And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I. AN UNSPEAKABLE PRIVILEGE.
1. It is peace with God. Reconciliation there must be, and the soul must be aware of it. A man conscious of being guilty can never know it till he becomes equally conscious of being forgiven. Your sin was the ground of the quarrel, but it is east into the depths of the sea. There is nothing now that can cause the anger of God towards us. We are accepted in the Beloved, and thus have a profound sense of peace.
2. A consequent peace in the little kingdom within. By nature everything in our inner nature is at war with itself. The passions, instead of being curbed by the reason, often holds the reins; and reason, instead of being guided by Divine knowledge, chooses to obey a depraved imagination, and demands to become a separate power and to judge God Himself. There is no cure for this but restoring grace. The King must occupy the throne, and then the state of Mansoul will be settled.
3. A peace in reference to outward circumstances. The man who is reconciled to God by Christ has nothing outside him that he needs fear. Is he poor? He rejoices that Christ makes poor men rich. Does he prosper? He rejoices that there is grace which prevents his prosperity intoxicating him. Is he in trouble? He thanks God for the promise that as His day so his strength shall be. In death the hope of the resurrection gives peace to his pillow; and as for judgment, he knows whom he has believed and knows who will protect him in that day. Whatever may be suggested to distress him, deep down in his soul he cannot be disturbed, because he sees God at the helm of the vessel holding the rudder with a hand that defies the storm.
4. God gives peace in reference to all His commands. The unregenerate soul rebels, but when the change takes place we drop into the same line with God; His will becomes our delight and His statutes our songs.
5. We feel peace with regard to God's providential dealings, because we believe that they are helping us to arrive at conformity with Him.
6. It is a peace which "passeth all understanding." Not only beyond common, or the sinners, but all — deeper, broader, more heavenly than even the joyful saint can tell.
(1) There are kinds of peace which we can understand.
(a) The peace of apathy, to which the Stoics schooled themselves. Their secret is easily discovered. Christianity is not this; it cultivates tenderness, not insensibility, and gives us a peace consistent with the utmost delicacy of feeling.
(b) The peace of levity, which is perfectly understood.
(2) The Christian is often surprised at his own peacefulness. There is a possibility of having the surface of the mind lashed into storm, while yet, deep down, all is still. There are earthquakes, yet the earth pursues the even tenour of its way. It surpasses understanding, but not experience.
II. HOW THIS PEACE IS TO BE OBTAINED. Christians are always at peace with God, but are not always sensible of it. If you wish to realize it hear Paul.
(1) Rejoice in the Lord alway; make God your joy, and place all your joy in Him. You cannot rejoice in yourself, nor in your varying circumstances, but God never changes.
2. Let your moderation be known unto all men. Deal cautiously with earthly things. If any man praises don't exult; if you are censured don't despond. Take matters quietly.
3. Be careful for nothing. Leave your care with God.
4. Pray about everything. That which we pray over will have the sting taken out of it if it be evil, and the sweetness of it will be sanctified if it be good.
5. Be thankful for anything. Thankfulness is the mother and nurse of restfulness. Neglected praises sour into unquiet forebodings.
III. THE OPERATION OF THIS BLESSED PRIVILEGE ON OUR HEARTS AND MINDS.
1. Our hearts want keeping —
(1) From sinking, for they are very apt to faint even under small trials.
(2) From wandering, for how soon are they beguiled? A quiet spirit will neither sink nor wander. Like the life buoy, it will rise above the billows and keep its place.
2. Our minds want keeping. In all ages the minds of Christians have been apt to be disturbed on vital truths. But these truths are known to consciousness, and having brought peace to the mind, keep it in perfect peace.
IV. THE SPHERE OF ITS ACTION — "In Christ Jesus." There is no peace out of Him. He is our peace.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.