« news and stories

Peace I Leave With You, My Peace I Give You

19th January 2024

Years ago, a theology professor told me that if I ever wanted to write a bestselling book, to write about the will of God or finding peace with God. He knew whereof he spoke. 

In 1953, the late evangelist Rev Billy Graham released his first published book, Peace With God: The Secret of Happiness. Seventy years later, this book has been translated into more than 30 languages, has sold millions of copies, and is still selling. 

What makes this book so marketable? Is it Rev Graham’s international reputation? Maybe that’s the case now, but when the book first hit bookstores, Billy was just 35 years old and barely into the type of ministry that became his legacy. Yet the book flew off the shelves. No, the book sells because its message is powerful.  

Consider this from Dr. Graham: 

God’s peace can be in your heart—right now . . . Whatever the circumstances,
whatever the call, whatever the duty, whatever the price, whatever the sacrifice —
His strength will be your strength in your hour of need. It’s all yours, and it’s free.”

This book continues to find its way into people’s hands because it speaks directly to a heart hunger that every human being experiences. Whether always understood or often not articulated, we want, and we need, peace with God, and we want to experience peace in our lives. 

Peace is something that can be understood on several levels. It can refer to geopolitical and social considerations like the absence or resolution of conflict, violence, and war. But it means more than this.   

In Hebrew, the word peace is shalom, and in Greek, eriéné. Both words mean peace, quietness, rest, restoration, wholeness or completeness, welfare, and inner tranquility, as in mental and emotional stability. 

Humanity wants peace, do we not?

On Christian graves in the ancient catacombs of Rome, one can find the Latin phrase, “requiescat in pace,” meaning “rest in peace,” or as it eventually was placed on 18th and 19th Century American gravestones, R.I.P.  Those left behind believed in the peace found with God in the afterlife. 

We wrestle with the question, “Do we want peace at any price?”  

In 1938, the Prime Minister of England, Neville Chamberlain, traveled to a conference with Adolph Hitler and others held in Munich, Germany. Upon his return to London, he triumphantly declared that the “Munich Agreement” signed at the conference, ceding Czechoslovakia to annexation by Hitler’s Germany, yielded “Peace for our time.” Less than a year after the agreement, Hitler’s invasion of Poland began World War II, and the phrase “peace for our time” became a symbol of the politics of appeasement, an attempt to make peace by making concessions to an aggressive nation.  

This calculus arises in current international warfare whenever there is tension between a desire for peace and saving lives versus a desire for justice while dealing with an enemy who may not be brought to a de-escalation or cessation of hostilities short of full and complete military surrender. 

Another challenge with securing peace is how the condition is defined. Scripture warns of those who will proclaim, “Peace, Peace, they say, when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14, 8:11; Ezek. 13:10, 16).   

This happened in ancient Israel when the prophet Jeremiah warned of the consequences of the nation continuing in sin. But others rejected his words, arguing there would be peace without fulfilling God’s will.  They were sadly mistaken, for the Babylonians invaded, destroyed the nation, and carried away many into captivity. 

There are still false prophets and religious leaders today who issue false promises of peace when there is no peace. The message of peace and prosperity ‘sells.’ Some preachers and teachers today say that the Christian life is all about peace and prosperity, but God does not promise that. Others ignore or downplay the seriousness of sin and teach that God is not concerned with their behavior. Others deny that eternal judgment awaits the unrepentant sinner, even though God has promised just the opposite.” 

Today, many of American culture’s false prophets are not preachers but “online influencers,” celebrities, power-driven politicians, etc. They reject God and his moral absolutes, argue they have the inside track on the good life, and shout “Peace and Good times,” but leave deception, despair, and death in their wake. 

So even a word as wonderful as “peace” must be understood in how it is defined, what grounds this concept, and whether it connects to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6).   

All problems in this world are at the bottom, spiritual problems rooted in sin, and the only one who can provide forgiveness, healing, restoration, and redemption from sin – and thus peace – is the Lord Jesus Christ; this is true for each of us, and this is true for international relations and war. 

After His resurrection, Jesus used the word “peace” four times, speaking to the disciples on the day of His resurrection when He said, “Peace be with you!” (Jn. 20:19, 21, 26; Lk. 24:36). He understood and responded compassionately to the disciples’ feelings in the moment of anxiety, distress, and fear. 

Jesus later offered this marvelous promise: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn. 14:27).

 

What kind of peace does Jesus offer? 

 

1. Peace not dependent upon the world or others.  

Peace from God is based upon His presence, power, and promises, not on the frailties of other human beings.
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Ps. 119:165).  

 

2. Peace with others – relationships.  

Because of the Fall, we are born in sin – we are sinners, and thus, we inevitably hurt others, even if unintentionally. We suffer from broken relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. While we do not have strength in ourselves, and we cannot “fix” ourselves, God can and will grant us the spirit of grace and forgiveness to mend and restore relationships with others. When this happens, we experience manifold peace. 

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever” (Heb. 13:20-21). 

 

3. Peace within the Church, within your local church.  

This is similar to the previous point, but the focus here is the Body of Christ, the Church Universal, with whom we share a fellowship that transcends time, space, distance, demography, and also fellowship with believers in our local congregation. Again, with God, peace is possible, for it is His will. 

“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3). 

 

4. Peace in the midst of trial and tribulation.  

Maybe our trials and tribulations are where we most often need God’s peace. Life happens, and not everything we experience is pleasant. Indeed, some things are highly stressful. But here again, the Spirit of God is our Great Comforter, and nothing happens in our lives that is outside of God’s purview and providence. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). 

 

5. Peace in the face of personal unrest.  

Celebrities are fond of saying, “Trust your heart,” and they think this sounds good and encouraging. The problem is, this doesn’t work. In fact, Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9). Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy.  No, we need to trust God when we experience uncertainty, confusion, and despair, and the Lord will respond. 

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal” (Is. 26:3-4). 

 

6. Peace in eternity.  

The Good News is about saving faith in Jesus Christ that spares us from the degradations of sin in this life and the punishment for sin in the afterlife. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thess. 3:16). 

 

Remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said before He ascended to the right hand of the Father above: 

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. 
In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 

 

Remember the old hymn, “Wonderful Peace,” lyrics by Warren D. Cornell, music by William G. Cooper, 1889: 

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!”

 

Rex Circle Crop Small
Dr. Rex Rogers

President, SAT-7 USA

Related Stories
As this month marked the first anniversary of the devastating Türkiye-Syria earthquakes, special...
Women from Iraq have shared powerful stories of faith and strength in the face of adversity as part...
As regional tensions provoked by the Holy Land Conflict continue to escalate, people in the Middle...
New programs on SAT-7’s Turkish-language channel aim to support people with the power of God’s...
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap