THE PEACE OF GOD
"The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." "Great peace
have they which love Thy Law: and nothing
shall offend them."--Phil. 4:7; Psa. 119:165.
GOD'S LAW represents God's will. All who are right minded, rightly disposed, will rejoice in having God's will well done. Originally, God's will was written in man's nature. After sin had effaced it there, God wrote it upon tables of stone for Israel. It is the righteousness of this Law that Christians obey (the Divine regulations, the Divine requirements, whatever they may be) so far as possible. We delight to do God's will.
To love God's Law, then, would be to appreciate the fact that God has a great purpose; to take delight in finding out what God's will is; and to have full confidence in His Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power. Great peace have all those who so do. They do not understand every dealing of Divine Justice, but their faith holds to the fact that He is too wise to err. Thus they have peace in confiding their interests to Him.
In this text the Apostle differentiates between the mind and the heart. The heart represents the affections. The Apostle urges not only that we should have good feelings in the matter, but that our minds should be at rest. If after we have made a consecration of ourselves to the Lord we should do something to violate our conscience in some respect, we would feel estranged from Him. Then our hearts should know that we might draw near to the Lord again; and we should endeavor by prayer to get back into harmony with God and thus to effect a reconciliation. Our Lord has made provision on our behalf, that we should have an Advocate with the Father. (I John 2:1.) He who appeared in the presence of God for us at first is the same One who ever liveth to make intercession for us. So we come to the Lord through the arrangement which He has made; and we rejoice that we may obtain forgiveness and grace to help in time of need.
The text does not refer to our own peace, but to the peace of God, the peace which comes to us through a realization of God's power, of His goodness and willingness to hold us by His right hand as His children. This peace stands guard continually, as a sentinel, to challenge every hostile or worrying thought or fear. It so keeps the Christian's mind that he at heart has peace with the Lord, fellowship, communion; and it guards his mind also, his reasoning faculties, instructing him and assuring him respecting the Divine power, wisdom and love.
We should make request increasingly for grace and wisdom and the fruits of the Spirit, for opportunities for serving the Lord and the brethren, and for growing more and more into the likeness of God's dear Son. Under these conditions the promised "peace which passeth all understanding" will guard our hearts and our thoughts. Selfishness and ambition would find little room in hearts so filled. Even when in "deep waters" Divine peace can dwell in our hearts and keep them.
The Apostle's thought seems to be that those whom he addresses have come into harmony with God through acceptance of His terms. Turning from all opposition, they have become the children of God through faith, obedience, self-sacrifice and consecration to death. The Apostle urges that God's peace should be in these and should continue. They should be guarded by that peace. The expression, "through Christ Jesus," suggests that, as we entered into this peace through our great Advocate, so we can continue in this peace only by His continuing to be our Advocate; otherwise, through imperfections of the flesh, we would get out of harmony continually.
"Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16.) Thus as we come daily and say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," we abide in the peace; for we have this great Advocate. Therefore, this peace abides-- a continuing supply of grace through the great Advocate.