Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Kingdom Realm of Peace

We may compare the kingdom of God to a three-storied temple founded on Christ, the corner stone. The first story is a basement partly underground, the region of shadow and darkness, the cellar-kitchen of this palace, where servants toil in fear and hirelings work for wages.

But a broad staircase leads up into the apartment of peace; while the Lord of this castle is constantly inviting those below to ascend, to exchange the place of servants for that of sons. For he is willing to adopt the whole crowd into his family, but only now and then one has the good sense to believe in the sincerity of the offer and to accept it, to doff the servants' livery and to don the many-colored robe of sonship and heirship. This room is spacious and sunny and resonant with songs. Yet its occupants do more work than the servants downstairs. But they do not work for wages, but from love to their adopted Father. They are sons; they belong to the royal family; the whole estate is theirs. This gives a new character to their labor, lifting it infinitely above the drudgery of wage-service. When the hired man marries the daughter of his employer he doesn't play the gentleman at leisure and cease working, but he works all the harder because he now is a member of the firm. This takes all the irksomeness out of his toil and bedecks it with roses. "And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." The filial feeling is suddenly breathed into the soul. Fear of a servile kind which brings torment is removed. Fear of death disappears and the fear of future ill. Child-like trust in the newly-found Father mostly banishes fear and enthrones peace. The habit of faith becomes fixed, love lubricates all acts of obedience and stern duty is dissolved in love. Service ceases to be a task and love knows no burdens. The beneficent law of habit now comes in to afford an additional safeguard to the gift of peace.

Paul says of Christ, "He is our peace." And Jesus says to his disciples in every age, "My peace I give unto you." Hence it is the rightful heritage of every believer. It is described as the "peace of God" because He is its source and origin. It is the deep tranquility of soul resting wholly upon God in contrast with the unrest and anxiety engendered by a self-centered and worldly spirit. It is said by the apostle to "pass all understanding" (Phil. iv. 7). More literally, it transcends every mind, every attempt of the strongest intellect to realize its qualities and to describe it as "keeping guard over our hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus," i. e., so long as we retain faith, the vital link of union with the Prince of Peace. What power has he to calm the troubled spirit! He can say to its warring passions, its cringing fears, its clamorous desires as he said to the winds and waves of the sea of Galilee, "Peace, be still," and there will be a heavenly calm in that soul. Brethren beloved, I know whereof I affirm. The once stormy Galilean sea within me has heard that voice divine and a blessed calm has ensued. Jesus is the great Peacemaker in tempest-tossed souls.

"Jesus protects; my fears begone:
What can the Rock of Ages move?
Safe in thy arms I lay me down,
Thine everlasting arms of love."

This peace is genuine and no sham. Jesus called it "my peace" in contrast with the world's hollow peace. The Oriental salutation, Salaam, salaam, Peace, peace, like all compliments, had degenerated into an empty and insincere form. But the salaam of Jesus is sky-born, the first installment of that everlasting rest that awaits all the children of God. This undisturbed repose of the soul we may have in this life. How blessed it would be if every regenerated soul were panting after this rest!

"O that I might at once go up,
No more on this side Jordan. stop,
But now the land possess.
There dwells the Lord our righteousness,
And keeps his own in perfect peace
And everlasting rest."

Jesus intimated the superiority of his peace to that of the world. His peace inheres in the soul filled with the Holy Spirit. The world's peace is determined by outward things and is as changeable as external conditions.

— edited from Jesus Exultant, Chapter 7.