As I looked into this second instruction from Paul on Christian Conduct – “Live in peace with one another” – I couldn’t help but associate the word “unity” with it. Peace and unity go hand in hand. In this verse it seems as though the two words could be interchangeable. Therefore, in my search to dig deeper on this subject, I looked at verses on both peace and unity.
The dictionary defines peace as the state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations. It defines unity as the state of being in accord or harmony with one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:13b says, “Live in peace with each other”, but what does this truly mean?
In my study on this topic, I have come to realize that before we can have peace with one another we must first have peace with God. Romans 5:1 tells us how we come about having peace with God. It says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Peace with God comes through justification. Simply defined, justification means “to be right with God”. We become justified through faith in His son, Jesus’, death on the cross for our sins. [If you do not know God through salvation and want to understand what that means, please read this post – “What is Salvation?“] Before Jesus died and rose again, He taught that He would leave us with peace. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus is our peace. And once we accept Him we can then spread peace to one another. Ephesians 2:14 says, “For he himself [Jesus] is our peace, who has made the two groups [the Gentiles and the Jews] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”
Even though we may know Christ as our savior, peace still does not come easily. Once we ask God to forgive our sins, we do not suddenly before harmonious, peacefully people who go around loving everyone we meet. It does not work like that. Rather we have to make an effort to pursue peace. Psalm 34:14 calls the church to pursue peace in saying, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” But how do we go about pursuing peace?
I think that Proverbs 3:17 can help us with that answer, “Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” This verse explains how we should seek peace. True peace comes through God and His wisdom. We must learn more about God and His perfect nature to truly understand what peace means. And we achieve this through reading His word. He gave us the Bible so that we may learn more about Him.
If we actively seek peace and actively work to stay united as the Body of Christ we will be blessed. God has promised us this in Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Not only will we be blessed individually, but we will also be blessed as a church. Philippians 2:1-2 says, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Peace with one another leads to unity, and a united Body of Christ could accomplish great things. Just imagine all that a united church body could accomplish if they made an effort to live in peace with one another. If we cannot be at peace with one another as a Christian group, we will never accomplish as much as we could for God’s kingdom.
So, that’s what I learned in studying the the topic of peace.