Whereas our initial surrender to God ends our struggle with God and brings peace to our soul, it is our continual surrender to God that keeps our soul at peace. The Christian life begins with our justification. We make our peace with God and become a child of God. Afterward, the Christian life continues with our sanctification—our spiritual weaning. We grow to become a weaned child of God who is more adept at keeping the soul at peace.
If the truth be told, the perpetual peace of the soul is not a possible attainment in this present life. It is not something granted to us in justification or something obtained by us through sanctification. It will only be realized by us in our glorification. Still, it should be our goal to perpetually keep our soul at peace by persistently submitting our will to God’s will.
In Philippians 3:12, the Apostle Paul admitted that he had not obtained the perfection Christ intended for Him to obtain. Nevertheless, it was Paul’s lifelong goal to do so, despite the fact that sinless perfection along with its accompanying perpetual peace of the soul is unobtainable in this walk of life.
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught us to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Does this mean our Lord expects us to be sinlessly perfect? Of course not; the Bible teaches in several places that sinless perfection is an impossibility for sinners, even for sinners saved by grace. According to the Apostle John, any saint confessing the attainment of sinless perfection is simply self-deceived (1 John 1:8).
In view of the above, why should we set our goal in life so high? Why aim at the unscalable heights of sinless perfection and its accompanying perpetual peace of the soul? To begin with, we must first ask ourselves what other goal would be worthy of our Lord. Should our goal be to just sin a little rather than not at all? Should it be to occasionally do what we want rather than to always do what God wants? Obviously, as the Apostle Paul taught, no other goal is worthy of our Lord than for us to aim in this life at attaining that for which we have been apprehended by Christ.
Second, to aim at anything lower is to assure ourselves of substandard results. To lower our standard from sinless perfection is to lessen our vigilance against temptation and to view sin as something inevitable rather than something inexcusable. By lowering our standard we make ourselves more susceptible to temptation and more tolerant of sin; consequently, we’ll sin more and our soul will know less peace.
Any hope of keeping the soul at peace is tied to keeping our conscience unviolated. To keep our conscience clean we must keep our will subjugated and submitted to God’s will at all times. To let down our guard at any time is to pull down the wall around our soul and to expose its peace to upheaval. As the wise King Solomon warned, the undisciplined soul is as vulnerable as an unwalled city (Proverbs 25:28).
The calmest of souls is the most disciplined of souls.