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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Colossians 3:15 – The Peace of Christ

Paul continues his description of the new man, the new community that lives in union with Jesus. We have already observed that the members of the new community are to dress differently from those outside of it – of course, the attire Paul describes is the attire of their souls.

The apostle is fully aware that although his readers belong to the new man they still have aspects of the old godless community within them, and that these aspects will always cause trouble individually and communally. So what is the best way for ensuring that those defects will not appear? Paul answers this question in what he says in verse 15: ‘And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.’

What was the peace of Jesus like? It was a peace that arose from a constant sense of his Father’s approval, a peace that was developed by an ongoing prayer life and regular absorption of the Bible’s contents, and was a peace that could be maintained in the stressful situations of life. By implication, our experience of peace will also come when we sense the Father’s approval of our obedience, when we pray, and when we meditate on the Bible.

Disciples of Jesus should have peace in their souls and here are some reasons why. First, they know the forgiveness of their sins – a Christian who is continually asking for cleansing is the one that will know Christ’s peace. Second, they know that they possess permanent blessings from Christ. Third, they know that all the outworkings of providence are in the hands of Jesus. All power is his in heaven and on earth; he is able to work all things together for their benefit.

Paul reminds the Colossians that Jesus should be King in their hearts. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and it is inevitable that divine peace will be present where his rule is acknowledged.

Paul’s concern here is communal peace as we can deduce from his reminder to the Colossians that they had been called to experience peace as a body or as a congregation (which we can describe as a local expression of the new man or new community). The way to have this communal peace has many aspects. But it is obvious that it can only be enjoyed by those who are Christ-centred. Once we move away from this central feature, we will lose peace.

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