B. Two Kinds of Biblical Peace for Humans: these are covenantal peace (think peace treaty) and subjective peace (think peace of mind)
1. Covenantal Peace–(legal peace, our standing with God, our position with God).
a. In Christ the paradox between God’s eternal, untouchable, unchanging peace and his being able to have fellow-feelings (emotions) with humans is resolved (see above.)
b. In Christ we not only have peace; he is our peace.
i. Jesus is the logos of God, the full expression and outward manifestation of the Triune Deity.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, (Colossians 2:9)
ii. As God incarnate, God in a human body, Christ is the intermediary between God eternal and man.
iii. Along with the attribute of peace, God also has attributes of perfect holiness and justice.
a) Humankind’s sinful nature and acts of sin (anything that contradicts the Ten Commandments) are incompatible with God’s nature.
b) Sin cannot live in God’s presence, and indeed, must be cast out. Such casting out is punishment, because God is light and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
Whoever is cast out from the presence of God abides in eternal darkness.
v. Apart from Christ, there is only enmity and wrath between us and God. (As concerns we humans, NOT everything we do is okay with the God who is peace–a paradox? If so, it lies with us, not within God.) (Isaiah 57:21) (Romans 5:9-10) (John 3:36)
vi. Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection into life fulfills the terms of the everlasting covenant between himself and God the Father.
a) Those who are in Christ (those who believe in him) are beneficiaries with Christ of his eternal reward, according to the terms of the everlasting covenant between Christ and God the Father.
b) This is LEGAL peace. (Hallelujia!!)
c. Why did God make an everlasting covenant with Christ that includes Christ’s people, “whomsoever wills” (everyone who wants to be included–see Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat)?
i. The only reason lies in God himself–it is his nature to be kind, loving, generous, spectacular, merciful, and good.
ii. God’s grace is displayed in his opening the means of peace–the doorway to peace–through Christ’s blood of the cross. This blood through the Holy Spirit regenerated our spirits, the part of us that died when our first parents rebelled against God.
iii. God’s grace is displayed by means of the Holy Spirit, who prepares our hearts to receive God’s gracious gift of reconciliation (making up after a H-U-G-E fight) in Christ.
iv. Without God’s grace, his own freewill gift to us, we would still be his enemies by our own choosing.
Before the sinner can be reconciled to God and enter into participation of the peace which Christ has made with Him, he must cease his rebellion, throw down the weapons of his warfare, and yield to God’s rightful authority. But, in order to do that, a miracle of grace must be wrought in the sinner by the Holy Spirit. As the Father ordained peace, as the incarnate Son made peace, so the Holy Spirit brings us into the same. He convicts us of our awful sins and makes us willing to forsake them. He communicates faith to the heart whereby we savingly believe in Christ. Then “being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1) objectively. (Pink, 34)
2. Subjective peace
a. What is it? Subjective peace is how we feel inside when we are at rest with ourselves and with God–happy, secure, safe, joyful.
b. How do we get it? One result of covenantal peace, the legal peace described above, is the feeling of peace we receive.
c. Subjective peace is the feeling of contentment and well-being we have when we know that God is pleased with us and we know that we are in his company, his presence, in “fellowship” with him, in communication with him.
3. How do we maintain this feeling of subjective peace?
a. Obedience to God and his way (his precepts, principles, commandments)
i. Since humanity lost objective (external, formal, legal) peace with God as a result of their fall into rebellion (sin) when they chose to disobey God and believe Satan’s word above that of God, it makes sense that we would lose our subjective peace whenever we disobey God’s precepts, thinking and acting in ways not in agreement with his nature and sovereignty (sin).
ii. Therefore, obedience to God and his precepts is the best way to maintain subjective peace with God. Those who believe in Christ never lose their objective (covenantal) peace with God.
i. When we sin, we need to confess our sin quickly and receive God’s forgiveness and restoration (see scripture below).
ii. When we fail to forgive another and harbor a grudge or bitterness, or when we nurse our wounds and live out from the broken places in our lives, we forfeit peace with God, ourselves, and others. Our physical health also suffers.
a) not forgiving others brings our spiritual growth to a standstill (Parable of the Unmerciful Servant)
b) forgiving others frees us up to move on in Christ and to experience joy and peace unspeakable
c. How do we restore subjective peace once lost?
i. Turning quickly to God in repentance to confess and receive forgiveness of our sins. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:8-9)
ii. Keeping at prayer asking God by his grace to help us forgive so-and-so for such-and-such until that prayer is fully, 100% answered, which, if we fight on courageously, it will be!
iii. Spending time with God in Scripture, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers results in subjective peace with God.
“Now the God of peace be with you all” implies that the saints must conduct themselves in harmony, that amity and concord must prevail among them, so that there be no grievous failure on their part that would offend God and cause Him to withdraw His manifested presence from them. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9). Individuals as well as a corporate company of believers must be in subjection to the divine authority and maintain scriptural discipline if they would enjoy the peace of God (see 2 Corinthians 13:11). Charles Hodge well said, ‘It is vain for us to pray for the presence of the God of love and peace unless we strive to free our hearts from all evil passions.’” (Pink, Gleanings from Paul, 34) (Bibliography).