Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24—NKJV)

Peace is a wonderful thing. Peace is also relatively unknown in the human experience. An illustration of this sad state is the high number of phrases concerning peace in our culture and how they are used. “If I could just have a moment’s peace!” “Give peace a chance!” “My prayer for the world is that there would be peace and harmony! Can’t we just get along?” “Why is it so hard to be at peace with yourself?” “There is an uneasy peace in the city.” Armies are turned into “peace-keepers” and policemen are called “officers of the peace.”

I remember my parents schooling us children in the meaning of Armistice Day, V-E Day, and V-J Day. The deep significance of the meaning of those days was a bit lost upon us kids because all we had ever known was a general state of peace in our nation. Military conflicts were remote and seemed insignificant to us at the time. Thank God for giving us the opportunity to know peace, the absence of conflict, and may He teach us to treasure the peace He grants!

In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Real peace must be forged, fashioned, and framed by men of conviction, courage, clear eyes. Peace is not the natural birthright of any people, or of any person. It takes brave people of character to conceive of it, to promote it, and to maintain it.

There are certain requirements of lasting peace. First, peace between two parties must be a peace that both parties, in common, fully desire. Second, peace must be forged on the basis of a satisfaction of the grievances respecting both parties. Third, peace must be maintained by a respected order of expectations and obligations related to both parties. Peace based upon anything less will be short-lived. This brings President Reagan’s words regarding the Soviet Union to mind when he said, “Trust but verify.” The only avenue to peace in that case is “peace through strength.” That peace lasts only as long as you remain strong.

As is always the case, the highest human ideals find their perfect model in the dealings of God. There is a Greek word (eirene) which is most often translated peace in the Bible. The word comes from a root word meaning to bind together that which has been separated. Colossians 1:20 states, “And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” When God makes peace, it is never a peace of compromise. His peace is one of victory over evil; it is the triumph of the cross. You see, back in verse 14 Paul said, “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Is it any wonder that Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)?

Jesus stated in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The believer enters into “peace with God” through faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peace with God is every believer’s new, permanent state due to the legal standing of forgiveness wrought by Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. We stand justified (positive righteousness) because the righteousness of the Son of God has been transferred to our heavenly account because our guilt was transferred to His.

In every day life, practical peace with God is to be worked out in our experience—the “peace of God.” Philippians 4:7 reads, “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This peace is the state of the believer’s soul that comes and goes as the believer consciously yields, or does not yield, to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in his life. All Christians have peace with God, but not all have the peace of God.

Revisit the requirements for lasting peace as outlined above. Are your moments of real peace short-lived? Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has given you peace with Him through His Son? Do you know the peace of God in every aspect of your life? Trust and obey.