Let us now pick up our investigation of the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit described by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 with “peace:”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
The Greek word translated here as “peace” is eirene, defined by Thayer’s as:
1) a state of national tranquillity
1a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war
2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
4) of the Messiah’s peace
4a) the way that leads to peace (salvation)
5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death
For our purposes in this discussion of peace we ought to keep the fourth and fifth definitions in mind, for they most accurately describe the peace which is a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of a Christian.
This term is constantly used in the New Testament as a part of both the salutation and the conclusion of letters (Romans 1:7, Romans 15:33, 1 Peter 1:2, 1 Peter 5:14, etc.). Peace is explained as the result of having called upon Christ and being one of His children (Romans 2:10 and Romans 8:6). Peace is also one of the three characteristics of the Kingdom of God listed in Romans 10:17; it is also established in Ephesians 2:11-18 that Christ established our peace by abolishing the Law of Moses through the cross.
Another main use of the term “peace” is in regard to the relationships among brethren. Paul explains our task of establishing peace in Romans 14:19, 2 Corinthians 3:11, and Ephesians 4:1-3:
So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfected; be comforted; be of the same mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This peace may be achieved if we follow the advice of Paul in Colossians 3:15:
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.
It is well-established in the annals of history that when a country is at war with an external enemy, internal schism will often lead to the failure of that war while internal unity and peace facilitates a better outcome. Essentially, we must ask ourselves: if we are at war against ourselves, how will we be able to combat sin and worldliness successfully? How can the members of the church be at odds against one another and yet also combat the sin which so easily besets us? It is imperative that we work diligently for the peace that ought to exist among brethren so that we may all be more successful in our struggle against the powers of darkness.
As we continue our walk with Christ on this earth, we must not neglect the peace which ought to characterize our souls and our relationships with one another. When peace in Christ is present there is no need for worry or concern, as has been promised in Philippians 4:6-7:
In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
We should understand that many awesome burdens have been lifted from our shoulders by Christ, for He has given us a way of escaping from our sins and has pointed us onto the path of righteousness. He is able to take care of us and leave us with no need for worldly concerns which often conquer the lives and thoughts of men. If we truly believe in Christ and His promises, and we are living faithfully to His commandments, why would we not have complete peace? What should we be concerned about? We should heed well the advice Peter gives to us in 2 Peter 3:11-14:
Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight.
Peace is another manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit which ought to characterize not only our perspective on our existence but also the way we live with our brethren. We of all people have the right to peace, since our Lord has removed all of our burdens of sin and worry from us. If we feel, as we often do, that there are many concerns, fears, and sins in our lives, then we must take all of these to our Lord in prayer so that we may achieve the peace in Christ Jesus. We must also work diligently for peace among brethren, for this leads to the edification of all and a renewed spirit for continuing the fight against sin and darkness. This manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, as with the others, facilitates the demonstration of the other characteristics; for instance, if our souls are at peace we are more likely to be joyful, and if we love as we ought our lives will be full of peace. We must recognize the significant role that peace ought to play in the life of a Christian, as the Lord will be satisfied with us only if He returns to find us in peace. Shall we continue to expend our energies on worries and disagreements that can only distract us from the fight against sin, or shall we strive for the peace and unity that is to be found in truly following Christ Jesus?
And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).