The Apostles And Grace And Peace
I’m sure we’ve all noticed the salutation at the beginning of almost every Epistle.
Romans 1:7, NIV – (7) … Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:3, NIV – (3) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:2, NIV – (2) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:3, NIV – (3) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2, NIV – (2) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2, NIV – (2) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:2, NIV – (2) … Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
1 Thessalonians 1:1, NIV – (1) … Grace and peace to you.
2 Thessalonians 1:2, NIV – (2) Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 1:2, NIV – (2) … Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:2, NIV – (2) … Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Titus 1:4, NIV – (4) … Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Philemon 1:3, NIV – (3) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:2, NIV – (2) … Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
2 Peter 1:2, NIV – (2) Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 John 1:3, NIV – (3) Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ …
Revelation 1:4, NIV – (4) … Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come …
That phrase, “grace and peace”, is not just a nice way of saying “hello”. It’s not just like saying, “Hi, hope you’re doing well” or “Hope you’re having a great day.” The Apostles understood that grace and peace are both supernatural weapons from God.
God’s grace is His supernatural power, offered to us, to save us, heal us, deliver us, and empower us to live the Christian life.
God’s peace is His supernatural order, offered to us, to bring balance into every area of our lives – body, soul and spirit.
And so when the Apostles wrote the words “grace and peace”, they were declaring a supernatural release of God’s grace and peace into the lives of every person who read the letter, or heard the letter read.
Understanding God’s Peace
The word peace is found around 350 times in the Bible.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word “shalom” (Strong’s H7965) is used 236 times. It means “safe, well, happy, prosperous, favoured, rest, welfare, wholeness”.
It comes from the Hebrew word “shalam” (Strong’s 7999), and it means “to be complete, to be whole, to be restored, to be full, to be sound”.
In the New Testament the Greek word “Eirene” (Strong’s G1515) is used 92 times. It means “to be completely joined together, to be prosperous, to be set at rest, to be tranquil in oneself, to have inward harmony”
In other words, Peace means “to have complete order and balance”. Said another way, it means “absence from all strife” in our life.
So God’s peace can result in the absence of emotional strife, and free us from all fear and anxiety. God’s peace can result in the absence of intellectual strife, and free us from all worry and confusion. God’s peace can result in the absence of physical strife, and free us from all illness and disease. And God’s peace can result in the absence of spiritual strife, and free us from all oppression.
My Discovery Of God’s Peace
I first discovered the supernatural power of God’s peace, about three weeks after I had become a Christian. I became a Christian on October 27 of 1977. About three weeks later, I was sitting in an exam room at university, with many other students. And we were waiting for the professor to give us permission to turn over the exam, and begin to write.
And just as the professor said, “Go, turn over your exam papers and begin to write”, suddenly an incredibly strong attack of doubts entered into my mind, about the reality of what had happened to me, concerning my new Christian life, and I remember thinking, “What on earth have I gotten into!?”
And as I was sitting there, fighting this attack of fear and doubt, and at the same time, trying to regather my thoughts and my emotions so I could write the exam, the voice of God came to me and said, “Do you trust me?” And in the midst of this conflict and turmoil within my mind and heart, I responded “I really want to”.
And then God’s voice came to me again and said, “Turn your exam back over, put down your pencil, and close your eyes”. At that moment, I really thought that I was starting to go crazy. But very reluctantly, and with a lot of anxiety, I did what the voice said –
I turned my exam paper back over, I put down my pencil, and I closed my eyes.
And then, what seemed like an hour later, but was probably only about 30 seconds, the voice came to me again, and said, “Now receive my peace”.
And slowly at first, like a gentle snowfall, God’s peace starting coming to me. It quickly turned into a flow, like water pouring from a hose, like liquid peace falling on me. And that peace filled my mind, and it filled my heart, and all of my anxious thoughts and feelings and doubts completely dissipated. And I got completely lost in this incredible experience of God’s peace.
And then, about 30 seconds later, God’s voice came to me again, and said, “Okay, David, you can pick up your pencil and begin to write”. And during the rest of that exam, I maintained that sense of peace, and I was able to answer all of the questions, and when I got my marks back, I discovered that I had one of the top marks in the class.
From that moment on, whenever I had to write an exam, I waited for the professor to say, “Pick up your pencil and begin to write”, and I would keep my pencil down, keep my eyes shut, and pray, “Lord, I receive Your peace”, and I would wait for God’s peace to come, before I would pick up my pencil.
And for the rest of my time at university, I made sure that I received God’s peace before I wrote an exam, and for the rest of my time at university, I went from being an average student to being in the top 25 % of my class.
And since that day, whenever I face fear, or anxiety, or worry, whether it’s concerning an exam, or a meeting, or any uncomfortable situation, I never go ahead, until I first pray for and receive God’s peace.
How Does God’s Peace Work In Our Lives?
Philippians 4:7, NIV – (7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
That word “guard” (Strong’s G5432) means “to mount a guard, to hem in, to protect, to prevent hostile invasion, to preserve”.
So God’s peace comes to us, to our hearts (the seat of our passions and emotions) and our minds (the seat of our thoughts), and it comes to protect us from the hostile invasion of worry, anxiety, and fear.
