Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled…
I. THE FIRST REQUISITE, IN ORDER TO THIS PEACE, IS HAVING, SEALED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, A CERTIFICATE OF JUSTIFICATION. One has said, "If you wish for peace with God, do your duty. Try to be as good as you can." But I have not been as good as I could. God has not had the first place in my love, and the first obedience in my life. Through Christ's intervention, however, the writ once against me is now null, for the sentence for treason is crossed through under sanction of the law itself, and I have in my very soul the certificate of justification, sealed by the Comforter.
II. CHRIST'S PEACE COMES FROM CHRIST'S LIFE. You mistake if you fancy that this peace is a dull composure. It means more life, not less! The Spirit of Christ, in giving this peace, numbs no nerve, stifles no primitive impulse, mesmerises no faculty. On the contrary, His tendency is to make us spring up, broad awake, feeling alive all over. He makes, through this change in us, a change in everything around us. He makes old Christian truths, that once had become almost insipid by familiarity, break out into meanings and charms, bright as morning and fresh as the spring. To be spiritually-minded is "life," the cause; "peace," the effect.
III. PEACE IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH SIN. A person may be in the root of his life a Christian, and yet his Christianity may be little more than a root. He may have "a name to live," and may pass as an average professor of faith in Christ, yet might know but little of this Divine peace. There is no peace for the shot limb while the bullet is in it. A person has been drinking some deadly thing, tempted by its inspiriting flavour, but now it maddens him, and there is no peace for the poisoned system while the poison is in it. There is no peace to the fever-stricken sufferer until the fever is out of him. You remember the storm that Jonah caused, and how it had to be quieted. If you would have peace, first find out, and then cast out your Jonah — the Jonah of that sheltered sin, of that crooked policy, of that secret, whatever it may be, that stops a blessing from coming on you who carry it.
IV. THE PEACE OF CHRIST HAS ITS SEAT, NOT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT IN THE HEART. "Let not your heart be troubled." It is a truism to say that disquiet belongs to this world, for everyone knows this, though he may know little else; and it belongs in a particular degree to this particular age. Disquiet connected with the disputes between labour and capital; from questions connected with the money market; made by the "battle of books," by the conflicts of theological thought; seen from the post of political outlook. But having Christ as our own life, we can say, though our surroundings may be like the disquiet of an earthquake, "Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed," etc. We have peace in our heart, for the Giver of peace is there. Without, there may be excitement; indeed, our own physical life may be excitable, for grace does not turn one body into another; yet there is a Divine calm down under the surface, such as no man can know who knows not the true life.
V. CHRIST'S PEACE IS HERE ASSURED TO US IN TERMS OF PECULIAR SIGNIFICANCE. "Peace I leave." This is the language of legacy, and implies —
1. That He would live after He had died. A legacy implies death (Hebrews 9:16).
2. The principle of grace. He gives. "Grace" is not the name of wages for work, nor of reward for merit; nor of gain by conquest; nor of what we receive on the principle of "so much for so much."
3. The deity of the Giver. Reconsider what is meant by the peace of Christ, and then ask yourself if a man could give it.
4. "Not as the world giveth." The world can only give what it has to give. The world gives fitfully, and there is no dependence on the world; the world gives in order to get; the world gives to take away again; grudgingly and delusively.
(C. Stanford, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.