Profiting from the New Testament Emphasis on the God of Peace

May 17, 2014

The New Testament writers profoundly emphasize peace from God in their opening remarks to various believers and churches (16 Epistles have such statements in their opening chapters; Paul—13x; Peter—2x; John 1x).[1] I have heard preaching and teaching on this striking emphasis that has profited me profited greatly.

I do not recall hearing much preaching or teaching at all about a closely related NT emphasis—apostolic statements about God as the God of peace. An examination of these statements shows that they provide rich revelation about God that He wants us to profit from as well.

Rich New Testament Teaching about the God of Peace

Seven statements about God as the God of peace occur in six NT epistles:

Rom 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Rom 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Phi 4:9 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.

1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

2Th 3:16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

These statements reveal some key truths:

—The truth of God as the God of peace was a vital aspect of Paul’s conception of who our God is, including the fact that not only is God the God of peace, but also He is the Lord of peace who Himself gives us peace.

—Paul desired that God as the God of peace would be with believers and repeatedly made known that desire to them (Rom. 15:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9; cf. also 2 Thess. 3:16).

—Paul made known that prayer to the God of peace for His presence with believers was not enough to assure that He would be with them; believers would also have to live rightly in order to have His presence with them as He desires it to be (2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9).

—Paul’s conception of God as the God of peace went far beyond His being the One who keeps believers from having conflict in their lives, which is how many believers mainly understand the meaning of the term peace. Not only did he pray to the God of peace as the One who wholly sanctifies us (1 Thess. 5:23), but also he made known that He is the One who will completely destroy Satan under our feet one day (Rom. 15:33).

—The writer of Hebrews makes known that God as the God of peace was the One who raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Heb. 13:20)! He also taught that as the God of peace, God is the One who makes us perfect in everything to accomplish His will (Heb. 13:21)!

What We Should Do With This Rich Teaching

Based on the glorious NT revelation about God as the God of peace, we should do the following:

—We should meditate deeply on God as the God of peace and all that it means.

—We should live the kinds of lives that Paul teaches us we must so that we will have the God of peace be with us, as He desires to be (2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9).

—We should keep in mind that when we strive to live such lives, we are not being legalistic; rather, we are heeding apostolic revelation that the God of peace Himself has given us for our profiting to that end.

—We should talk about God as the God of peace with other believers and help them to understand the importance of that teaching.

—We should pray that the God of peace would be with us and with all other believers (Rom. 15:33).

—We should pray to the God of peace specifically as Paul (1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 3:16) and the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 13:20-21) did.


 

[1] Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2; 2 John 1:3; Paul also closes Ephesians with a similar statement (Eph. 6:23).

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