The Peace of God, From The God of Peace”, from Precept Austin
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Peace is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies or inwardly, as in the current context, within the soul.
The peace of God which replaces anxiety in the life of the prayerful believer is impossible to experience unless one already is at peace with God through faith in Christ. The peace of God is the ANTIDOTE for ANXIETY.
The peace of God – This is not the absence of problems but a reflection of the presence of divine sufficiency in the midst of problems.
George Morrison said “Peace is the possession of adequate resources” and those resources come from the Lord when you yield heart and mind to Him.
Every believer has come into an eternal peace with God for Paul writes that
having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Comment: See notes on Romans 5:1 for more discussion of the distinction between the peace of God and peace with God
However, not every believer necessarily experiences the peace of God which Paul describes in this passage. This peace is a promise which is the result of the practice of thankful prayer to God. As Vincent puts it “Peace (of God) is the fruit of believing prayer.” Stated another way, one may have peace with God without having the peace of God. Peace with God is dependent upon faith, and peace of God is dependent upon faithful prayer. Peace with God describes the state between God and the Christian, and the peace of God describes the condition within the Christian.
Barnhouse comments that the truth of Romans 5:1 means for believers that…
Peace with God was already theirs, as it is already the portion of all who are placed in Christ. But the peace of God comes afterwards to those who are willing to accept the paradox of unconditional surrender. How many unsaved people there are today who are in misery because they will not accept the peace (“peace with God”) that God made at the cross when He declared that the war was over and that sin was dealt with. And how many Christians are going to Heaven miserably because they are not willing to accept the riches of His grace and the wonders of His peace that He is so willing to give if we will only acknowledge Him as our Lord as well as our Saviour… Day by day, we are the objects of that love and grace, and, when we are surrendered to it, we shall be at peace.
Calvin writes that
It is on good ground that he calls it the peace of God, inasmuch as it does not depend on the present aspect of things, and does not bend itself to the various shiftings of the world, but is founded on the firm and immutable word of God.
Peace of God (God’s peace, the dispeller of anxiety and worry) is the peace which God alone possesses (He is often referred to as the “God of peace“) and which He gives to His children.
Peace in the present context is a state without anxiety and worry about how and when our needs (physical or emotional) will be supplied. This peace is the result of going to Him and confidently committing everything into His trustworthy hands.
Although the context is different, the principle in Isaiah is applicable that
“The steadfast of mind (the mind that has confidence in God shall not be agitated by the trials to which it shall be subject; by persecution, poverty, sickness, want, or bereavement) Thou will keep (guard, preserve) in perfect peace (Hebrew literally is ‘Peace, peace;’ repetition denoting emphasis = inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, under all events), because he trusts in Thee.” (Isa 26:3)
Henry describes the peace of God as
the comfortable sense of our reconciliation to God and interest in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, and enjoyment of God hereafter.
Before God saves us, we are ”at war” with the Almighty and our peace with Him is ”disturbed”. When we are justified by faith and reconciled to our Creator by the blood of Christ, we are made positionally at peace with God (see exposition of “peace with God” in Ro 5:1–note) and are “set at one again” so to speak like Adam and Eve were in Eden before sin entered the world. Paul in this section is describing the “peace of God” which can be a believer’s experience (experiential peace) as he or she surrenders their will to His will, submits to His authority and walks in Spirit empowered obedience to His good and acceptable and perfect will. Specifically in the present context this peace is the Spirit borne fruit of thankful prayer. It’s logical isn’t it? If we can truly thank Him for every circumstance, good or bad, the result is His peace, the peace He gives.
Dwight Edwards on the peace of God – “Of God” is probably a genitive of source. Thus God is the source of this peace, not the conditions around us. This peace is beyond our comprehension, for we cannot fully understand it; yet it is not beyond our experience, for we can fully experience it in the present. “Will guard” is graphic, denoting a garrison, or one standing sentry. The peace of God will watch over and warn us against any intruders. If the peace of God is not ruling or standing sentry over our inward man, then an unwanted intruder has already entered. Here we see a distinction between “heart” and “mind.” It would seem that they are referring to our emotional and intellectual facilities. Not only are we to be characterized by joy, we also are to be under the control of God’s supernatural peace.
Barnes on the peace of God – The peace which God gives. The peace here particularly referred to is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our needs, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;” Isa 26:3; see the notes at Joh 14:27.
Wiersbe – “The peace of God” is one test of whether or not we are in the will of God. “Let the peace that Christ can give keep on acting as umpire in your hearts” (Col 3:15–note, wms). If we are walking with the Lord (Ed: yielding to the Spirit), then the peace of God and the God of peace exercise their influence over our hearts. Whenever we disobey, we lose that peace and we know we have done something wrong. God’s peace is the “umpire” that calls us “out”! – Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series)
The peace of God – That harmonizing of all passions and appetites which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and arises from a sense of pardon and the favor of God. (Adam Clarke)
Fierce passions discompose the mind,
As tempests vex the sea;
But calm content and peace we find,
When, Lord, we turn to Thee.
