Galatians 5:22-23 When we make peace in God, we secure a legacy of peace for future generations.

Galatians 5:22-23 When we make peace in God, we secure a legacy of peace for future generations.

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.

Background

The biblical notion of peace or Shalom differs from the modern notion of peace which means an absence of conflict. But the biblical notion of peace means so much more… it connotes safety, fullness and holiness in mind, body and estate. Peace begins with the indwelling Spirit through which we attain peace in God… which leads to peace in ourselves, and peace in others. And eventually peace in all our endeavours and our descendants. In today’s devotion, we learn: When we make peace in God, we secure a legacy of peace for future generations.

Observation

But the fruit of the Spirit is… peace.

Historians agree that Jesus and His disciples spoke primarily in Aramaic, a dialect of a Semantic family of languages of which, Hebrew is also a dialect. Peace, is translated from Shalom (Hebrew) or Shlama (Aramaic). The biblical notion of peace (Shalom) differs from that of the common western definition of peace, which is the absence of conflict or war. Shalom means so much more… “to be safe in mind, body or estate.” It connotes inner completeness, fullness or holiness that encourages one to give back to society, and the wellbeing of the world. Priests in biblical times employ the Aaronic benediction below to bless the sons of Israel:

“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’” – Numbers 6:23-26

Contextually speaking, the above is employed for the purpose of getting the Israelites ready to conquer the Promised Land. If the biblical notion of peace means “the absence of war or conflict”, this does not make sense. Jesus Himself clarified that His mission is not to bring to humanity a worldly kind of peace, but eternal peace or Shalom under the rule of God,

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set A man against his father, and A daughter against her mother, and A daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Matthew 10:34-35

When Jesus said, Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful…” John 14:27. Jesus distinguished Shalom (my peace I give to you) from peace (as the world gives). This can be understood as: There is no true and lasting peace or Shalom apart from the rule of Jesus in man’s life. Or in a fuller sense… Jesus gives us authority to establish peace or Shalom in our world. There is no better way to illustrate Shalom than this scene at creation…

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2

Here, the terrible uninhabitable waste of an earth that was formless and void is seen in perfect subservience to God. The Spirit of God rests in a state of Shalom while asserting sovereign control over the otherwise uncontainable evil and chaos of the primeval elements. It is this Shalom that Jesus will employ to establish God’s kingdom in the world. Jesus demonstrated His authority to command Shalom in the midst of a storm when He rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm (Mark 4:39). In a broader sense, Jesus, having overcome the world (through His resurrection) was appointed to sit at God’s right hand far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (see Ephesians 1:21). Jesus, having obtained supreme authority proceeded to establish eternal Shalom in the world. How? By entrusting to those whom He deems as worthy by raising us, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 2:6). Because we are raised with Him, we receive from Him divine wisdom and authority to rule and establish Shalom in the world.

Truth

When we make peace in God, we secure a legacy of peace for future generations.

In the previous article, we see divine love being expressed in one’s desire to be one with Christ. Love in essence, is to be divine as Christ is divine,… to be wise as He is wise,… to be virtuous as He is virtuous and… to assert divine authority as Christ asserts His authority over creation. This is expressed in the great commandment: “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind…” (Luke 10:27a).

Now, divine peace is built on the foundation of God’s love. When we unite ourselves with God in divine love, we acquire divine peace through the Holy Spirit. Peace does not arise out of a vacuum, it emanates from the God of peace. Therefore, by first making peace with God (by uniting with God), we receive the Holy Spirit to make peace in ourselves. In the process, we learn to forgive and sanctify ourselves of the sinful nature. This in turn causes us to make peace with and in others… in forgiving others and putting the interest of the community before our own. In so doing, we create a legacy of peace and prosperity in our future generations.

Peace in God.

To be at peace in God is to be reconciled with God, to be called His son. Here, we come to acknowledge God as our Father, and to die to our wilful nature. With God as our Father, we are kept safe from all harm and evil. In the process, we come to terms with God’s plans for our lives and die to our own plans. One who do not set aside his own plans and deny his former self can never be at peace with God. Paul expresses peace with God this way,

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

We make peace in God by continually reminding ourselves of who we are. In establishing our identity as sons of God, we void our allegiance to the world and commit to loving our God with all our hearts. In making peace with God, we grow in His image and given divine authority to rule with Christ.

