“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”[2 Corinthians 1:2]
Having greeted the Corinthians with the word grace, Paul now adds peace to his greeting.
What is it that keeps you together when everything is falling apart? When the marriage partner walks out? What the doctor gives the diagnosis that you never wanted to hear? When the trial you are going through seems impossible to bear? It is the knowledge that God is still in control, and allowing God’s peace to rule in your mind and heart. Writing to the Colossians Paul says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” [Colossians 3:15 ESV]. And so, Paul gives this wonderful greeting to the Church in Corinth, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
What the Bible says about peace is far deeper and more powerful than the way in which peace is often presented. It is far more than the absence of strife. The Hebrew word translated as peace is shalom, meaning completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquillity, prosperity, fullness, perfectness, rest, harmony: the absence of agitation and discord. ‘Shalom’ comes from the root verb shalam, meaning to be complete, perfect, and full. The Greek word translated as peace is eirẽnẽ and is used to describe the calmness that a nation enjoys when it has a caring, competent and secure leader. Having this kind of peace means having tranquillity in your heart that originates from the understanding that your life is truly in the hands of a loving God. It means experiencing quiet in your inner self.
God’s Word is full of wonderful promises about peace, but perhaps the most wonderful is: “The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” [Philippians 4:7]. When you have peace, and with God’s grace you can handle every situation.
This peace is only found in Jesus Christ – the world cannot give it to you. It is supernatural and doesn’t make sense to the natural mind. This kind of peace is not dependent upon circumstances. It is a settled rest, a sense of security, wellbeing and rightness. This peace is protective because it guards the heart and the mind. The word, keep in Philippians 4:7 can be translated as umpire or garrison. Literally, if there is a sense that something is wrong, and disturbs the inner peace that God gives, then don’t go there! All God’s paths are righteousness and all His ways are ways of peace!
Why is the peace of God so important for the Christian? What are the things that might hinder a person from enjoying God’s peace on a moment-by-moment basis in their life?
Why not repeat out loud over and over again the different meanings of the word shalom, and allow them to flood every part of your life?