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:1,

"Therefore, since we have been
justified through faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus ChristÖ"

John Stott writes,

"Now peacemaking is a divine work. For peace means reconciliation, and God is the author of peace and reconciliation."

Our God is the 'God of peace'. It's from Him that we learn about peacemaking.

Now this has great implications for us.

First, it means that

You need to be a peacemaker.

You need to be like God in making peace. James Montgomery Boice writes,

"Peace is God's gift to the human race, achieved by him at the cross of Christ. Before the cross we were at war with God. Now, because God has made peace with us, we are to show the effects of that peace in all circumstances….”

It's easy for us to have our sights to low when it comes to peacemaking. We think,

"I'll seek peace with those who want peace. I'll seek peace with those whom it's easy to have peace."

We look at our neighbor whom we're having a dispute with and we say,

"Well, he's wrong. I can't be at peace with him because he's not a peaceable person. He's done things wrong and he's not sorry for them."

Where would we be if God had treated us that way? We'd be in hell.

Consider God's way of peacemaking. He sought us out when we were His enemies. Jesus sacrificed Himself in order to make peace. He sent the Spirit to us in order to convert us, sanctify us and ultimately to glorify us. He worked for peace at a great cost to Himself.

This is a key element in peacemaking. In making peace you don't think of yourself. In making peace you don't insist on your rights. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,

"Before one can be a peacemaker one really must be entirely delivered from self, from self-interest, from self concern."

"The peacemaker is one who is not always looking at everything in terms of the effect it has upon himself. … Is it fair to me? Am I getting my rights?"

Paul wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 6:1f where he criticized some of the Corinthian Christians because they went to unbelievers with their disputes and thereby brought the gospel into disrepute. Paul said to them, (1 Corinthians 6:7)

"The very fact that you have
lawsuits among you means you
have been completely defeated already.
Why not rather be wronged?
Why not rather be cheated?"

A peacemaker puts himself last and the kingdom first.

We need to do this in two different areas.

First, if we have this fruit of the Spirit,

we will seek to work peace in those who don't know God.

Being a peacemaker has great implications for our evangelism. People who don't know Jesus need Him more than anything else. It is our job to point them to Christ so that they can have peace with Him. It's only through Him that they can find peace. He is the only mediator between God and man. (1 Timothy 2:5) In 2 Corinthians 5:18 Paul talks about how God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and how he has given us,

"the ministry of reconcilation."

He continues,

"And he has committed to us
the message of reconciliation.
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors,
as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ's behalf:
Be reconciled to God."

We need to be peacemakers. The way to do so is to point people to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to the One they need in order to be reconciled to God.

We will not be able to be at peace with everyone.
Satan has some people in his clutches and they are enemies of the cross. We cannot compromise the truth in order to have peace with them. No. Stephen stood up for the truth and he was stoned to death for it. In Luke 12:51f Jesus said,

"Do you think I came
to bring peace on earth?
No, I tell you, but division.

From now on there will be five in one family
divided against each other,
three against two and two against three.
They will be divided, father against son
and son against father,
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

Jesus was a peacemaker, the peacemaker par excellence, yet He drove the money changers out of the temple. Why? Because they were leading people into sin. Jesus severely criticized the Pharisees because their teaching was leading people to hell.

We need to hold to the truth of Jesus Christ and point others to Him, to His death, to His resurrection, to the hope of eternal life, eternal peace that they can have through Him.

Yet it is our duty to point them to Christ, to show them God's love, to try by everything we can to get them to see the glory of the Prince of Peace and to get them to trust in Him. We read about this in
Romans 12:14f. Paul writes,

"Bless those who persecute you;
bless and do not curse."

We are to ask God's blessing on those that are opposed to us. Paul continues,

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right
in the eyes of everybody.
If it is possible,
as far as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone."

We are to seek God's blessing on others.

Secondly, if we have this fruit of the Spirit,

we will seek to be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are to be one with them. In Colossians 3:15 we read,

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body
you were called to peace."

Ephesians 4:3 reads,

"Make every effort
to keep the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace."

And in Romans 14:19 we hear,

" Let us therefore make every effort
to do what leads to peace
and to mutual edification."

We are members of Christ's body. What a travesty for members of Christ's body to be at war with one another. It cannot be. We need to show the world the peace of Jesus Christ.

You all know the
Beatitude regarding peacemakers in the Sermon on the Mount. What did Jesus say about the peacemakers? (Matthew 5:9)

"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God."

This is no accident. Those who are peacemakers are like God. Those who are peacemakers show that they are sons. They are displaying His characteristics. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God. Why? Because they are like God.

But there is another aspect of peace that is a fruit of the Spirit.

You should have inner peace.

In John 14:27 Jesus said,

"Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid."

We have an inner peace. We have peace with God. We have freedom from the guilt of sin. All our sins are washed away. In Psalm 32:3f we read,

" When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer. {Selah}
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said,
'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'
—and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

We are not tormented by the guilt of sin. We love God and we love His will. Psalm 119:165,

"Great peace have they
who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble."

We have peace because God is in control and we can trust the Good Shepherd to take care of us. Psalm 112:5,

"Good will come to him
who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast,
trusting in the LORD."

We don't have to worry about anything because Jesus is with us. Philippians 4:6-7,

"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus."

In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before his execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison cell to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. He knew the peace of God that passes all understanding.

There is nothing like the Christian life. We have peace. It is an integral part of the Christian life. Jesus is the
Good Shepherd. He is taking care of us. He is leading us to our heavenly home. We may go through difficult times. We may walk through the valley of the shadow of death. But we do not need to fear because Jesus is with us. He is with us to deliver us, to take us to our heavenly home. We have peace. ( Romans 14:17)

"For the kingdom of God is …
a matter of righteousness,
peace and joy
in the Holy Spirit…”

Lastly, for any here who don't know Jesus. Realize that

you don't have peace and yet you desperately need it.

It's only through Christ that we can have peace with God. If you have any peace now it's a false peace, it's a peace that deluding you. If you die in your sins you'll be lost forever. You shouldn't have any peace in that condition. You shouldn't be able to sleep at night. You shouldn't be able to sleep until you go to Jesus, until you ask Him to save you. Then you will have real peace, peace that will last forever. Go to Jesus today.