Peace may be defined as tranquillity; and it has two aspects – external and internal tranquillity.
External and Internal Tranquillity
External peace implies tranquillity between individuals, groups and nations. We will only discuss this type of peace as between God and us.
Internal peace exists within an individual, regardless of others, and it is not dependent on his relations to others from the standpoint of tranquillity. Consecrated Christians should be able to maintain this peace, despite the hostility of others. Internal peace consists of two parts: one is of the intellect, and the other of the heart.
Intellectual peace is the tranquillity of the mind that operates toward mental matters, such as when problems arise that need solutions. Whatever the nature of the problems, the mind rests at ease amid them. The Apostle describes this type of peace in Philippians 4: 7: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The other part of peace is a matter of the heart, which includes both the affections and the will. For the consecrated, who are dead to self and the world and alive to God, peace rules the affections and the will in toward and untoward conditions and experiences.
Peace with God
The Bible teaches that there are two forms of peace: peace with God and the peace of God. The first of these is the rest of heart and mind that comes from the faith that God is pleased with us on the basis of our faith in His promise for the sake of Christ’s merit to forgive us our sins, to impute to us Christ’s righteousness as ours and to receive us into fellowship and friendship with Himself.
Peace with God comes to us when we enter into the condition of tentative justification (Romans 5: 1). It means that one has become reconciled to God from his former condition of alienation, of enmity in mind by wicked works (Colossians 1: 21) – that he has turned his back on sin and is seeking to walk in the path of righteousness. This is a step of faith, and is accompanied by reformation of life.
The Peace of God
But there is a deeper kind of peace than that of justification, that is, the peace of consecration, which is Scripturally called the peace of God (Philippians 4: 7) (Colossians 3: 15). This expression peace of God primarily means the tranquillity of heart and mind that God Himself has in His heart and mind. It is the rest of disposition that comes from a consciousness that all His plans and purposes will progress unto complete success by the harmonious operation of His Wisdom, Power, Justice and Love, in establishing eternally truth and righteousness throughout the universe in the faithful, and in the eternal destruction of all error and unrighteousness and those incorrigibly in harmony therewith.
Secondarily, this expression means a peace in the hearts and minds of God’s people like the peace that God has in His heart and mind. Jesus had this peace while in the flesh at His First Advent, and He still has it. It is the precious legacy that Jesus left with His disciples as He approached the end of His earthly ministry, saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14: 27), and again, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33). This was truly a legacy of priceless value to God’s consecrated ones of the Gospel Age!
This peace can come only to those who have consecrated their lives to God. They adopt God’s plans and purposes as their own, which enables them to actively cooperate in furthering those plans and purposes. As they carry out their consecration faithfully day by day, this peace of God rules their hearts, even amid turmoil and trouble. This inward tranquillity and rest is the direct result of a close personal relationship with God, which only He can give, and which only His own can fully know.