– William Cowper
Eadie eloquently explains the experiential “peace of God” writing that…
The Greek Fathers, followed by Erasmus, Estius, Crocius, and Matthies, understand the phrase of reconciliation:— “Peace,” said Chrysostom, “that is, the reconciliation, the love of God”. No doubt this peace is the result of reconciliation or peace before God . But this peace flowing from pardon and acceptance was already possessed by them—they had been reconciled; and what the apostle refers to is a state of mind which has this reconciliation for its basis. The former peace has a special relation to God (Ed note: “peace with God”), the controversy between Him and the soul being terminated—the latter (Ed note: “peace of God”) is more personal and absolute. This peace is but another name for happiness, for it is beyond the reach of disturbance. Come what will, it cannot injure—come when it likes, it is welcome—and come as it may, it is blessing in disguise (Ed note: equates with supernatural “fruit” borne by the indwelling Spirit). It (Ed note: “It” refers to whatever circumstance or person might disturb one’s peace) can neither dissolve union to Christ, nor cloud the sense of God’s forgiving love, nor exclude the prospect of heavenly glory. It is not indigenous: it is the “peace of God.” Man may train himself to apathy, or nerve himself into hardihood—the one an effort to sink below nature, and the other to rise above it. But this divine gift (“fruit”)—the image of God’s own tranquility—is produced by close relationship to Himself, is the realization of that legacy which the Elder Brother (Jesus) has bequeathed.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
To know that it is well with me now, and that it shall be so forever—to feel that God is my Guide and Protector, while His Son pleads for me and His Spirit dwells within me as His shrine—to feel that I am moving onward along a path divinely prescribed and guarded, to join the eternal banquet in the company of all I love and all I live for—the emotion produced by such strong conviction is peace, ay, the “peace of God.”
The secret of peace – He who climbs above the cares of the world and turns his face to his God, has found the sunny side of life. The world’s side of the hill is chill and freezing to a spiritual mind, but the Lord’s presence gives a warmth of joy which turns winter into summer. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
John Philips – What can disturb God’s peace? Could some happening in a remote part of the galaxy disturb His peace? Of course not. He is omnipresent, always on the spot. Nothing can take place behind His back. He is right there, no matter where, all the time. Could some diabolical thought of Satan disturb God’s peace? Could some mystery, some obscure idea, some crafty twist of error, or some plot hatched in the demented soul of Lucifer to thwart God’s beneficent purposes and bring new forms of suffering into the universe disturb God’s peace? Of course not. God is omniscient. He knows all the wiles of the evil one and in His infallible wisdom has anticipated and annulled every one of them. Satan’s deep counsels are just so much gibberish to God, however clever and sophisticated they may seem to us. Can all the might of the gates of Hell (Matthew 16:18) disturb God’s peace? Of course not. He is omnipotent.
He can command galaxies and create atoms. He can toss stars into space and hold satellites whirling at inconceivable velocities on their orbits. There is no physical, moral, or spiritual power that He does not rule with consummate skill and tireless ease—not in Heaven or earth or Hell, not now or ever. Nothing can ruffle the peace of God. It is a calm beyond all storms, a rest beyond all strife, a haven beyond all tempestuous seas. The peace of God is majestic and sublime.
Did Soviet atheism and militarism disturb God’s peace? Was He intimidated by the size of the Russian army, by the success of Soviet propaganda, or by the worldwide presence of the KGB? Of course not. Long ago He wrote Russia’s doom into His Book. In Paul’s day, was God upset by Nero? When that evil man burned Rome, blamed the Christians, and began a persecution rarely surpassed in history, did he take God by surprise? Did God hastily cut short the day of grace and summon Michael to usher in Armageddon then and there?
No. His peace was undisturbed. All was foreknown. We do not know why God held back His hand then or why He holds it back now, but “we’ll understand it better by and by.” The unfathomable peace of the God who controls the universe and pursues a faultless purpose, is the peace that Paul commended to his Philippian friends. Their arguing should vanish in the infinite calm of God’s peace. (Exploring Philippians: An Expository Commentary)
Rod Mattoon – Peace possessed by one who has health, wealth, friends, and loved ones is understandable, but the peace of God in the midst of trials and tribulation is different. The peace of God that passeth understanding is peace so precious, that man’s mind, with his skill and knowledge, can never produce it. It can never be of man’s contriving. It is only of God’s giving. This world demands a price for peace but it cannot deliver the goods after the price has been paid. The price for the peace of God has been paid for us, for the Lord Jesus Christ made peace through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20). (Mattoon’s Treasures – Treasures from Philippians)
Pulpit Commentary – God’s Peace
I. What it is. God’s own peace; that which he himself possesses. It is the peace which our Lord had and which he promised to his disciples: “My peace I give unto you.” It is, therefore, no mere superficial freedom from external troubles, but a deep-seated harmony with God the Source of all peace. Thus it transcends human understanding and human expression.
II. What prevents our possessing it? Over-anxiety and worry. These are a kind of practical atheism, since they prevent us from leaving all things to Him Who is supreme over all circumstances.
III. How to obtain it. By prayer, which rests upon Him for all things; by supplication, which brings our own special causes for anxiety into His presence; by thanksgiving, which recognizes that His will must be full of blessing. By thus turning our cares into prayers we throw them upon him who gives us in return His peace.
IV. What it does for us. It keeps our hearts and minds, preserving them from undue anxiety, and making them realize the strength of the peace which Christ bestows. How do these words come home with sublime force at the end of our Communion Service! Having received him who is our Peace (Eph 2:14), we have entered into and taken possession of the peace of God which passeth all understanding.—V. W. H.
The peace of God is a sense of holy repose and complacency which floods the soul of the believer when he is leaning hard upon God. Frances Ridley Havergal conveyed this truth beautifully in the words of the hymn Like a River Glorious…
Like a River Glorious
Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blessed;
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.
Source: Precept Austin.org