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The Peace of the Cross
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. 6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:4–7, RSV

From Luther

By “peace of God” we must understand, not that calm and satisfied peace in which God himself dwells, but the peace and contentment he produces in our hearts. This peace is the gift of God and is called the “peace of God,” because, having it, we are at peace with him even if we are displeased with men. This peace is beyond the power of mind and reason to comprehend. They who know nothing of fleeing to God in prayer, when overtaken by tribulation and adversity and when filled with care and anxiety, proceed to seek that peace alone which reason apprehends and which reason can secure. But reason apprehends no peace apart from the removal of the evil. But they who find their peace in God, rejoice in him and are contented. They calmly endure tribulation; standing firm, they await the inner strength wrought by faith. It is not theirs to inquire whether the evil will be long or short in duration; they ever leave it to God’s regulation. They are not anxious to know when, where or by whom termination of the evil is to come. God affords them grace and removes their evils, bestowing blessings beyond their expectation.

This is the peace of the cross, the peace of God, the peace of conscience, Christian peace, which gives us eternal calm and makes us satisfied with all men and unwilling to disturb any. Reason cannot understand how there can be pleasure in crosses and peace in disquietude. Such peace is the work of God, and none can understand it until he has experienced it. “Heart” and “mind” here must not be supposed to mean human will and understanding; but faith and love are meant in all their operations, in all their inclinations toward God and men. The reference is simply to a disposition to trust and love God, a willingness of heart and mind to serve God and man to the utmost. Briefly, this text is a lesson in Christian living, in the attitude of the Christian toward God and man. It teaches us to let God be everything to us, and to treat all men alike, to conduct ourselves toward men as does God toward us, receiving from him and giving to them. It may be summed up in the words “faith” and “love.”

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 442–43.

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