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PEACE WITH GOD, AND THE PEACE OF GOD.
EACE with God is ours PEACE by our simple acceptance of it through faith. Christ Jesus "having made peace through the blood of His cross," our reconciliation with the Father is already accomplished. Faith has only to accept it and rest in it as a part of the Redeemer's finished work. Here is a matter of fact, not a matter of feeling. Faith does not create anything or change anything; it simply apprehends what is and counts it true.
“The lightning's flash did not create
It only showed the real state
Of what the darkness had concealed."
"O Lord, open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." wondrous things are there already atonement, redemption, peace-all these are accomplished realities, standing for their support alone in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We only need sight to behold them, and a believing trust to rest in them. When after a foreign war our nation had sent ambassadors abroad to treat with the foe and
they had returned, only the one word "Peace" was shouted out from the ship that brought them into harbour, and in a few hours all the city was thrilling with joyful congratulations. * It was the truth that a reconciliation had been effected that brought this happy peace of mind to the people; it was not their peace of mind that brought the reconciliation. In other words, fact supplied the ground for feeling, and not feeling for fact.
"Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God." The faith which rests on Him who "is our Peace"; which trusts in Him who has "slain the enmity, so making peace"; which credits Him who "came and preached peace" t-this it is which brings a true sense of reconcilement to God. In other words, it is Christ's work for us that gives us peace with God, and not Christ's work in us. Talk we about making peace with God! That we cannot do, and are not required to do, since the Lord has done it for us already.
"Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the sons of God." Here as elsewhere our Lord Jesus, the strong Son of God, has the highest beatitude. He is the great Peace-maker, mighty to save because a partaker of God's almightiness, and therefore alone of all the sons of men able to accept God's challenge, "Let him take hold of My strength that he may make peace with Me, and
he shall make peace with Me." So then our peace with God rests solidly and solely upon the finished work of Christ.
The peace of God is quite another matter, depending for its reality on the work of the Holy Spirit within us. This is an inward experience, as the other was an outward fact. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts," † says the Apostle. The holy calm in which God dwells-without fear, without disquiet, without forebodings-can be so imparted to our souls, and by the Spirit of the Lord so translated into our personal experience that it shall become as truly ours as it is His. This is the soul's inward millennium, enjoyed while we are yet in the militant condition. Just as our Master said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace; in the world ye shall have tribulation." It is God's calm amidst the earthly tumult enabling its possessor to enjoy "the most quiet and peaceful liberty, being uplifted above all fear and agitation of mind concerning death or hell, or any other things which might happen to the soul either in time or in eternity."§ "My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you." The world endeavours to effect an outward quiet, Christ gives an inward quiet; the one seeks rest from conflict, the other gives rest in conflict. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee,
* Isa xxvii. 5.
John xvi. 33, xiv. 27. § Tauler, 1290-1361.
because he trusteth in Thee.” * As the ship's chronometer maintains its stable rest and poise amid all the heaving and agitations of the vessel, because stayed upon the solid globe, its double bearings releasing it from the influence of the ship and yielding it up to the influence of the earth's gravity, so the believer will be held in quiet, who, letting go of earthly anxieties, yields himself utterly and without reserve to the sway of the divine will. As saith the Scripture again, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Now this peace is distinctly named as one of the fruits of the Spirit; and they who have received the second blessing of the sealing of the Holy Ghost, have often entered into this second peace and been filled with its unspeakable joy.
Let us give a marked example of such an experience.
"But do you see it in your own heart?" was the penetrating question of Mr. Haldane which led to Merle D'Aubigne's conversion. He saw the doctrine of the new birth theologically and as
tained in Scripture; but as yet he had not known it experimentally, as written in the heart. And now, while at the University in Geneva, he tells us that he sought and "experienced the joys of the † Phil. iv. 7.
* Isa. xxvi. 3.
new birth." Being justified by faith, he had peace with God; he knew himself forgiven and accepted. But still he lacked perfect joy and the peace of God keeping his heart and mind.
Some years after his conversion, he and two intimate friends, Frederick Monod and Charles Rieu, were found at an inn at Kiel, where the chances of travel had detained them, searching the word of God together for its hidden riches. D'Aubigne thus tells the story of what there passed in his own soul :
"We were studying the Epistle to the Ephesians, and had got to the end of the third chapter, where we read the last two verses-'Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory,' etc. This expression fell upon my soul as a revelation from God. 'He can do by His power,' I said to myself, 'above all that we ask, above all even that we think; nay, exceeding abundantly above all.' A full trust in Christ for the work to be done within my poor heart now filled my soul. We all three knelt down, and, although I had never fully confided my inward struggles to my friends, the prayer of Rieu was filled with such admirable faith as he would have
uttered had he known all my wants. When I arose, in that inn room at Kiel, I felt as if my 'wings were renewed as the wings of eagles.' From that time forward I comprehended that all my own efforts were of no avail; that Christ was able to do all by His 'power that worketh in us,' and the habitual attitude of my soul was, to lie at the foot of the cross, crying to Him, 'Here am I, bound hand and foot, unable to move, unable to do the least thing to get