What Saith the Scripture?
Or, What is Required and Received by Those Who Truly Wait for Their LORD
"Thou wilt keep him in Perfect Peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee"
by Tom Stewart
The LORD Jesus promised us tribulation, while we were in this world. "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). However, not only have we been promised deliverance from the Tribulation Week, i.e., "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape ALL these things that shall come to pass [via the Pre-Tribulational Rapture], and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36), but we have been promised His peace while we endure these short testings in the meantime.
Perfect Peace is given only to those whose mind and heart recline upon the LORD, i.e., "whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3). Our peace is perfect because it comes from God. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you" (John 14:27). Further, this peace is not oblivious to the world, but is confident that God is completely in control of our circumstances. "But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
How are we to attain and maintain Perfect Peace?
First of all, peace is evidence that we are walking in the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
Second, peace comes from abiding in the Word of God. "Great peace have they which love Thy Law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psalm 119:165).
Finally, the peace that the LORD Jesus Christ gives, flows from a life that abides in prayer. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 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" (Philippians 4:6-7).
What is Peace?
God's peace was granted to us when we came to Jesus in faith. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). Peace is a product of righteousness, or the "fruit of righteousness" (James 3:18), which righteousness is the "righteousness of faith" (Romans 4:13). "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever" (Isaiah 32:17). Again, Spiritual uprightness is evidenced by the presence of peace in our lives. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace" (Psalm 37:37). Therefore, peace is not simply the lack of conflict with Christ, but the positive presence of the LORD Jesus-- Who "is our peace" (Ephesians 3:14)-- abiding in us by our continual and active confidence in Him. "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14).
Peace and the Spirit Filled Walk
A demonstration of our lack of walking in the Spirit is evidenced by a lack of peace about our circumstances, i.e., "Will the LORD soon Rapture us Home or not?" "To be Spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6). Sinful turmoil and peace cannot dwell together. "Either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24). Likewise, it is impossible to walk in the Spirit, while full of sinful turmoil. "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).
Nothing stumbles us when we are full of God's peace. "Great peace have they which love Thy Law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psalm 119:165). Not that we cannot be startled or surprised, but that we cannot stumble into sinning against God by losing our confidence and peace in Him. "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). By God's grace, we are simply to refuse to be troubled or frightened in our circumstances-- which would cost us our peace-- in obedience to the LORD Jesus' command to not be troubled. "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16).
God's Perfect Peace is a cooperative effort between God and ourselves. He furnishes us with the peace, if we will only trust Him for it. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). Though our faith and obedience to the Truth are necessary to receive God's Perfect Peace, we only obey the Truth to the extent that the Spirit of God works in us. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the Truth through the Spirit" (1Peter 1:22).
To be full of the Spirit is as uncomplicated as obeying a command. "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). Obedience to God is the primary evidence of being filled with the Spirit. "And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32). All the Spiritual gifts are important to the Body, but simple obedience is more important than the sacrifice of ministering any particular Spiritual gift. "Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1Samuel 15:22).
The New Testament literally means the New Covenant, which is the giving of the Holy Spirit to God's people to secure their obedience to God, i.e., the significance of the Acts 2 Pentecost. "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah... But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My People. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:31,33-34).
The reason why the Church has had so many problems with the lack of Perfect Peace, is that the Church has made mundane and meaningless the magnificent indwelling presence of God's Holy Spirit in His people. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1Corinthians 6:19). Terms such as New Testament do not make the modern Church think of an actual New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31) whereby God has promised and already given His Spirit to ensure an obedient and spotless Bride. "Ye are the temple of the Living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (2Corinthians 6:16). We are already living in the time of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36-- 2Corinthians 6:16's parallel-- however, our ignorance of the terms of the New Covenant have caused us to minimize the significance and capabilities of its design. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Great Peace Comes from the Word of God
If we are right with God, the wisdom and understanding that yields Perfect Peace will come from the Word of God. "O LORD: give me understanding according to Thy Word" (Psalms 119:169). If we are not right with God, we will not be able to get peace from God's Word. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21). Wisdom yields peace. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace" (Proverbs 3:17). The most certain way to prevent fear and doubt is to dwell in peace. Perfect Love and Perfect Peace both come from the God of Love and Peace. "Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you" (2Corinthians 13:11). Accordingly, Perfect Love and Perfect Peace cast out fear and doubt. "There is no fear in love; but Perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (1John 4:18).
