Monday, December 11, 2023

Advent Words 2023 ~ Word 5: Peace


Advent Words 2023
Word 5: Peace

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

In the second week of Advent, the theme is peace. As we look ahead to Christmas and celebrate that the Prince of Peace has arrived, we rejoice that, through Jesus Christ, we now have peace with God. Paul makes this very clear earlier in the book of Romans.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:1-2

We are justified (made right) with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and the result is peace with God—not a feeling of peace, although that is true as well, but peace as in we are no longer separated or alienated from God because of our sin. Jesus has paid the price for our sin. Through him, we are reconciled to God. Jesus made “peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20).

In Paul’s prayer in Romans 15:13, his desire is that the God of hope – the source, the giver, and the object of our hope – would fill us with all joy and peace. Peace in the New Testament is equivalent to shalom in the Old Testament. Shalom is not only absence of violence or wickedness, but it is also the fullness of life, the wholeness of life, harmony, and goodness.

Did you notice the word “as” in this verse? God is the great giver, but in this case, he expects something of us as well. God fills us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him. Joy and peace are God’s byproduct for those who walk in faith, who live in dependence on God’s power and his promise to provide what we need. We are His children, and we are secure in His Love and His mercy. So, walking by faith and trusting in God means we are living life firmly believing in God’s ability to do all that he says he will do. And the result of living in this trust is that God will fill you with all joy and peace.

Here is just one example of how this is lived out. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but 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.” Anxiety is the opposite of peace. As we continually turn our anxieties and fears over to God through prayer, Paul says that we will then have God’s peace guarding our heart and mind. Prayer is one of the ways we trust in God and one of the ways he fills us with his peace.

The end result of God filling us with all joy and peace is that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives will overflow with hope. I get the picture here that when one is overflowing with hope, it is visible in their life, possibly even contagious to those around them. When one is overflowing with hope, their gaze is continually focused on Jesus and on His promises. This is the result of being filled with the peace that only God can give.

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