The Peace of God

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
—Isaiah 26:3

OFTEN WE MAY WISH to change the circumstances of our lives, thinking that in this way we could serve the Lord better. Even the Apostle Paul had thoughts along this line, but he learned that the Lord’s way for him was best. At the time of his conversion he was blinded by the light which shone “above the brightness of the sun.” (Acts 9:3; 26:13) Later, when visited by Ananias, his sight was partially restored, but he did not regain his normal vision, and was afflicted with this handicap for the remainder of his life. Paul refers to this as a “thorn in the flesh.”—II Cor. 12:7


It was natural for Paul to reason that he could serve the Lord more efficiently if he had better eyesight, so he made it a matter of special prayer. He besought the Lord three times to have this thorn in the flesh removed, but the Lord’s answer to the apostle was, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cor. 12:9) Paul’s heart responded to this answer, and he wrote, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

In reasoning on this matter, Paul concluded that if he did not have this affliction he might be “exalted above measure” (II Cor. 12:7), and thus be inclined to trust in his own strength and abilities rather than in the Lord’s. And herein is the reason for many of the experiences and circumstances which the Lord permits to come into our lives. He wants us to realize that every victory of faith is his victory, and that our every success and accomplishment should be accredited to him. It is so easy to forget that he is fighting our battles for us in the narrow way; so in his wisdom and mercy he allows conditions to be such that we are continually reminded of our need of him.


The ‘thorn in the flesh’ which buffets us may be one or more of a number of things which our faulty judgment might think should be changed. With some, for example, it may be environment. We may be the only one in our family that is rejoicing in the light of the present truth and running in the narrow way toward the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. We may think, “If I could only enjoy the fellowship of someone right in my own home, how grand that would be, and how much better progress I could make in developing the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit!”

We may make this a matter of prayer, perhaps even more than the three times that Paul prayed for better eyesight, only to get the same answer, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’—“My presence shall go with thee.”(Exod. 33:14) God wants us to appreciate his fellowship more, and to lean more confidently upon him. If we can learn to do this, he will be to us as the choicest of friends, or as one that keepeth closer than a brother or a mother, or any other human association we could possibly possess. He will be a friend who will overlook our shortcomings, and will give us strength in our weaknesses, as God promised Moses. He will be an ever present help in our every trial, and will share our every joy. He will give us peace, quietness, and confidence, and will be our shield and exceeding great reward.


We may not only be without fellowship with members of our own family, but they may even oppose us in our service to the Lord. From the natural standpoint, this could but lead to turmoil of heart, and to anxiety and sorrow. How our flesh would like to change a situation of this kind, that we might enjoy peace and quietness at least in our own home! Let us remember, though, that this is but another circumstance in which the Lord will fight for us, and that we can hold our peace. We will find that in this, as in every other circumstance of life, strength will be found in “quietness and in confidence” (Isa. 30:15)—not confidence in our own ability to weather the opposing gales, but confidence that the Lord is able to make his grace abound toward us at all times and in all things.—II Cor. 9:8.

A Christian seldom enjoys a peace resulting from tranquillity of circumstances. Usually the storms of life are raging, with tempests high on sea and land. These tempests may stem from one or more of many causes. Ill health may disturb our peace of heart. In such an event the flesh is quick to say that probably the Lord has forsaken us. The human mind is ready to fill the role of a ‘Job’s Comforter’, and tries to persuade us that God has turned his back on us. But Job said to his accusers of God, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”—Job 13:15

Nor does this peace of God necessarily give way to turmoil. We know that we have entered into a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice—the sacrifice of the flesh. We know, therefore, that our outward man must perish before we can enter into and enjoy our house from heaven. Faith in God and in this part of his will and plan, therefore, should give us peace. Whether it be the trial of sickness, or some other trial, we should accept it as evidence of the Lord’s love, and depending on his promise to supply all our needs, rejoice in his blessed assurance, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”—II Cor. 12:9


As followers of the Master—New Creatures in Christ Jesus (II Cor. 5:17)—we should never lose sight of the fact that the Heavenly Father’s care, his protection, his strength that is made perfect in our weakness, and the final victory which he has promised to give us through Christ, are all of a spiritual character. It is as New Creatures that he keeps us from falling. It is the new mind that dwells in the secret place of his love. He is a rock and fortress to the inner man which, because of the bounties of his grace, is being renewed day by day. Therefore, by having our minds on the Lord, we can have perfect peace.

This being true, it should matter little just how our flesh may fare, or what the natural circumstances of our lives may be. All that should really concern us should be—and in this we can always rejoice—that God is able to hold us in the hollow of his hand as New Creatures regardless of the opposing forces with which we may be surrounded. He can open the ‘Red Sea’ before us, as he did for Israel, so that we may ‘go forward’ safely in the doing of his will. With his love, and the love of Christ, overshadowing us, nothing can pluck us out of their hands. Paul was persuaded of this, and we can be also, and in this assurance we can have peace.


“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 8:35-39

‘Shall tribulation?’ No! Divine wisdom has decreed that we need tribulation to prove and develop us. ‘Or distress?’ Of course not! We do not expect to be at ease while walking in the narrow way. ‘Or persecution?’ Again the answer is, No! For we will remember the Master’s words telling of the blessedness of those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and the promise that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:10

‘Or famine?’ Paul learned to suffer want, and therein to be content, and so should we.

‘Or nakedness?’ There may be times when we could wish for better clothes to wear, but will remember that to be clothed with a meek and quiet spirit is far better, for we might possess the richest of material clothing, and yet not enjoy peace and quietness of heart and soul.

