The topics studied on this page during the past year centered around a discussion of each of the ordinances of the Bible. In the next five consecutive issues of the Witness, there will be a brief analysis of the New Testament ideals which the Brethren have taught through the years. We will look this month at the ideal of peace.

Peace is one of the most precious of all the gifts and graces of the Spirit. Peace is a state of rest and calmness resulting from a harmonized relationship between the soul and God (Col. 1:20). Those who have been recipients of God’s peace in their own lives, will want to show the same grace toward their fellowmen.

We must attempt to be peaceable in our individual lives. We are instructed, “As much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). It is our duty to renounce hatred and anger (1 John 3: 15; Col. 3:8); to answer angry people with a gentle reply (Prov. 15:4); to pray that God will bless even our enemies (Matt. 5:44); and to show love and submission in the husband-wife relationship (Eph. 5:21, 25, 33).

We should support the peace-keeping role of the government. Paul’s life was saved more than once by the intervention of governmental officials (Acts 21:32; 23; 10). We are to pray for the peace of the city and country in which we live, even if we have been taken there by force (Jer. 29:3-7). We are to pray for rulers so that national conditions will be favorable for Christians to live a quiet and peaceable life (1 Tim. 2:2).

We are to participate in the peace-making role of the church. it is our responsibility to help people become. reconciled to God by proclaiming to them the good tidings of peace with God through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20); to persuade fellow-believers not to despise nor judge one another regarding neutral matters (Romans 14:3-4); to practice right attitudes toward other believers by following Jesus’ instructions for settling differences (Matt. 18:15-17).

‘[‘here are noble examples of peace-making in the Old Testament account. Abraham gave Lot the first choice of land and then Abraham took what was left (Genesis 13:8-11). Isaac gave up wells he had just dug (and were unjustly taken), and moved on and dug new wells, rather than argue and fight (Genesis 26:18). Abigail sent a peace-offering to David and stayed-off a clash between her churlish husband and David’s men (1 Samuel 25:18-28). The New Testament amplifies the need for practicing such attitudes. We are to “follow peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14).

–Harold S. Martin
July/August 1976