Christ’s Legacy of Peace

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  (John 14:25-27)

Did one of your parents or another beloved relative leave you an inheritance? Are you expecting one from someone who is still alive, or planning on what you will leave for your children or other younger people? An inheritance is usually something material that is left for those surviving us, such as a home, material possessions, or money. Since we don’t want to have our properties, usually gained through hard work, go unused or unappreciated after we are gone, we leave them to those we love. Some people spend much of their middle-aged years working to have an inheritance to leave for others. However, there is something more we can leave—a legacy. The difference between an inheritance and a legacy is the greater scope of a legacy, possibly to extend to many generations, with or without any material possessions attached. If I desire to leave both an inheritance and a legacy, I would think that they would be related, with one reinforcing the other. 

For those who belong to Jesus Christ by God’s gift of faith in Him, we have both an inheritance and a legacy. Ephesians 1:11, 13-14 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Jesus Christ has also left us His legacy of godly peace. “Christ has left his legacy of peace inside us—his shalom (universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight)…Instead of trying to conquer peace with stoicism, insurance policies or drugs, Christ offers us intimate communion and oneness with God, relief from the guilt and punishment of our sins, his perfect legal righteousness and adoption into his family, an historical basis for trusting God as Christ did, and knowing that we will enjoy shalom in fullness when He returns.” (1) 

We move through this life longing for peace in our relationships, work, ministry, families, and in our hearts. When we are young, we often try to acquire peace thought self-fulfillment and satisfaction with our work, spouses, children, positions, and possessions, unsuccessfully. The peace that Christ gives us is radically different from the peace the world seeks, even in ministry, helping the poor, and sacrificial service. The world’s peace is based on a formula of doing enough to feel like we have earned the right to feel good about ourselves. The world’s transient, temporal nature can only offer short-lived, superficial peace that is easily lost. Promises are made about acquiring peace through various means that fail to deliver. Those who speak of peace often do so for their own benefit and will sell it to whomever they can. (2)

The peace that Jesus Christ offers us is not based on our efforts at all, but on His. “The peace Christ gives is true, solid, and substantial…but the peace Christ is the giver of, is internal…lasting and durable…[and] cheerfully carries his people through all the difficulties and exercises of this life…The world gives peace in words only, Christ in deed…[and] Christ gives his; not to the wicked, for there is no peace to them, but to the saints, the excellent in the earth.” (3) 

The result of the world’s peace is questionable and elusive, frail and unreliable. However, the peace of Christ results in our hearts being untroubled so that we are unafraid of the insecurities of the world. Difficulties with finances, work, relationships, illnesses, injuries, and the effects of natural disasters like floods and fires will come. But the peace of Christ will survive them all and comfort our hearts to not only endure them but see the goodness of God in our most desperate circumstances. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) David knew this peace: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) Isaiah proclaimed this peace to Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2) 

The peace that gives us the ability to see the goodness of God in the difficulties of life is available to us today. What trouble are you experiencing without the peace of Christ? Will you stop to spend time with Him, to stimulate His peace that is already in you, through the Holy Spirit? We don’t have to do anything to acquire this gift of shalom since He has already given us His legacy, that lives in us. Will you rest in Christ and His peace?

February 3, 2019

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