Continued From Part Six…
After speaking to His disciples about the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, and finally, the pure in heart, Jesus continues in verse 9 with…
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God
When a person has a pure heart, they will naturally want to live in peace, not only with God, but also with man. Living at peace with men isn’t something that a true Christ-follower waits to happen, but is something that he will pursue. It is God’s way.
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 14:19
God’s Word makes it clear that peace between people is something that we should seek, even to the point of running after it if necessary. It is not difficult to see why this requires a heart change. A human being, under the influence of the fallen nature with which we are born, is naturally self-centered and self-serving. We can see that quite early in our own children. It is through the touch of the Spirit of God on our lives that we begin developing a desire to imitate the nature of our Heavenly Father. A peaceful disposition begins to dominate our actions instead of the natural tendency to put ourselves and our own desires first. We become less and less likely to take offense when we have been wronged. Our desire becomes a godly desire to make peace, however it can be found. The psalmist, King David, said this:
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war. Psalm 120:7
It is not always possible to have peace between people because both sides must agree to have genuine peace. God knows this and so inspired the Apostle Paul to give this godly advice:
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to God’s wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:18-21
In the above Scripture it is clear that we, as the people of God, are not to live in strife, but not all men will allow us to avoid conflict. This is why it specifically says, “If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” But, in the cases where another person will not allow us to handle a situation peaceably and this person does us wrong, God does not want us to avenge ourselves. When God says “to give place to wrath,” this means to leave the “wrath” of vengeance to Him. He is the righteous Judge and will handle all situations according to His judgement. Our judgement of situation is based on the little we are able to see. God, however, sees all.
Once we are a child of God, our life is to love, and to desire and delight in peace; it becomes what is most natural to a true child of God. A peaceful, quiet life is what we pursue. We have recorded in the Book of Genesis the story of a conflict that sprung up between the herdsmen of Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) and those of his nephew Lot. Let’s look at how Abram responded to this growing conflict:
So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
So we see that Abram was willing to do whatever it took to have peace between the two families. For those that are familiar with the Old Testament story, Lot saw that the land to the east was well watered and green, and decided to take the best for himself. Abram was not willing to have a conflict with Lot in order to keep the best for himself. He had faith in God that he was going to be blessed either way. This still applies to us today. Even if we do not see an immediate blessing for choosing the peaceful way, God will see to it. If not in this short sojourn on this earth, then for eternity for sure, and eternity never ends. In the epistle to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul put it this way:
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:15-17
The kind of life being described in these verses really isn’t normal in our world. Our world is full of envy, anger, hate, and violence. The life that the Messiah has called us to is one of brotherly love. We do not live just for ourselves. We are taught to love others as we love ourselves. This makes it possible for us to fulfill Jesus’ command to be peacemakers.
Being a peacemaker can be a difficult and painful experience at times. Quite often, being in the middle and trying to bring a peaceful solution to a conflict between people can bring insults and attacks from both sides. Yet, this is what the Master has called us to. We can’t always bring peace to warring people, especially if they are not followers of Jesus, but God’s people should be ruled by the peace of God. The Apostle James pointed out what so often causes the problems between us. We find it in James 4:1-2, and in the Amplified Bible it reads:
What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet (what others have) and your desires go unfulfilled…
Among followers of Jesus, these things should never be. The first century Church was known for their unity and love for one another. They were known as a godly and peaceable people. Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts, gives this description:
…so continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
This leads us to the promise God has made to the peacemakers. They will be blessed, or happy. Why? Because as we embody a peaceful countenance, those around us experience a bit of that same peace. It is the working of the Holy Spirit of God within us that can bring an atmosphere of God’s peace into our surroundings, whether in our home, our workplace, or wherever we are. This peace of God is something Jesus promised to all of His followers, no matter what their circumstances would be.
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you, but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:25-27
Jesus then said that the peacemakers would be called the children of God. As children of God, we will imitate Him and be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. How often is the name of God misrepresented on this earth? We sometimes think that the breaking the second commandment is using God’s name as a swear word. This is true but I believe it is much more than that. How often throughout history has religion abused, in fact murdered, in the name of God? Millions of innocent men, women, and children have been slaughtered under many religious authorities… in the name of God or under His supposed authority? The soon coming King of the whole earth will judge each and every false prophet and every religion that has falsely represented Him.
As the children of God, we have been given the joy of being ambassadors and representatives of reconciliation with God which we received through the Blood of Jesus, to anyone who will receive His free gift.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of god, who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
It becomes most obvious to those who truly understand God’s ways and the love God has for the human race which He created, that the reconciliation He offers is not based on a violent enforcement of God’s laws; it is not a legalistic adherence to long lists of man-made religious rituals; it does not provide for religious bigotry of any kind, nor should God’s love be represented by indulgent, out of control zeal.
Jesus promised to turn the fishermen who were his disciples into fishers of men. You and I have been given the same calling. The children of God have always found good fishing for souls in troubled waters. The world today is an ocean of very troubled waters, but the same God who calmed the Sea of Galilee before the eyes of the disciples also offers eternal peace to anyone who will acknowledge Him. The Messiah’s modern day disciples are the fishers of men today. They are the peacemakers because they serve a God who is the source of true peace of mind, soul, and spirit.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
After urging the crowd to be peacemakers, Jesus continued to talk to them about how a godly life can bring persecution…
To Be Continued in Part Eight…