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PEACE: A PRICELESS GIFT
by Philip Owen

When we say something is priceless we suggest more than the fact that we cannot afford to buy it.  For while it is true that we haven’t sufficient means to purchase something said to be priceless, it is also true that we mean that the object is beyond valuing.  A painting by Da Vinci might be said to be priceless because, were it to be destroyed, there would be no way to replace it.  As these words are being written, the news that countless ancient artifacts have been lost due to a fire that destroyed the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been broadcast worldwide.  Those one-of-a-kind relics are lost forever; all the money in the world will not bring them back.  More to the point, we speak of the love of a spouse, a parent, or a dear friend as being priceless in recognition of the fact that no amount of money could purchase the affection and self-sacrificial spirit of a loved one.  But these so-called priceless gifts dim by comparison with the priceless gifts the Lord gives believers.  All are beyond price, but we will glance at one of them in this space, namely, peace.

Speaking to His disciples just prior to His death, the Lord gave them this assurance and promise:  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27).  We will note only the two contrasting elements mentioned in this text.

The peace the world gives.  Virtually everyone is in search of peace, which they discover in various forms. One method of obtaining peace comes through denial or lies:  “This isn’t really happening to me.”  “Things will get better.”  “I’m not going to worry about eternity; God is a gracious, loving God Who will overlook my sin.”  Others resort to toughness and false bravado, mimicking the words of the poet Hensley:  “I am the captain of my fate; I am the master of my soul.”  Some attempt to find peace through abuse of alcohol and drugs.  Still others rely on mantras or platitudes:  “This, too, shall pass.”  “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  Then there are those who try some form of meditation or psychological counseling or other forms of mental therapy.  Some try escapism, hoping that the pursuit of pleasure will erase their fears, worries, and doubts.  And others hope that financial security, worldly acclaim, or other forms of success will provide them with peace.  But each and all of these are merely coping mechanisms that function to one degree or another by distorting reality and denying or disregarding the truth.  Put simply, the peace the world offers is ultimately ineffective.  And even to the degree that it seems to be effective temporarily, it achieves that through some measure of deceit. 

“My peace” that Jesus Christ gives.   The peace that Christ gives neither alters reality nor the perception of reality.  It does not come from circumstances—good or bad—and is not affected by them—good or bad.  The peace the Lord gives does not result from a new view of the world (though a different perspective is certainly a consequence of His peace).  The peace He gives is not a feeling, a perspective, a stronger backbone, or an escape from trouble:  it is a Person, Christ Himself indwelling believers in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  Paul commends the “God of peace” to the Thessalonians (I Thes. 5:23), whose Spirit they, and we who believe, have received.  He writes the Galatians that “the fruit of the Spirit is . . . peace” (5:22).  His peace is not something the believer must manufacture, conjure up on his own, or somehow cultivate.  “My peace I give to you,” Christ promised.  It comes freely from Him.  Peace with God is the forever result of salvation, and the peace of God comes to fruition in the believer who abides in Christ.  The peace Christ gives is not a state of mind, a fleeting feeling, or a strong emotion.  It is a Person, the indwelling Person of Christ, Whose presence (that we recognize as peace) brings the calm, quiet, rest, assurance, confidence, and certainty that God is on the throne and all is well.  Essential to salvation, infinite in value, it is the gracious gift of the Savior to everyone He redeems.        

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