Peace of Heart

“Having peace about a matter” is what many people think is the deciding factor about whether it is wrong or right to do something. And they base their opinion on Colossians 3:15,

let Christ’s peace have final say in your hearts . . .

Is that a fair understanding and application of the verse? Is it the way to determine what is right in answer to questions about which you need guidance? Are those who say, “I have peace about it,” right in concluding that God sends peace if a decision is correct, and that He sends a disturbed heart if it isn’t? That’s what many have been taught.

But “peace” can come from a conscience that has been seared so as to no longer effectively warn about what is wrong. So, how could you distinguish between the two? Moreover, we have all known those who said that they had peace about a matter, and the “peace” turned out to be the wrong way to go.

Well, the fact of the matter is this: the idea that this verse is speaking of guidance is wrong. Paul is not talking about some subjective peace that you have in your heart. Rather, in the context (see v. 14, and the rest of verse 15), Paul is talking about believers in the “body” (the church) getting along by showing love for one another. The peace, therefore, is an objective peace that you should promote among your brothers ands sisters in Christ.

Peace among the members of the body ought to have final say in your actions. If what you want to do or say will upset that peace, then don’t do it, even if it seemed right (of course, he’s not speaking of matters of clear biblical obligation). If what you are thinking of doing promotes peace among the members of the body, then do it. That is the true force of the passage.

It is not peace in your hearts, but that which you determine in your hearts will promote peace among the brothers. That ought to determine whether or not your should do something or other. That it will assure peace should be the determining factor in your heart (the place where such decisions are made).

So, let’s be careful about the way that the verse is used. Otherwise, “having peace about” something may cause disturbance among other believers—exactly what the verse is intended to avoid.

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