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Unimaginable Peace

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Phil. 4: 7.

This is the true peace that satisfies and quiets the heart; not
in times when no adversity is at hand, but in the midst of it,
when outwardly there is nothing but strife. This is the difference
between worldly and spiritual peace. Worldly peace consists
in removing the outward evil that disturbs the peace ; when
enemies besiege a city there is no peace ; but when they depart peace
returns. Such is the case in poverty and sickness. While they
afflict you, you are discontented ; but when they are removed
and there is health and plenty, there is peace and rest again.
He who experiences this peace is not changed, being just as fainthearted
whether the evil be present or not ; only he feels it and
is frightened when it is present.

Christian or spiritual peace, however, just turns the thing
about, so that outwardly the evil remains, as enemies, sickness,
poverty, sin, death and the devil. These are there and never
desist, encompassing us on every side ; nevertheless, within there
is peace, strength and comfort in the heart, so that the heart
cares for no evil, is really bolder and more joyful in its presence
than in its absence. Therefore it is peace which passes and
transcends all understanding and all the senses. Reason cannot
grasp any peace except worldly or external peace; it knows
not how to comfort or satisfy a person in times of affliction. But
when the Spirit comes, he lets the outward adversity remain, but
strengthens the person, making the timid fearless, changing the
troubled into a quiet, peaceful conscience.

How does he receive this? From his faith in Christ. For
if I truly believe in the Lord from the depth of my heart, so
that I can truly say: My Lord Christ has by his resurrection
conquered my need, my sin, death and all evil, and will be with
and in me; it is impossible for me to be faint-hearted and timid,
no matter how much sin and death oppress me. If you look to
Christ and believe on him, no evil that may befall you is so great
that it can harm you and cause you to despair. Therefore it is
impossible for the fruit of peace to be absent where faith is.

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