“The Beatitudes” series: (post #7)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9, N.K.J.V.)
If there was any lingering doubt that Jesus meant for the “blessed” described in the Beatitudes to be equated with Christians, it is laid to rest with this Beatitude. This time the promise is: they shall be called “sons (children) of God.” The term is a familiar one to students of the Bible. It reminds us of John 1:12-13, which says of Jesus: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” It also takes us to Galatians 3:26: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
And so the Christian is to be a “peacemaker.” But just exactly what does that mean? Clearly, the thought of “making” peace goes deeper than just keeping it or even loving it. To “make” peace a Christian must exert himself. Intentional activity is involved. As Psalm 34:14 puts it: “Seek peace and pursue it.” Paul referenced this idea in Romans 14:19, and Peter did the same in 1 Peter 3:11.
Certainly, mending relational fences falls under the category of peacemaking. The way Barnabas brought Saul (Paul) and the disciples together is a beautiful example of this (Acts 9:26-27). Likewise, seeking to prevent wars and end them falls under the category as well. We hear this in David’s words, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).
But let me point out that confronting problems can also be placed in the category, assuming the confronting is done in a manner pleasing to God. The Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel recognized the futility of crying “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14; Ezekiel 13:10). You see, since true peace can never be found in a compromise with evil, a peacemaker might rightly be involved in great conflicts.
We see this even in the life of Jesus. On two separate occasions, He flew into a righteous rage at the site of the greedy, corrupt money-changers defiling the Jewish temple with their unscrupulous practices (John 2:13-17; Matthew 21:12-13). Anyone who witnessed these two scenes after hearing Jesus preach the Beatitudes might have been tempted to ask, “Jesus, what was that word about how blessed are the peacemakers?”
Of course, Jesus did know all about peacemaking. The famous quote from the angels in the story of His birth is, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). Furthermore, Ephesians 2:14-16 explains that Jesus is the Christian’s peace and has reconciled him to God, who is the “God of peace” (Hebrews 13:20). Likewise, Romans 5:1 says: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Clearly, there are valid reasons why Jesus is called “The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
It was the comparison between the Christian’s peace and the lost person’s lack of it that prompted some famous words from Jesus. He said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36). Jesus was letting everybody know that the one who believes in Him becomes at peace with God, and that immediately sets that person in conflict with lost people, even lost family members, because they aren’t at peace with God (Isaiah 57:20-21).
The truth is, winning a lost person to Christ is the most lasting kind of peacemaking there is because it creates an eternal peace between the lost person and God. Therefore, I’ll close this post with two verses which speak of how important it is for Christians to win others to Christ. First, there is Romans 10:15: “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” And, second, there is Ephesians 6:15: “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…”