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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.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Romans 15:33 – The presence of the God of Peace

We can see the importance of this blessing in that the church in Rome was bothered by issues connected to those described as weak and strong and some of the believers were disturbed by what other believers were advocating. 
What does Paul not mean by peace?
We are familiar with its modern usage which commonly means the absence of hostilities. Two countries may have been at war, but they make a treaty of peace that brings the war to an end. Yet the treaty does not make them into friends – they may still hate each other, mainly because of the damage the other side had caused during the conflict.
It was also the case that the Roman empire claimed to have provided peace through the pax romana. Yet when we think about it, that kind of peace was attained by cruel force, by fierce implementation of laws, by intoleration of dissent, and by lack of contact with those in power. The one thing that Paul and the Roman Christians were aware of was that the Roman empire could not provide real peace.
Having said that, we also know that people want true peace and try to have it. The peace they want is both inwards and outwards, a sense of peace within and a state of peace with those they are in contact with. Yet despite their best efforts, this search of peace does not result in something satisfying, which points to the fact that they must be searching for it in the wrong places or people. 
So where can peace be found? Paul tells us that it comes from God and he mentions this reality to Christians in various situations.
Why should Christians have peace? Here are two reasons. The first is that Jesus promised his disciples on the evening of his betrayal that they could know his peace (John 14:27). The second reason that peace should be in the experience of Christians is because it is part of the fruit of the Spirit, as listed by Paul in Galatians 5.

Yet sometimes we do not have a strong degree of peace. One reason, and probably the main reason, for the lack of peace in Christians is disobedience to God’s commandments. God says to Israel through Isaiah (48:18) that if they had listened to his commandments their peace would have been like a river, continually flowing. If we are Christians without peace, we should examine our obedience because disobedience grieves the Holy Spirit.

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