God's peace is increased in us according to the knowledge the LORD gives to us from His Word. "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our LORD" (2Peter 1:2). God's promises have the designed tendency to produce in us Perfect Peace. "According as His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great And Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:3-4).
Scripture and prayer are so interwoven that emphasis on one will beget emphasis on the other. "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the LORD may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you" (2Thessalonians 3:1). Paul spoke of the "free course" of the Word of the LORD as of the running of a runner on a race course. The unencumbered movement of God's Word in our lives fills us "with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:13).
If we would look at God's Word as a means of grace by which we receive Perfect Peace, then the required time, effort, and concentration would be gladly given. "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Luke 11:9). At times, we do not seek out God's Word to find Perfect Peace, because we are too satisfied with our present circumstances to trouble ourselves with all that seeking. The LORD Jesus compared that level of self-satisfied non-seeking with the difficulty of a rich man entering into the kingdom of God, i.e., the rich man enters not because he truly attempts not. "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). Perfect Peace only comes to those motivated to seek it.
As we are those who believe that the Bible is the very breath of God as He utters His Word-- "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2Timothy 3:16)-- then we would joyfully allow as much of It as possible to enter into us to give us His Perfect Peace. "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (1Thessalonians 2:13). The God of Peace (Romans 16:20) truly desires to impart to us His Perfect Peace because He loves us. "I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him" (Isaiah 57:19). Keep searching the Scriptures to attain and maintain that peace.
The Peace of God Comes and Abides Through Prayer
The simple act of closing your eyes, shuts out the light of the world. But, more importantly, our spiritual eyes ought to be opened to the reality of a Prayer Hearing God. "O Thou That Hearest Prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come" (Psalm 65:2). Immediately, our attention is turned to our "Covenant of Peace" (Ezekiel 34:25) that our LORD maintains with us through the process of prayer. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 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" (Philippians 4:6-7). If we may ask about everything, then we should "be careful for nothing" (4:6). Though we may comprehend the nature of our prayer request, we cannot comprehend the "peace of God" (4:7) that flows from His assurance that all is under His control.
It may seem overly simple, but when we do not have Perfect Peace, we generally have not asked God for that peace. "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24). Childlike faith is so important because children have not been prejudiced by the failures of faith that adults so often carry. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Adults condescend to their little children that their little children would not be so peaceful about their present circumstances if they really understood what was transpiring. Yet, if we come to the LORD Jesus and "doubt not", we will receive our petition. "Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done" (Matthew 21:21).
If Perfect Peace is so great a need and desire, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24). If God has already answered us with enough to meet our needs for today, be at peace. It is His job-- and not ours-- to take care of tomorrow. "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34). As we struggle in unbelief with "what is to become of me?", we divorce ourselves from His Perfect Peace. Instead, petition Him for our needs, then confidently rest and work with the assurance that Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:14) will provide. Our peace will come and flow like a river. "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees" (Isaiah 66:12).
Concerning our certainty about the fulfillment of prophecy and the future, we cannot have Perfect Peace without specific petition for the fulfillment of those future events. "Thus saith the LORD GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them" (Ezekiel 36:37). What more assurance can we have than God's assurance that He will bring to pass the prophetic event? Because it is possible to misinterpret both Scripture and modern prophecy, we need to pray much about correctly interpreting the prophecies, as well as petitioning that it would be brought to pass. "Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and His Maker, Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My Hands command ye Me" (Isaiah 45:11). We ought not fret about our nothingness to pray about the fulfillment of such momentous events as the Pre-Tibulational Rapture or the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, for Jehovah Himself has authorized us to "command" Him concerning these "things to come" (John 16:13). With encouragement like that, we "ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1).
Perfect Peace is that rare commodity that God gives to those who trust Him for it, i.e., "because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3). Though it is not oblivious to the conditions around it, Perfect Peace looks "unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2), i.e., "whose mind is stayed on Thee" (Isaiah 26:3). Perfect Peace rests calmly in the assurance that our God does "all things well" (Mark 7:37). Perfect Peace never wearies of waiting upon the LORD. "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).
We share in common with the farmer and the prophet of old, the need of patient waiting. We calmly, patiently, and peacefully ought to be waiting for the Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ for us, i.e., at the Pre-Tribulational Rapture. "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the LORD. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the LORD draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the LORD, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure" (James 5:7-11).
May we endure in Perfect Peace. Amen, and Amen.
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