Peace is not merely an inner sensation, but an objective state of being. In the Bible it is, first of all, peace with God. This peace does not depend upon a person feeling that God is near or convincing himself that God is bringing him peace. A person can feel peaceful but in fact be in a state of rebellion against God and not be at peace with the Creator.
Such was the case in Jeremiah’s day. The prophet condemned the priests and false prophets who denied there was any danger, when in fact destruction and devastation was approaching.
They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace, Jeremiah 6.14 NLT.
Who is Jeremiah talking about? He has already named them in the previous verse: “From prophets to priests, they are all frauds” v. 13.
The assurances of peace came from the religious leaders. They were leading in sin, not righteousness! They were out front when it came to injustice, immorality, and idolatry. Instead of representing God’s word faithfully, they promoted their own interests.
So it is today. In many religions and even in the church of God, religious leaders are proclaiming a peace that does not exist. Their doctrines make people feel good. Disaster looms, but they cannot see. They refuse to see.
To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the Lord. They don’t want to listen at all. So now I am filled with the Lord’s fury. Yes, I am tired of holding it in! vv. 10-11.
The situation in Jeremiah’s day is parallel to our time. People love to talk about God, Jesus, the Spirit, and the Bible, all the while ignoring the truths revealed in Scripture by the Lord.
So what to do?
Realize, first, that peace with God is to be had only by receiving the propitiation of Jesus Christ. God’s ire against sin and rebellion has been satisfied in Christ’s sacrifice. “He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world” 1 John 2.1 NLT.
We must open our lives to apply that sacrifice to ourselves. We must discover how and when that happens. It’s not hard to discover: in immersion in water. The evidence in the New Testament is overwhelming. The propitiation is “through faith, in his blood” Romans 3.25.When and where does God apply this blood to us? Our “guilty consciences [are] sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean” when “our bodies [are] washed with pure water” Hebrews 10.22. The reference is clearly to immersion in water.
If you have not “obeyed” in order to be “cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1.2, please do that right away! (If you didn’t understand this connection, you haven’t received it!)
Second, live this peace daily. Trust God that he has forgiven you. Be assured that you walk in his approval, when you follow his will. To borrow the words of our Lord spoken in another setting: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” John 14.1 NLT.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4.7b.
Third, live this peace in the midst of God’s people. We were saved in order to live in the community of the saved. God’s love in Christ purified us for the purpose of living in brotherly love, 1 Peter 1.22. So never, ever miss a single meeting of the people of God. This is where peace reigns, as Paul wrote:
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us, Ephesians 2.14 NLT.
Fourth, promote his peace among others. Become one of the blessed peacemakers that Jesus highlights in the opening to the sermon on the mount: “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” Matthew 5.9 NLT. God works for peace, and so do his children. It’s a part of who we are! This is what we do:
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness, James 3.18.