But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The fruit of the Spirit is each one a characteristic of Christ and what it is we as followers of Jesus should be. Another description of Jesus Christ’s character is the description of love written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. It reads,
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
The trait I want to look at today is peace. As we have noticed with all the attributes of Christ’s nature so far one attribute cannot be extricated from the others and survive intact. It is the same with peace. Now there are two kinds of peace and we will look at both of them, but my thesis statement for this study is that both kinds of peace are the same peace and both are possible only through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.
The Greek work for peace in Galatians 5:22 is eirhnh. It is defined as peace either literally meaning the absence of conflict and chaos or figuratively meaning prosperity, quietness, rest, and made to be one again. It is from the Greek word eiro which means to join again. Both definitions for peace are present in the one word, the absence of conflict and tranquility. What we are talking about specifically here is absence of conflict with God and people and calm of the heart and mind.
Perhaps you do not feel the peace you know Christians are supposed to experience. Today’s study will help you understand what that peace is and how it can be yours. Psalm 85:8-13 says,
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.
We turn to God first, He speaks peace to us. When God speaks, His will is brought about. He speaks and it is. We have the choice to listen or not, we have the choice to accept His peace or not. Jesus is the Word of God, God’s will brought about and demonstrated. Jesus is who brings up peace, first with God as He removes conflict by gracefully forgiving every wrongdoing, everything that is outside of God’s will for us and bringing us into a relationship with God. Romans 5:1-2 says it like this,
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Salvation that only comes trough Jesus Christ brings us peace with God. God’s amazing steadfast, perseverant, never-ending love allows us to have faith, to trust that God is who He says he is, to know that His promises are never broken and that He is the Yes and the Amen. 1 Corinthians 1:20-22 reads,
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
That is what Psalm 85:10 means when it says love and faithfulness meet. God loves us and gives us faith, we love God and our faith increases. That love, salvation by faith alone gives us righteousness (Romans 3:22). And that righteousness gives us peace with God. We are no longer at conflict with Him but at peace with Him and He is with us. That is peace of mind and heart, knowing God is with us and therefore, nothing can stand against us or take us away from that Him (Romans 8:31-39).
Righteousness brings us further peace as well. Imagine you have done something wrong, let’s say you are driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. For many it is not imagination, it is a memory from half an hour ago. Now, imagine you see a police car. What happens in your heart and mind? There is for most a momentary panic, a foot pressing the brake, and then the minutes of fear about whether you have been caught. Your thoughts race with the questions of getting stopped and cited. Perhaps that leads to wondering where you will come up with the money to pay a fine. Whatever peaceful feelings you may have had or thought you had are gone. But if you had been traveling the speed limit, had done the right thing, that peacefulness would never have left at the sight of a police officer with a radar gun.
So it is with us, if we consistently choose righteousness over sin, we don’t have anything to be accused of by the accuser of the brethren, the devil. We do not have to be convicted of sin like the world, instead the Holy Spirit convicts the church of righteousness showing us who Christ is and how we can be like Him (VERSE). The traits of Christ are not ethereal, they are tangible, palpable, seen, and demonstrated. If we know this about faith and love, why do we deny that righteousness needs to be lived out? Not so that we are working for salvation, but so that our faith and love are evident, so that the Holy Spirit is evident in our lives. Letting the Holy Spirit work in us, letting Him work brings righteousness and righteousness results in peace.
Isaiah 32:15-20 says this speaking about Jesus Christ’s reign,
until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
19 And it will hail when the forest falls down,
and the city will be utterly laid low.
20 Happy are you who sow beside all waters,
who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.
That peace also comes from trusting God as our Provider. We know we never have to worry about a thing. He provides all the minutia of life, the food, clothes, any need we have if we are seeking His kingdom and righteousness fist (Matthew 6:33).
That peace comes from trusting God in suffering, trials, and trouble. Earlier we read Romans 5:1-2, now let’s read the next verses Romans 5:3-5 reads,
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Do you truly trust that everything even what was meant as evil toward us will be used for good (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28-29)? Then that faith in God’s promise lets you have peace. Do we respond in those difficulties? Yes, but not like the world. We don’t worry, we pray. We don’t freak out, we thank God. We rejoice in the opportunity to show the world who Jesus is and how great God is. We meditate on the goodness of God. Philippians 4:4-9 says it this way,
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
That peace guards your mind and heart in Christ. It keeps you steady, it keeps you walking and the people who see you will not be able to grasp how or why you are sleeping in the bow of the boat while a hurricane blows around you.