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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 25 - Acts 10:36 - Peace to the Far Off and the Near Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


It is of "peace" that we are now to speak; that which the Holy Ghost calls peace; that which is the theme of the Bible from first to last; that which is the need of earth; that which is the possession of heaven.

Learn, then, (1) what peace is; (2) what it is not; (3) where it comes from; (4) how we get it; (5) what it does for us.

I. What it is. It means sometimes friendship or reconciliation; and sometimes the state of soul resulting from these. It is the quieting of the soul after any excitement, or vexation, or trouble of conscience. In our text it specially means reconciliation with God; the removal of His anger, and the renewal of broken friendship (Isaiah 12:1, 2). Peace here is equivalent to peace with God; though it may include, as the consequence of this, peace of soul—the peace of God. It is the calming of the storm by the stilling of the raging winds; it is the soul's calm, a divine and heavenly calm—from God Himself. O man of earth, is this peace yours?

II. What it is not. It is not mere indifference. The frozen lake is calm; but that is not the calm we desire. The sea on the lee side of some island-cliff is calm, but that is simply because the wind is blowing in a particular way. It is not the security of self-righteousness. That is unreal peace—a hollow security. It is not the peace of prosperity, or pleasure, or earthly ease. There is the world's peace, and the devil's peace, and the peace of a seared conscience; but these are not what God calls peace. It is not anything that arises from forgetting God, or from imagining Him to be such an one as ourselves, or from losing sight of sin, or obliterating the law, or denying the cross. Bible peace is something different from all these.

III. Where it comes from. It does not come from self, or sin, or the flesh, or the world. Nor does it come from the law, or our own goodness, or our prayers, or religiousness. It comes directly and solely from Jesus Christ; from Himself and from His cross; from Him as Jesus, from Him as the Christ. In Him we have the love of God and the righteousness of God; and in the knowledge of these two there is peace for the sinner. All that can be comprehended in that word "peace" is contained in Him, and comes from Him. He is the Prince of peace; the way of peace; the fountain and the river of peace. "He is our peace"; "He has made peace through the blood of His cross." That which makes peace, and which gives peace, has been finished and perfected in Him upon the cross. Peace is not a thing to be made by us. It was made by Him; He finished the reconciling work, the peace-making work, eighteen hundred years ago. It is done. The foundation has been laid in Zion. The well of peace was then filled and opened. Be ye reconciled, is our message now. And this message of peace is to all; for He who is our peace is Lord of all. God so loved the world that He gave His Son. Who is there among the troubled sons of Adam that can say, There is no ground and no message of peace for me? Your need of it is your warrant for receiving it; and the cry to you is, "Whosoever will."

IV. How we get it. Our text says it is "preached" to us; or more exactly, "the good news of it are brought to us." The pacifying, conscience-purging work is done; and God has sent us His account of it. The Holy Ghost has put on record His testimony concerning it, for our sakes. God has not done a work and then hidden it; leaving it to us to find it out. He has lifted up His voice; He has sent abroad His messengers, commanding them to preach "the gospel" to every creature, that is, to say to every creature that it is for him. We believe this divine record, this testimony of the Holy Ghost, and the peace contained in Him who is testified of, flows into us. He that hath the Son hath life, hath peace. We believe, and are at peace; being justified by faith, we have peace with God. It is not first faith, and then reflection upon our own faith, that gives peace; that would be extracting peace from our own faith, not from the finished work of Golgotha; that would be believing in our own faith, not in Jesus. Our simple reception of the testimony of the Holy Ghost does for us all we need.

V. What it does for us. (1.) It purifies. No peace, no purity. It is not first purity then peace, but first peace then purity. (2.) It liberates. Being filled with peace, we are free. The possession of this peace is the liberty of the soul. Without peace we are in bondage and darkness. (3.) It satisfies; it fills the soul; it takes away weariness and emptiness. (4.) It animates. Till peace takes possession of us we are sluggish in the cause of God. Peace makes us zealous, brave, self-denied; willing to spend and be spent, to do and suffer. It makes our faces shine. It turns our eye onward to the Lord's appearing. So long as we are not in peace, we are afraid of His coming; when peace fills us we desire it. We say, Come, Lord Jesus. What is there that this peace cannot do for us?