2001-03-05 - Peace
Psalm 85:8 I will hear what God the Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; but let them not turn back to folly.
In the Old Testament the term, "peace" is often used in a different manner than it is used in the New Testament. In the Old Testament peace is a term that often stands by itself. It is often used as a manner of benediction, as in Psalm 122:8, "For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, 'May peace be within you'" Or, again in Daniel 6:25, "Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language who were living in all the land: 'May your peace abound!'" The nature of the term and concept of peace in the New Testament takes on a different and fuller role.
In the New Testament peace is often used together with terms like, grace, mercy, and love. It is used in a greeting as in Romans 1:7, "...grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." See also 2 John 3 and 1 Timothy 1:2, where the terms grace, mercy, and peace are used. Lastly, in Jude 2 we have, "May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you."
So why is the term peace used somewhat differently in the Old and New Testaments? The difference is the coming and atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ brings mercy and grace and love and marries it to peace with God. Because of Christ we receive all these benefits together. So the New Testament writers could add in all these concepts when they wrote because with the coming of Christ comes a further understanding and knowledge of salvation and all that is included in it.
Christ is the "Prince of Peace," Isaiah 9:6. The reason He came to earth was to place grace in the hearts of all His Children and to initiate a friendship between us and God. Christ is not only the author of this peace, but He is also the preserver of it. He is now in heaven interceding for us, Hebrews 9:24. One of the ways He intercedes for us is by stirring our conscience so that, as it says in the verse we started with, we do "not turn back to folly." Much of this is summed up in 2 Corinthians 5:19, "Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."
And maybe that is where we should end. Reconciliation captures all the concepts of grace, mercy, love, and peace. These terms are specific aspects of what has happened as God has reconciled us to Himself. The atonement has also given us a fuller understanding and fulfillment of the word and concept of peace.
"The wrong that man had done to the Divine Majesty, should be expiated by none but man, and could be by none but God." John Howe
Soli Deo Gloria,