Now I beseech you, brothers, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit…
I. GOD IS THE ORIGINAL POSSESSOR OF THIS BLESSING, IN ITS ETERNAL AND INFINITE FULNESS. In the Divine nature all is in harmony, because all is perfect. Truth, justice, wisdom, and goodness, are in the nature of things consistent with themselves and with each other. If it were possible for the infinite nature to be swayed by storms of passion, and changed by course of time and events, for the hand that upholds all worlds to tremble — even the destruction of all worlds would be a less calamity than this. But this is the one grand impossibility; "Though we believe not, He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself." And since there is no discord, strife or change in His nature, these must arise from something contrary to it. He can have no delight in them. His works must reflect His character, and He must delight to fill and bless the hearts of His creatures with the image of His own Divine peace.
II. GOD IS THE AUTHOR AND GIVER OF PEACE.
1. Between Himself and His sinful creatures. The first announcement of the gospel was "Peace on earth," its first invitation, "Acquaint thyself with Him, and be at peace." The Word of God sounds, indeed, an awful note of alarm against those who are resting in a false peace. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." But this is only like the cry of "fire!" when you are asleep, and your roof is burning over you; or of "breakers a-head!" when your ship is driving on towards a lee shore. You are told your danger that you may escape it. If you will lay down your arms and fling open the gates to receive your King, He will enter, not as an Avenger or a Judge, but a Redeemer and Friend (Isaiah 1:19). Peace with God's law, or in other words, freedom from condemnation, is the first blessing which the gospel offers. As soon as we believe in it, it is ours (1 John 1:9; Romans 5:1). The cause of this exercise, of God's pardoning mercy, is His love to His guilty child. And the end for which it is bestowed is to bring back the estranged heart, and fill it with love to Him. So the peace which God offers is not merely peace with the law, but peace with Himself.
2. God makes the heart at peace with itself. The carnal heart is at enmity not only with God, but with itself. Pleasure it may have, but not peace. Sin has destroyed the balance of our nature, which only the influence of God's Spirit can either preserve or restore. The love of God being absent, the ruling affection of the soul is wanting. First, the word of Christ applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, brings back God to the throne of the heart, and love to Him becomes the ruling affection. Next, this puts the law of God in a wholly new light. Its condemning terror being taken away by the blood of the Cross, we find that, instead of an enemy, it is a friend. So the schism between duty and inclination, law and love, conscience and will, is healed. Then, as nothing so divides the soul as the multitude of varying aims, and nothing so unites it as to have all its powers absorbed in one practical pursuit; the gospel gives us a single object, and that the noblest to live for — the glory of Christ; and a single hope, and that the most precious and certain — eternal life in inseparable union with Christ and His Church.
3. When the soul is thus at peace with God, and at peace with itself, it is comparatively an easy thing to keep it at peace in the midst of all outward causes of trouble. He could easily, if He pleased, keep us out of the reach of trouble; but He sees it fitter and happier to make us experience His power to give peace in the midst of it. He has given us our hope in Him "as the anchor of the soul," and He will have it proved in the storm. And the greatest triumph of Divine peace is that which our Saviour promises, "These things have I spoken unto you that in Me ye might have peace" (Isaiah 26:3).
4. The fullest manifestation of God's character as the God of peace is to be revealed and enjoyed hereafter. There is a world of peace. There remaineth a rest for the people of God.
(E. R. Conder, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;