The Bible is a book about peace. It contains nearly 400 references to peace—
peace of God, peace with God, peace among men both on national and individual levels. Peace is referred to 88 times in the New Testament and is found in each of its books. There is hardly an experience more sought after than peace. Paul begins each of his letters with a prayer that grace and peace may be upon the people to whom he writes.
Peace in the Bible is more than the absence of war. It is a positive experience and signifies the presence of all that is good and wonderful. The Hebrew word shalom contains in it the desire for all the goodness that God can give—a total well-being of body, mind and spirit. Peace is a creative force and a peacemaker is a person who releases this creative force to change his world.
The source of peace is God. Six times in the New Testament God the Father is referred to as the “God of peace.” Jesus is revealed as God’s peacemaker. “He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). John 14:27 has been called the last will and testament of Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” The source of peace is God.
The enemy of peace is sin. People are at war with each other because they are at war with themselves. They are at war with themselves because they are at war with God.
This peace involves a man’s relationship to himself. It also involves man’s relationship to his fellow man. A false peace gives the impression that the problems have been resolved when they have only been covered over. The quieting of the surface when the depths are still stormy is no lasting solution.
In the Beatitudes, the people who are blessed are not the peace lovers but the peacemakers. You may be a peaceable man without being a peacemaker. The peace of this beatitude does not come from evading issues but by facing them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke of “cheap grace.” There is also cheap peace.
A Chinese proverb reads: “When there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”
Bramwell H. Tillsley, The War Cry