The Rule of Peace1
THE RULE OF PEACE
As a church family, it is our privilege to live together under a glorious rule: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15 ESV). This instruction is not given to isolated individuals, but to the church community as a whole. In our life together as a local church – in our conversations, decision-making, and attitudes and responses toward each other – we are to be governed by this reality called “the peace of Christ.” Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 11:6). Christ “[made] peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20 ESV). Through Christ “we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1 ESV) and with one another (see Ephesians 2:11-18). Formerly we “were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21 ESV), but by God’s grace we have become His beloved children. Formerly we were also alienated from one another; but now we are members of one body and we belong to each other (Romans 12:4-5).
Now, with our hearts anchored in the mercy of God, we are able to do far more than tolerate each other or refrain from throwing punches; now we are able to embrace one another as brothers and sisters, delighting in one another and sharing life together with joy. Greek and Jew, refined and unrefined, rich and poor, men and women are able to gather together around a common table in the name of our Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28). Sinners who are battling against lust and greed and anger and lying (Colossians 3:5-9) are able to gather together around a common table and learn to get rid of those relationship-destroying attitudes and instead cultivate attitudes that strengthen community (Colossians 3:10-14).
“[Letting] the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts” is a task that takes work. There is a spiritual battle taking place in our hearts. Paul addresses this battle in Colossians 3:5-14. We are to put away everything that pertains to the sinful ways of the old life, and in their place we are to put on all the graces that pertain to our new life in Christ. There are, in fact, many things that might rule our hearts when we gather together for a conversation or meeting; there are many things that might govern our hearts when we think about and respond to each other. These many things include anger, bitterness, fear, pride, shame, your desire to be right, or your sense of individual freedom. We are called to cast off these vestiges of war and “let the peace of Christ rule in” their place. And why? Because this is the glorious reality “to which indeed you were called in one body” (Colossians 3:15 ESV). Brothers and sisters, this is part of your calling. What we do together as a church family is not an optional add-on to the Christian life. We, together as one body, have been called to the peace of Christ.
As we walk with each other in Christ’s peace, we will find much for which to be thankful to God – not least the privilege of enjoying the vitality and unity of Christ’s body. Thus our verse concludes: “And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15 ESV)
NOTE: Header Image/Featured Image Photo by Soff Garavano Puw on Unsplash