An excerpt from Matt Brown’s new amazing book Truth Plus love. We encourage you to purchase a copy today!
Why did Jesus come? Because there is no peace without Him. We long for peace, but we can’t find lasting peace outside of faith in Christ. When we accept the gospel, our hearts are flooded with peace, sometimes immediately. Jesus permeates our lives with peace. This peace is first and foremost peace with God, and our peace with God infiltrates and restores peace in other areas of our lives.
The Bible speaks often about this incredible peace with God. The Bible also calls us to walk in peace with the world around us. We should consider these two areas of peace: inner peace and peace with others. One is freely given in the gospel.
And every Christian who has received God’s peace is called to constantly work in God’s strength toward the other.
God Gives Us Inner Peace
Why do we need peace with God? The Bible actually tells us we used to be enemies with God until Christ saved us through His death and resurrection.
When you read the Bible, you see that humanity’s propensity toward sin and idolatry is indefatigable. Over and over, we go the wrong way. God works to reconcile us and shows us incredible grace, yet we reject His grace and turn away. This is why God sent His Son: to pay the penalty of our waywardness and to give His Spirit to work within our hearts to help us follow Him. When we believe in and receive the truth, Jesus does an amazing work in us. Jesus wants to give us inner peace. “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” ( John 14:27). He doesn’t give us some generic sense of peace; He gives us His own peace! There should be a sense of a peace in our lives that doesn’t quite make sense to us. It’s otherworldly. It’s the peace of Christ.
There are moments in our Christian lives when we feel more anxiety than peace. In those moments, the Bible calls us back to the peace of God. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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” (Philippians 4:6–7). God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds, and his peace will be beyond our understanding.
We get back to God’s peace by steadfastly trusting in God and His care for us, even in the messiness of life. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3). Do you need more of God’s peace in your life? Come back to childlike trust in God’s care for you. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15), and “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Jesus also said that this peace would be present even in the midst of the problems of the world. He did not say we wouldn’t have trouble. He actually warned us that there would be challenges to our faith and to our peace but that we could find unshakeable peace in Him. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” ( John 16:33).
Christians can be calm in a crazy world. These days people tend to wring their hands at every announcement of bad news. This culture of outrage has infiltrated our churches. But as believers, we are supposed to have hope! If we act like there is no hope, we are subtly signaling to the world that there isn’t anything different about us. Instead, we need to walk with a peace that doesn’t make sense to the world around us. Doing so will give us influence for the sake of the gospel. Christians can have an overwhelming and pervasive sense of well-being no matter what else is going on.
God Reigns over the Chaos
God is writing the story of our world, even the story of our world’s leaders (Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 2:21; Romans 13:1). God’s
sovereignty won’t always make sense to us, but the truth of God’s sovereignty should serve to remind us the world will never spin out of God’s control. God is not surprised when the world rages (Psalm 2:1–6).
This doesn’t mean humanity doesn’t have responsibility, but that God is ultimately Sovereign. Have you ever considered how much of the pain and suffering in the world is caused by humans willfully pursuing selfish or sinful desires? How much of this could be avoided if we would obey God? Chaos in our world doesn’t prove God isn’t there, it just proves how much we need to invite God into our world.
J.I. Packer has written, “The stars, indeed, may fall, but God’s promises will stand and be fulfilled.” Our world may seem beyond repair, but God is always working for those who wait for Him. Tragedy will always rise up, but we Christians will always rise up to bring the hope and love of God to the hurting.
We Know How Our Story Ends
The Bible tells us how our story will end when we trust in Christ: in heaven forever with God. As Pastor Eric Geiger has written, “God has designed the end and the means. The end is people from every tribe, tongue, and nation gathered around the throne worshipping Him because they were purchased with the blood of Christ (Rev. 5:9–10). Regardless of what happens this week, what unfolds in the news, the ending has already been made clear: God is redeeming for Himself a people from all peoples.”
Our hope is not an earthly hope. It is eternal. No matter what we face in this life, we are heading to perfect joy with God forever. We can find real peace in that.
Taken from Truth Plus Love by Matt Brown. Copyright © 2019 by Matt Brown. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.