And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15 (ESV)
Specifically, though, today I want to take a look at the phrase, “peace of Christ.” Once we have this down, we can can move on to discussing the full verse.
When we think about the “peace of Christ,” the first thing we need to know is that we can’t have the “peace of Christ” without “peace with Christ.” Peace of Christ refers to something about our relationship in Christ, but this doesn’t, or can’t, happen until peace is made with Jesus. Why is that? Well, before we come to Christ, we are known as God’s enemies:
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. – Romans 5:10 (ESV)
Before we were in Christ, we were His enemies. Our status before we loved God is that He chose us and reconciled us to Himself via Jesus Christ. As enemies of God, we certainly didn’t have peace with Him. Without Christ, we are subject – rightfully so – to the wrath of God. We can shake our fists at God if we want, but we are helpless against the wrath of God. Therefore, it is a MUST that we have peace with God, else we are eternally damned.
BUT (and this is a big BUT), once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we do have peace. Take a look at Romans 6:23:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23 (ESV)
Sin brings death and separation from God, but through Jesus Christ we have His free gift of eternal life. Through Jesus Christ we are reconciled to God and therefore have “peace with Christ.” And once we have “peace with Christ,” we can move on to experiencing the “peace of Christ.”
I would guess that most everyone desires peace. A peaceful life is associated with many good things. A chair on a nice beach. Sipping on a cup of coffee while in a rocking chair high in the mountains. Plenty of money in the bank. All the bills paid. The school not calling to tell you what your kids have done. We usually associate peace with no trials, troubles or problems. We associate peace with being able to do what we want to do.
But that’s not exactly what “peace of Christ” means. To have the “peace of Christ” means to understand from where our hope comes. Ephesians 2:12 says,
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. – Ephesians 2:12 (ESV)
This verse, by describing life without Christ also describes what it means to have life in Christ. Reconciled to Christ means no separation from Him, having the covenants of promise and having hope and with God in the world. Without Christ, there is no hope. With Him we have fellowship with God and eternal life.
Our hope, therefore, is in Christ. He is our everything. Our hope isn’t in things. Our hope isn’t in accomplishments. Our hope has to be in Christ. Without Christ, we have no hope because we have an eternity of damnation ahead of us. Every single thing we do or have will count as nothing in the light of eternity without Christ. Understanding this puts everything in better perspective.
Understand this and you understand the hope that is in Christ. Understand this and you know why the “peace of Christ” flows out of having “peace with Christ.”