‘Or peril?’ No! For regardless of how perilous the storms of life may be, we will rest quietly in the Lord. As the little bird that builds its nest on the slender branch overhanging a cataract, does not fear, so we will remember that underneath us as New Creatures in Christ Jesus are the everlasting arms of Divine care which will ever hold us in the love of God.

‘Or sword?’ We know that the enemies of the New Creature are fighting desperately to overthrow us, to break down our courage and confidence, to take us away from our Heavenly Father’s love, but we will not fear. Instead, with the protection of the ‘armor of light’ on the right hand and on the left, we will ‘go forward’ in the strife, following the commands of the Captain of our Salvation. Doing this, no matter how fiercely the battle may rage about us, we will remain at peace, knowing that victory is assured.


Quoting from Psalm 44:22, Paul continues, “For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Rom. 8:36) How much this is in keeping with our covenant of sacrifice! Our Master, in whose footsteps we are walking, was also brought as a “lamb to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7), and how honored we are to share this experience with him. This being true, the sufferings which result from our being planted together in the likeness of his death should increase our faith, confidence, and peace. These should abound as our sufferings continue, as Paul expresses it, ‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us’.

‘For I am persuaded’, the Apostle continues. He was not persuaded that the Lord would protect him from trial, nor prevent his enemies from attacking him. No, he expected tribulation. He knew that he must endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. He knew that Satan would buffet him, and that he would be at enmity with the world. He knew that he would need constantly to struggle to keep his own body under, “and bring it into subjection.” (I Cor. 9:27) But he was persuaded that in all these things the Lord would be to him an ever present source of strength, and in this assurance he enjoyed peace, the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding.”—Phil. 4:7


Paul identifies many of the things which, from the human standpoint, might well pluck us out of the loving hand of God; such, for example, as death. Death is the world’s greatest enemy, one which disturbs the peace of every family when it strikes. But we are assured of victory over death, and certainly it cannot separate us from the love of God. Not that we are spared from death, for actually our covenant with the Lord calls for death. We are dying with Christ—sacrificially. Yes, “dying, and, behold, we live.” (II Cor. 6:9) We have been raised up to walk in newness of life in Christ, and in this vantage point of Divine love there can no evil befall us.

‘Nor life’. One of the greatest dangers to the New Creature is an abundance of material good things such as health, prosperity, and friends. To the natural man these constitute the joy of living, or ‘life’, as the apostle puts it. Let us remember, however, that as New Creatures, our life does not consist of the abundance of the things which we possess, and remembering this, keep close to the Lord, looking to him for strength lest the allurements of ease and plenty pluck us out of his hand and we fall from our steadfastness.

‘Nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers’. These are the fallen angels, the ‘principalities’ and the ‘powers’ and the ‘rulers of the darkness of this world,’ which Paul also speaks of in Ephesians 6:12, and identifies as among our most formidable enemies. It is against these that we ‘wrestle’, yet we need not fear, for the Lord fights for us in that he has provided an armor which, if we put it on and keep it on, the ‘wiles of the devil’ will not be able to harm us.—Eph. 6:11

‘Nor things present, nor things to come’. The Lord, through Moses, promised his people of old that as their days, so should their strength be. (Deut. 33:25) We know that the Lord is fighting for us today, that he is not permitting any of our enemies to overwhelm us; and we should also trust him for the future; for the apostle assures us that just as things ‘present’ cannot separate us from the love of God, neither will ‘things to come’ be permitted to do so. What a promise, and how sweet is the peace which results when in confidence we lay hold upon it!

‘Nor height, nor depth’—that is, exaltation or humiliation. Either of these extremes might easily separate us from Divine love. Exaltation, either in the Lord’s service or in business, or among our friends, could be dangerous to the New Creature, but not if we remember who we are and the glorious prize of the High Calling for which we are running. The Lord’s protection against this danger may be in permitting us to experience the ‘depth’—that is, to be humbled through reverses of one sort or another in order that we may realize that regardless of our position in life, it is by his permission, and that nothing which is really good for us as New Creatures will he withhold.

‘Nor any other creature’. Paul gives us a very complete cross section of Christian experience, but in case he overlooked one or more of the influences—the ‘creatures’ which war against our new minds in an effort to separate us from the Lord and to destroy our peace in him—he makes this blanket statement to assure us that nothing whatever is too small or too great for God to notice as he spreads over us the protection of his mighty power. We are assured that nothing will be able to ‘separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’. Being confident of this, we can have peace.


‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?’ or as Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott puts it, “since God is for us …” Yes, he is for us, and it is because he fights for us that we can have peace—‘the peace of God, which passeth all [human] understanding’. (Rom. 8:31; Phil. 4:7) It is this peace that keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The peace of God is the same peace which God possesses, the peace that results from his knowledge that nothing can happen in his whole vast universe except as he wills or permits it. He is neither anxious about the present, nor fearful of the future; and his peace can be ours, for as members of his family he has assured us that all the glorious attributes of his character are enlisted for our protection and care as New Creatures in Christ Jesus.

With this ‘blessed assurance’ we can ‘go forward’ in our march toward the heavenly Canaan with absolute confidence that if in each step of the way we obey him, no seas of trouble can drown us, nor will he permit any of the storms of life to overwhelm us. He has promised to guide us, to hold us, to keep us, to fight for us, and to give us strength. What more could we ask?

It remains only for us to wait on him in quietness and in confidence and claim his peace, knowing that whatever our need may be he will “bring it to pass.” (Ps. 37:5) All we have to do is to ‘stand still’ in the sense of not being agitated no matter what the circumstances may be; and when he gives the command to ‘go forward’, to obey knowing that he will lead the way and give victory to all who have their minds stayed on him, rewarding us with eternal peace.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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