By Gary D. Erickson
A. Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace in the Old Testament. The dove and the olive branch have become symbols of peace even in modem times. This symbolism goes back to Noah and the flood when the dove returned to the ark with the olive leaf confirming that peace was returning to the world.
1. It expresses safety and security in relationships.
2. It means wholeness and welfare in community.
3. It means health and justice in friendly, familial, economic, and political relationships. It is also an inner tranquility that transcends adverse circumstances.
4. The Greek word eirene is used in the New Testament.
5. Peace is mentioned 429 times in 400 verses in the Bible.
B. There are two aspects of peace:
1. Relationships: Being friendly, cooperative, and in agreement with others brings the tranquility of peace. Peace between nations, neighbors, and fellow Christians is a vital part of ultimate peace.
a. Our history is basically a series of wars. Mankind has never been able to avoid war. They have fought about religion, geography, philosophies of government, conquest, power, taxes, pride, security, and so forth.
b. Since war is a human disaster, many efforts to find peace have been tried. None have been permanently successful.
c. World peace will come only when Jesus Christ returns to set up His kingdom, in which He will reign for 1000 years.
(1). This was the purpose of Jesus’ coming: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:14).
(2). For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
(3). Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other (Psalm 85:10).
d. The dove of peace still finds the world covered with the waters of hate and jealousy, drowning the opportunities for peace.
e. Washington D.C. has a large assortment of peace monuments. One is built after every war in hope that it will be the last.
2. Personal inner: This peace is that relaxing of tensions, inner conflicts, and turmoil. It is one of the fruit of the Spirit that brings a consolation that all is well.
a. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
b. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1).
c. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
d. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
e. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
II. Peace That Only God Can Give:
A. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).
B. Therefore being justified by faith have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1)
III. False Peace Of The World:
A. They have healed also the hurl of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).
B. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
C. There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked (Isaiah 48:22).
IV. Peace Must Be Pursued:
A. Peace, like every other rare and precious thing, must be sought after diligently.
1. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).
2. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them (Psalm 119: 165).
3. When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7).
B. It is a benefit of the kingdom of God.
1. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
2. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace (Psalm 37:11).
3. I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly (Psalm 85:8).
4. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be (Psalm 125:5).
5. Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy (Proverbs 12:20).
6. And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm (Mark 4:39).
7. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another (Mark 9:50).
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. – Jo Petty, Ibid., p. 39.
The storm is raging. The sea was beating against the rocks in huge, dashing waves. The lightning was flashing, the thunder was roaring, the wind was blowing; but the little bird was asleep in the crevice of the rock, its head serenely under its wing, sound asleep. That is peace: to be able to rest serenely in the storm! – Billy Graham, Peace with God, Grason, 1953.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request 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).
Until a man finds no peace within himself, it is useless to seek it elsewhere. – E.C. McKenzie, Ibid., p. 384.
It was when circumstances were most adverse and threatening, in the upper room on the eve of His crucifixion, that Jesus spoke of His peace, ‘My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you.’ The world cannot give the peace which is independent of outward circumstances. – Winward, Ibid., p. 102.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful (Colossians 3:15).
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18).
This article “Fruit of the Spirit” by Gary D. Erickson is excerpted from his teaching notes, Fruit of the Spirit, 1999.