And Peace from God (1:2b)
In the previous meditation we saw that the empowering and abiding presence of divine grace comes to us by means of the Scriptures. But let us not overlook the gift of “peace” which also flows to us “from God our Father” (1:2b).
When Paul refers to “peace” he’s not talking about some superficial psychological giddiness that comes from reaping the material comforts of western society (as justifiably grateful we may be for the latter). This is the kind of peace that rather than being dependent on material and physical comfort actually frees you from bondage to physical comforts and liberates you from dependence on worldly conveniences and appliances and whatever else money can buy.
The peace of Colossians 1:2 is different from, although clearly related to, what I would call the “objective” peace of Romans 5:1. There Paul declares that since we have been justified by faith “we have peace with God” through Jesus Christ. To have or to be at “peace with God” is a reference to the nature of our relationship with him now that his wrath has been exhausted in his Son on our behalf. The holy hostility and righteous indignation provoked by our sin has been forever satisfied in the sufferings of Christ Jesus.
But here in Colossians 1 Paul is describing a felt, tangible experience of mind and heart. The peace that, like grace, comes from our God and Father is a confident repose in the truth that what God has promised he will fulfill. It is that restful assurance and very real sensation that nothing can separate us from love of Christ.
Perhaps the best way to describe this peace is by pointing to what it does for us in the midst of crisis, pain, and the disillusionment of life in a fallen world. Paul has in mind that glorious work of the Spirit in my heart that says:
“A sudden tsunami may sweep away my house and family, but my life ‘is hidden with Christ in God’ (Col. 3:3)”!
“A terrorist may separate my head from my body, but nothing can separate me from ‘the love of God in Christ Jesus’ my Lord (Rom. 8:35)”!
“An incurable disease may ravage my body, but ‘God causes all things to work together for good to those that love God and are called according to his purpose’ (Rom. 8:28)”!
“An unfaithful spouse may walk out, never to return, but God has promised never to leave me or forsake me” (Heb. 13:5)!
“Enemies of the faith may persecute me and confiscate my property, but I can still rejoice because I have ‘a better possession and an abiding one,’ an ‘inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven’ for me (Heb. 10:34; 1 Peter 1:4).
This is the abundant Christian life: a peace and joy and satisfaction in God so deep and unmovable and indelible that no amount of suffering can shake it or induce me to take offence at God!
Resting in his peace,