The God of Peace

Hebrews 13:20  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 6
" Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant." Heb. 13:2020Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (Hebrews 13:20).
The title under which the Holy Ghost, in this passage, introduces God to our thoughts, is peculiarly expressive. He calls Him, " The God of peace." That is what He is to us, in connection with the opening grave of " The great Shepherd of the sheep," and on the foundation of "The blood of the everlasting covenant." In short, we have, in this most comprehensive passage, two persons, and two things. We have the God of peace, and the Lord Jesus; the blood of the everlasting covenant, and the resurrection from the dead. All these we have under the pen of the Holy Ghost But there is another title under which God must be seen before the soul can really enjoy Him as " The God of peace," and that is as " The God of judgment." To speak of peace, while the claims of God, in this latter character, lie unanswered, is the very height of presumptuous folly. God can have no peace with sin, In any shape or form. If sin be not put away, there can be no peace with God. There may be the peace of ignorance, the peace of carnal security, the peace of a hardened heart, the peace of a seared conscience; but there can be no peace with God, so long as sin remains unjudged. Hence, therefore, it becomes us to inquire on what ground can the inspired apostle speak of God as " The God of peace."
The ground is this—may the anxious reader understand it!—-"The God of judgment" met the Sin-Bearer, at the cross, and there went into the entire question of sin and settled it once and forever. The Divine Substitute made peace, by the cross, in order that " The God of peace" might meet us, without judgment, at the opening grave. All that the God of judgment had against my sins, He laid on the head of my substitute, on the cross, in order that I might know and enjoy Him as the God of peace. This is the grand fundamental truth of the gospel which must, when simply believed, give settled peace to the conscience. The justice of God has been perfectly satisfied about sin, by the death of Christ. Nay, more, God has been glorified about sin, by the death of Christ. Yes, dear reader, not only has God been perfectly satisfied, but eternally glorified in reference to sin, by the blood of the cross. This must give peace to every one who simply believes it.
It is truly wonderful to think of the meager view we take of the gospel, notwithstanding its moral grandeur, as it shines before us in the pages of the book of God. From the way in which one sometimes hears the gospel put, it would seem as though forgiveness of sins were the fruit of an exercise of mercy at the expense of justice, or as though justice consented to stand aside while mercy pardons and saves. How different is this from that stupendous scheme of redemption which had its origin in the bosom of God; which was laid in the eternal counsels of the Trinity, before the foundation of the world; which was ratified by the blood of the everlasting covenant; which is revealed by the Holy Ghost, in the scriptures of truth, and received by faith into the hearts of all those who, through grace, "set to their seal that God is true!" In that glorious scheme we behold mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, blessedly combined; so that the sinner is as positively saved by righteousness and truth as by mercy and peace. The latter are not more favorable to him than the former. Justice and judgment are the pillars of that blood-sprinkled throne of grace to which the saved sinner approaches in worship and adoration.
Is my reader anxious about salvation? Is he desirous of knowing the pardon of his sins? Does he sigh after the peace of the gospel? If so, let him only pause and think of this;—"The God of judgment" met Christ on the cross, and there entered into and definitively settled the great question of sin. How is this to be known? Is it by some feeling in my own mind? Is it by my passing through some mental process? Is it by aught that I can do, or say, or think, or feel? Nay. How then? " The God of peace brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus." This is the way I am to know that the question of sin has been eternally settled. If it had not been settled, we should never have heard aught of " The God of peace," or seen aught of " The great Shepherd's " opening grave, or known aught of the changeless efficacy of the blood of " The everlasting covenant." The God of peace could never have appeared on the scene, if all the claims of the God of judgment had not been divinely answered. How were they answered? By the blood of Jesus—nothing less—nothing more—nothing different. Naught else could avail. If I had all the good works that were ever performed beneath the canopy of heaven; if I had all the morality, all the fleshly pietism, all the legal righteousness that ever man could boast of; if I had all the alms that ever were distributed by the hand of benevolence; if I had all these and ten thousand times ten thousand more besides placed to my credit, it would not answer the claims of the God of judgment with respect to my sins. But the death of Christ has answered for me. That sacrifice stands before the eye of infinite holiness, in all its solitary grandeur, in all its divine sufficiency. It needs no addition. It has met all. What more do I want, as the ground of my peace? Nothing more. God is satisfied; so am I; the matter is settled forever, nor can any one or anything ever unsettle it.
Reader, are you satisfied? Is Christ sufficient for you?
Has He done enough to meet the claims of your conscience? Do you want to add something of your own doings or feelings to His all-sufficient atonement? If not, what are you waiting for? You say, " I do not feel" I reply, we are not saved by feeling, but by faith. " The just shall live," not by feeling, but " by faith." Do you not see that while you talk of not feeling, you are still on legal ground -on the ground of works. You have, it may be, abandoned the idea of manual labor, but you are still looking to your mental labor. The one is as worthless as the other. Give up both, as a ground of salvation, and take Christ. This is what you want in order to be happy. If you were to hear a person say, " I am happy, now, I have peace with God, because I have given a hundred pounds in charity," would you not pronounce him self-deceived? Doubtless; and yet you say, " If I could feel, I should be happy." Where lies the difference between " do " and " feel?" Is not the one as stable a foundation for a sinner's peace as the other? Would it not be better to let Christ supplant both? Is there not enough in Him without your feelings, as well as without your works? If your feelings or your works had been necessary, then why did " The God of peace bring again from the dead our Lord Jesus?" Is it not evident that you are seeking something more, as a ground of peace, than that which is presented to you in the gospel?
Dear friend, do think of this. My heart's desire is that you may rest, now and evermore, in a full Christ; that He may be sufficient for you, as He is sufficient for God. Then feelings and works of the right kind will be forthcoming, not as a ground of peace, but as the fragrant fruits of an enjoyed salvation—not as a title to life, but as the outflow of a life possessed through faith in Christ. May the blessing of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, rest abundantly upon you!
Note.—It is interesting to observe the three titles applied to oar blessed Lord Jesus Christ as Shepherd. In John 10 He is called " The good Shepherd," in death. In Heb. 13 He is called " The great Shepherd," in resurrection; and in 1 Pet. 5 He is called " The chief Shepherd," in glory. Each title has its own specific meaning, and its own appropriate place.