Friday, May 6, 2011

Let the Peace of Christ Rule in your Hearts




“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15)

We have all heard the slogans: “Keep the Peace”, “Peace out”, “Peace is Patriotic” and so on they go. But Scripture talks about a different peace, a peace with God “which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). This is true peace. This peace is two-fold: Peace with God and peace with others. Paul says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”

In order for something to rule you it must have control or authority over your life. Paul is talking about a peace that rules over your life. In Colossians 3 he is speaking to the church about putting on the new self. This means forsaking the old way of life and fully pursuing new passions and desires which ultimately stem from a new heart. This new heart comes from reconciliation between humans and God. Until the war is finished in our own souls against God we will never be at peace.

Earlier in the book of Colossians Paul addresses the issue of peace between God and humanity. As sinners we fight the battle against God by suppressing the truth but God has graciously provided his Son to bring reconciliation. It always blows my mind that the One we need to be reconciled with provided the way for reconciliation. Paul says, “For in [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (1:18-19). The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is how sinners are given peace with God, the One offended. Remember the prophet Isaiah talked about Jesus as the suffering servant: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (53:4-5). The gospel brings about the peace that surpasses all understanding because the cross tears down the hostility between creature and Creator. His atonement brought us peace! “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Not only are we given peace with our Creator but we also at peace with other humans.

Remember Paul is speaking to those who are followers of Jesus Christ when he commands, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” How is that possible with one another? It is possible because God has opened our eyes to understand the gospel and imparts his Spirit to be our helper. In John 14, Jesus says, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (26-27). The saving grace of God imparts the peace of our great Savior, Jesus Christ, in our lives and the Holy Spirit empowers us to be peacemakers. In Galatians, Paul writes about the fruit of the Spirit and third on the list is “peace” (5:22-23). Peace is provided by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you at peace with God? If you think you are at peace because of your religious duties or your relatively good deeds or your kindness to others you are sadly mistaken. Peace with God is found in Jesus Christ and in him alone. And until there is peace with your Creator you will not have peace with others. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control will not be desires to live by with one another. Those who have the Spirit desire for these fruits to be a part of their lives and they are given the power to obey. Perfectly? No, but these fruits will be their practice because of the work of the Spirit. Listen to the words of Paul: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” All glory to God alone for this amazing peace.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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