Peace in ourselves.

Only when we have made up our minds to be at peace in God, can we be at peace with and in ourselves. Making peace in ourselves is synonymous to putting Christ’s attributes within us. It involves letting go of fear knowing that Christ has taken onto Himself our punishments. And secondly, to die to our former selves by putting on Christ’s attributes. This process involves the daily discipline of reading God’s word and self-reflection. That said, peace in God without making peace in ourselves carries no real benefit. It is like one looking into the mirror, and having seen the dirt on his own face immediately leaves without cleaning himself. When we reflect on ourselves in the light of God’s holiness, Christ’s blood cleanses our sinful attitudes and habits. In making peace in ourselves, we begin to desire in our hearts like Jesus desires, and perceive like Jesus perceives and to act like Jesus acts. Paul has this to say concerning the effects of divine peace,

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:7-9

In the process of making peace in ourselves, we infuse our hearts and minds with “these things” or heavenly things while keeping negative things from entering our minds.

Having made peace in God and in ourselves, we become complete and empowered as His sons, being assured of our forgiveness, safety and prosperity. It is here that our peace begins to overflow to the people around us making them complete.

Peace in others.

The people in much of the world are suffering not for the lack of food and physical provisions, but for the lack of peace. Paul had this to say,

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. Colossians 3:15

The peace of Christ (or the fullness of Christ) that rule in our hearts ought to overflow into the community. Through what means? Through a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (see Colossians 3:12b-13). In other words, whatever we do in word or deed, we emulate Christ (see Colossians 3:17a). In so doing, we remove strifes, enmities by establishing peace and wholesomeness in our communities. Proverbs says concerning those who make peace in God and in others,

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7.

Peace in our legacy.

Peace in God leads to peace in ourselves, which leads to peace in others and eventually the legacy of peace in our future generations. The prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the peace that will come upon those who walk in the Holy Spirit,

15 Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high,
And the wilderness becomes a fertile field,
And the fertile field is considered as a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness
And righteousness will abide in the fertile field.
17 And the work of righteousness will be peace,
And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
18 Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation,
And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.
Isaiah 32:15-18

Here is a beautiful picture of peace coming upon those who walk in the Spirit. For such will prosper in all their endeavours: And the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest. They will establish justice, righteousness and prosperity in the land: Then justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will abide in the fertile field. And there will be for their future generations a legacy of peace: Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.

It is important to note that peace begins with the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer. Without the Spirit, man can never be at peace in God, at peace in himself or in one another. And mankind will be destined for eternal destruction. Therefore, let us persevere in making peace in God through the Spirit, in ourselves, and in others while asserting our divine authority of peace. Let us walk in the Spirit and see a rising legacy of peace in future generations.

Application

Make peace in yourself knowing that Christ through His mercy has taken our punishment. This gift of forgiveness has freed us from the fear of retribution. With gratefulness, we give ourselves fully to serve God and accomplish His will. Stop condemning yourself for your past mistakes, but take joy for having been freed from the prison of sin and darkness. Do not return and be imprisoned by sin.

Make peace with and in others by forgiving those who have hurt you. Put the interest of the community above the ourselves and consider others as more important ourselves (see Philippians 2:3-4). Make it our goal to work for the good of the community by offering our time and resources.

Bring peace into our legacy by being a peacemaker. A peacemaker is one who brings peace into the world by establishing justice and righteousness. For the sons of God will be exemplarary in bearing the legacy and hallmark of peace in all that they say and do (see Matthew 5:9). And their descendants will experience enduring peace.

Dear Lord, I thank you for putting the Spirit of peace within me. As I make peace with myself, sanctify me and cause me to be make peace with others. Use me to unify the community in love, justice and godliness. Use me to create an enduring legacy of peace in the church and in my descendants. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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