God’s peace comes to our minds, to keep us from thinking fearful thoughts, and anxious thoughts, and worrisome thoughts, and other negative thoughts. And God’s peace comes to our hearts, to keep us from feeling fearful emotions, and anxious emotions, and worrisome emotions, and other negative emotions.
And when we have a mind and heart without any fearful thoughts and emotions, we will not experience fear. And when we have a mind and heart without any anxious thoughts and emotions, we will not experience anxiety. And when we have a mind and heart without any worrisome thoughts and emotions, we will not experience worry.
God’s peace is the solution to guarding our minds and hearts of all negative thoughts and emotions, and so we can experience freedom from fear – If we learn how to receive God’s peace, and live in God’s peace.
How Do We Experience God’s Peace?
- We Must Desire God’s Peace
1 Peter 3:11, NIV – (11) … he must seek peace and pursue it.
That word “seek” (Strong’s G2212) means to seek because of a strong desire. It means to have a strong desire to live from a place of God’s peace.
So if we want to experience God’s peace, we can’t just hope it will come to us, we must understand that we desperately need God’s peace, and so we strongly desire it, seek it, focus on it, and look for it to come to us.
- We Must Ask For And Declare God’s Peace In Faith
Once we desire God’s peace, we must begin to ask for and declare it
Remember how the Apostles kept declaring God’s peace over the believers, whenever they wrote a letter?
Remember how Jesus declared God’s peace over His disciples, when He found them fearfully hiding in the upper room?
John 20:19, NIV – (19) … when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
Jesus didn’t say, “Hey guys, why are you hiding?” Or “come on guys, suck it in and act like men!” No, instead Jesus stood in their midst, and He declared “peace”.
So we ask God for peace, and we declare God’s peace over us. We pray something like, “Thank you Lord, for Your peace. I receive it right now, in Jesus’ name”.
- We Must Allow God’s Peace To Fill Our Mind And Heart
We don’t just say, “I receive Your peace”, and then continue to fret and worry. We must allow God’s peace to fill our mind and heart.
Colossians 3:15, NIV – (15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts …
That word “rule” (Strong’s G1018) means to “to govern, to arbitrate, to act like an umpire, to decide and determine the correct outcome, to direct, to rule”
So we receive the peace of God, and then sit there while God’s peace starts to rule over every fearful and anxious thought and feeling, and it starts to drive out all thoughts and feelings that are not from God.
And peace says, “Fear, you’re out!” Peace says, “Anxiety, you’re out!” Peace says, “Worry, you’re out!” And peace says, “Love, you’re safe!”, “Trust, safe!”, “Faith, safe!”
And we let peace umpire all of our thoughts and emotions.
- We Must Let God’s Peace Crush Every Lie Of Satan
Romans 16:20, NIV – (20) The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. …
Isn’t that interesting, that the Bible says that it’s the God of peace that will soon crush Satan. It’s not the God of war, or the God of power, or the God of deliverance that will soon crush Satan – it’s the God of peace!
Why is that? Because Satan torments us by telling us lies, and if we try to drive out Satan’s lies by God’s power, the lies will just come back again.
But when we displace Satan’s lies with God’s peace, God’s peace will start to make us sensitive to the lies of Satan, because God’s peace will diminish every time we entertain a thought or emotion that is not of God.
And so whenever we feel God’s peace lifting, that’s a sign that we are entertaining a lie of Satan. That’s one of the ways that God’s peace guards our hearts and minds.
By the way, that word “soon” (Strong’s G5034) in this verse means “quickly, speedily”. So when we allow God’s peace to work in our heart and mind, we can experience a change quickly. In my own experience, it usually only takes less than a minute for fear, anxiety and worry to go, once I allow peace to fill me
How Can We Live Continually In God’s Peace?
Now, instead of just receiving God’s peace every time we have a fearful or anxious thought or emotion, we can actually begin to cultivate God’s peace in our lives. How do we do that?
- Guard God’s Peace With Our Obedience
First, by guarding God’s peace with our obedience. Said another way, we practice obedience to God.
Psalm 85:10, NIV – (10) Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
If we want to show love to people, we must demonstrate faithfulness to them.
And if we want to remain in God’s peace, we must live righteous lives, meaning that we must do our best, to always obey God’s word and God’s directions in our lives.
There is nothing that keeps God’s peace in our lives, like ongoing obedience to God, and there is nothing that robs us of God’s peace, like disobedience.
- Keep Our Minds Filled With God’s Truth
Isaiah 26:3, NIV – (3) You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
In addition to obedience, we keep filling our minds with God’s truth, by reading and meditating on God’s word, and we let God’s truth displace and keep out any thought that is a lie from Satan.
That word “keep” (Strong’s 5341) means “guard, protect, maintain, preserve”. That word “steadfast” (Strong’s 5564) means “to lean against and take hold of”.
So how do we guard God’s peace? We keep our mind filled with God’s truth, we lean on God’s truth, we take hold of God’s truth, we trust in God’s truth, and we let God’s truth protect the peace of God that is in our minds and hearts.
Let’s take a moment, right now, to receive God’s peace.
“Lord, I greatly desire Your peace in my life. “I need Your peace to guard my mind and my heart. “So I declare and receive Your peace, right now.
Now just let God’s peace begin to expose and displace all fear, all anxiety, and all worry.