“Gentlemen may cry, ‘peace, peace’; but there is no peace. The war has actually begun.” Those words, uttered by Patrick Henry at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, warned Colonists that the war was already raging.
Henry’s proclamation actually came from the book of Jeremiah, who criticized false prophets who said: “…‘Peace, peace’…when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11). According to the false prophets, God was quite happy with His people and wanted to bless them.
Jeremiah, however, was like a doctor delivering bad news to his patient. His diagnosis was that, unless drastic measures were taken, the patient would die. Jeremiah reminded the people of Israel and us that it’s easy to ignore spiritual decline in our own souls and in those around us. We can act like nothing is wrong, but deep within, we know we don’t have peace.
Yet the hunger for peace permeates every fiber of the human heart. We long for tranquility within us and around us. The Hebrew language calls it “Shalom.” We seek peace, however, in phony substitutes when the real need is a right relationship with the God who knows all about us. Only that produces peace.
The first step to peace comes in the words of the Apostle Paul, who wrote, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We only have peace when we know we are right with God through faith in the work of Christ.
Once we have peace with God, we can experience the peace of God. We’re even reminded: “…In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6b,7).
In a season when “peace on earth” is often mentioned, nothing is better than peace with God which produces the peace of God!
Written by Bob Fetterhoff, who served as the Charis Fellowship executive director from 2010–2013. Bob is the president of the ministry Walk the Bible.