Thought: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Rom 8:14

The Prize of Peace
Monday 6th January, 2014

In the book of Galatians, chapter 5 verse 1 the Apostle Paul admonishes the churches in Galatia: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage." The members were moving away from their Christian experience of righteousness by faith and charting a new course of righteousness by works. He is reminding them that faith sets men free to enjoy liberty in Christ. Freedom in Christ means: freedom to produce the fruits of righteousness through a Spirit - led lifestyle.

In verse 16 the apostle states emphatically: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Verses 19-21. Man, in spite of all his good intentions, can only produce the works of the flesh. It is only as one is walking in the Spirit, i.e. having an active faith relationship with Jesus Christ, that the produce can be different. This miracle is wrought only through the indwelling of the Spirit.

The prize of peace is a coveted attainment; everyone without exception wants peace. But what exactly is peace? The new Oxford Dictionary defines peace as freedom from noise or anxiety, and freedom from or ending of war. While the achievement of these is laudable the apostle had much more in mind.
Desmond Mpilo Tutu, former Anglican bishop in South Africa, rose to world fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; The Sydney Peace Prize in 1999 and the Ghandi Peace Prize in 2007. Yes, the world took note and applauded his efforts. However, the peace the Apostle is talking about is a peace that transcends everything else. And this peace is for all who choose to be led by the Spirit.

As we explore John chapter 14 verse 17, greater insights are given to us as to what the apostle had in mind. Jesus was soon to be crucified. He was about to leave His disciples. While He was with them they experienced peace because Jesus is the Prince of peace. The peace Jesus spoke of, though, was not the absence of noise or anxiety or war, but an inward peace.

His peace consists of three crucial points:-
1. Peace of soul or mind
2. Peace from anxiety                                                           
3. Peace from guilt

He said: My peace. My peace is a possessive clause which means that what is being offered belongs to Him.

This peace is not inherent in us. Yes, we need it, we must have it to survive, our very lives depend on it. But this peace is not purchased at a grocery store.

This peace provides the homeostasis-- the state to maintain internal equilibrium.

This peace provides the balance in a world that is out of control.

This peace provides the mental poise to deal with life’s vicissitudes.

This peace is a product of the Holy Spirit.
The works of the flesh is the natural product of human nature. It is what we do naturally.

However, when we submit to be led by the Spirit, we are acted upon and the result is fruit bearing. In this fruit cluster peace is manifested.

To bear the fruit is not the natural product of human nature but of a power wholly outside of man.
There is but one fruit of the Spirit and that fruit includes all of the Christian graces.

The Greek eirēnē - peace, is better understood when Jesus was relating to His disciples

In John 14:27. Jesus said to His disciples: "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."

When Christ was about to leave the world He committed His soul to His father; His body was given to Joseph of Arimathea to be decently interred; His clothes fell to the soldiers; His mother He left to the care of John. But what did He leave for His disciples? He could have left silver and gold, but He chose to leave something infinitely better - HIS PEACE.

The servant of the Lord postulates: "The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not see Christ and speak to Him, but His Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as in another. It works in and through everyone who receive Christ. Those who know the indwelling of the Spirit reveal the fruits of the Spirit..." (MS 41, 1897).

In the beginning the Holy Spirit brooded over the chaos to bring about the cosmos.

With the entrance of sin the homeostasis in man was disrupted. In the heart where peace dwelt, fear, consternation, forebodings took root. It is only as one allows the Spirit to brood within his chaotic state, can one have peace.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit must not just impress us, but be allowed to act upon us to transform us, and to give us peace.
The legacy of peace that Christ has bequeathed provides that which is truly good.

Ephesians 2:14 states: He Himself [an emphatic declaration] is our peace. Not another but by Him and through Him we find peace.
This peace is not a mere formality of greeting, but a real blessing. All around one can see peace signs, yet there is an absence of peace. The peace that Christ gives is not as the world gives. The smiles of the world cannot give it, nor do the frowns of the world take it away. The peace which Christ gives is infinitely more valuable than what the world gives. The world’s peace begins in ignorance, consists of sin, and ends in endless troubles. Christ’s peace begins in grace, consists of no sin and ends in everlasting peace. The peace of Christ within is manifested in the way we treat our families, in the way we relate to our neighbours, it is manifested in the way we treat our enemies. The prize of peace is when we are at peace with God and our fellow man.
W.D. Cornell; 1889 wrote the song" Wonderful Peace" in the Seventh-day Adventist hymnal #466. "Peace, peace wonderful peace coming down from the Father above; Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray, In fathomless billows of love."

"And the God of peace, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Pastor Wayne Andrews
President, South Caribbean Conference