Part 4 – What are we to do?
CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…
Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers
The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.
The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)
The Christian Life is a Life of Peace.
Peace is mentioned more than 450 times throughout the Bible. Peace frequently is seen in the New Testament as a greeting or a farewell, as in I Peter 1:3 and 5:14. Peace was given as Christ’s bequest to His followers in John 14:27 and as His greeting in His post-resurrection appearances (Luke 24:36; John 20:19,21,26).
Peace is seen as the spiritual responsibility of the child of God frequently in Scripture, not only given as a greeting. In giving the beatitudes, Jesus said in Matthew 5:9,
Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.
As we recognize the teaching in the Beatitudes as expressions of living in the Holy Spirit, then we can understand that Jesus is putting forth the truth that those who are the sons of God by believing in and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour and Life (John 1:12; I John 5:12), are the ones who are the true peacemakers. The truest sense of being a peacemaker is the result of bringing people to Christ where they are given peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and are able to experience the peace of God (Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15).
The peacemakers to whom Jesus is referring are certainly not those whom the world would consider as peacemakers, those who are trying to bring in world peace. In I Thessalonians 5:3, the Word of God declares,
For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them…
Also the phrase used twice in Jeremiah and once in Ezekiel certainly describes the feeble attempts of those who try to bring world peace, when it says, Peace, peace, when there is no peace… (Jer. 6:14b; 8:11b; and similarly in Ezekiel 13:10b).
We will see as we consider the New Testament Scriptures that those who are truly peacemakers are those who take to heart the admonitions to make peace and tokeep peace.
James 3:18, which was cited under “fruit-bearing” makes an interesting connection between fruit and peace, when it says,
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by them that make peace.
The person who is walking in the Spirit learns quickly that the Spirit of God brings into a unified operation all of the godly traits that the believer is expected to manifest as he obeys the commands of the Word of God. In the passage in James 3:18, the privilege granted the believer tomake peace results in the fruit of righteousness. Therefore, the child of God, through making peace, will experience practical righteousness.
Whereas to make peace was an admonition, the next two verses are in the imperative mood and are commands. There are three verses which come from the same Greek word, used only in these three Scriptures, which Greek word is , and is translated,
…be at peace, in I Thessalonians 5:13;
…live in peace, in II Corinthians 13:11; and,
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men, Romans 12:18.
We as believers need to endeavor under the control of the Spirit of the Lord to fulfill these commands and admonition.
In I Corinthians 7:15, the statement is made that God hath called us to peace, having the implied meaning in the context of living peaceably when an unbelieving spouse in the marriage has departed from a believer.
In Romans 8:6, life and peace is that which characterizes being spiritually minded, whereas to be carnally minded is death.
In Romans 14:19, believers are exhorted,
Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.
Our life needs to be characterized by those things that lead to peace. The writer uses the hortatory subjunctive mood, which encourages others to participate with the writer or speaker. The writer is saying in this mood, “I’m going to do this, follow after the things which make for peace, and I want you to do this with me; let’s do it together!”
Peace becomes a bond for believers as they endeavorto keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace(Eph. 4:3).
In I Peter 3:11, the child of God is commanded to:
…eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it.
The word, pursue, as used here, is from the same Greek word which is translated follow in Romans 14:19 (follow after the things that make for peace). Pursuing or following peace is to be a major task for the believer to accomplish as he walks in the Spirit.
In II Peter 3:14, after describing the events surrounding the coming of the Lord, the destruction of the heavens and the earth, and the promise of new heavens and a new earth, Peter says,
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
This command concerning peace solves the problem caused by the human tendency to be fearful when one contemplates the momentous events to come at the end of the age. As the believer walks in the Spirit, his human tendency toward fear will be supplanted with peace that will be constant and consistent even until the coming of the Lord.
In Hebrews 12:14, after the writer teaches concerning the importance of God’s chastening of those whom He loves, the believer is commanded to:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
Again, the importance of following or pursuing peace combined with holiness is commanded in view of our being in the presence of God in glory.
This peace, therefore, is only going to be a reality as the believer in Christ walks in the Spirit and gives evidence of the peace in his earthly relationships as well as in his relationship to God.
This section has not been an exhaustive study on the subject of peace, but has been centered on verses which emphasize the responsibility believers have to provide for peace in daily living. The ability for the believer to provide for peace is based on God’s provision of peace for the believer.
Next Week: Part Five continued: The Christian Life is a Life of Rest
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein
Used with permission.
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.