Some find conflicting messages, at first look, between the following passages of Jesus – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). And “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). In order to understand these passages, let’s examine them closely:
“My Peace I Give to You“
Jesus talks about the inner peace of soul such as comes to him who is “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1), whose feeling of guilt has been placed at Jesus’ feet, and whose worries about the future have been set aside by a simple act of faith in the Lord (Philippians 4:6, 7). Such a peace the world, with all its great knowledge and power cannot give (John 16:33).
When God justifies the repentant sinner, He also creates a clean heart and renews a right spirit within him (Psalm 51:10). It would not be possible for the sinner to enter into the new spiritual relationship of peace to which justification entitles and admits him, except for the miracle of transformation or conversion (John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 2:14).
Those who are filled with peace are not merely content with feeling good. They have God as their Father and reflect Him in their actions (1 John 3:1–3; John 8:39, 44). They endeavor, by the grace of God, to triumph over sin (Romans 6:12–16) and do not yield their wills to Satan to do his will (1 John 3:9; 5:18). They do not continue to sin, and do not habitually sin (1 John 3:6). They hate the sin they used to love, and love the righteousness they used to hate (Romans 6:2, 6; 7:14, 15). God gives them heavenly strength over their weaknesses and empowers them to overcome and resist all sins.
“I Did Not Come to Bring Peace But a Sword”
When a man makes peace with God (Romans 5:1), he is often considered by the world as an enemy to them. Christ came to set sinners at peace with God, but in so doing He also naturally sets them at conflict with all who reject God’s offer of peace (Matthew 10:22). We see this illustrated in the story of Cain and Abel. Abel’s obedience to God raised his brother’s hatred against him. Abel’s only sin was righteousness. Cain’s heart condemned his own way of life, and he saw himself with a decision either to admit his sin or kill his brother (1 John 3:12, 13). Moved by the same spirit of Jealousy and hatred, the religious leaders of Israel persecuted Jesus for His righteous acts and they condemned him to die.
The Bible tells us that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). This verse doesn’t only refer to church leaders and ministers but to all who devote themselves to walk as Christ walked. These believers must expect to be mistreated and suffer pain for the sake of the truth (John 15:18–20; 1 Peter 4:12–19)
The word of God brings division between the godly and the ungodly. In Hebrews chapter 4:12 it says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” However, the Christian must never seek, or be content with, the peace that comes through compromise with evil.
In His service,