"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9)
This world is filled with strife and discord. The Norwegian Academy of Sciences and University of Oslo have estimated that there have been 14,000 wars since 3,600 B.C. with untold billions killed. Beyond this, there is constant striving between individuals who seek to infringe upon one another for their own selfish pursuits. Indeed, peace is a rare commodity.
Surely, this is why God loves peacemakers, for there are many who sow the seeds of strife, but few sow the seeds of peace. Among the seven abominations hated by Jehovah in Proverbs 6:19 is "one who spreads strife among brothers.” To seek division and strife is to seek evil, and any fool can do so, but it takes a person with a godly spirit to forge peace between men.
In this seventh beatitude, Jesus spoke of the blessed state of those who make peace. Unlike those who seek evil and cause strife, peacemakers can have the happy expectations of God's favor. The contrast between sowers of strife and sowers of peace is stated in Proverbs 12:20 – "Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.”
Peacemakers are the rare souls who take on the image of Christ, for He is a peacemaker. This is why the peacemakers shall be called sons of God, for they bear the likeness of God, who is often described as the "God of peace” (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1Thess. 5:23; 2Thess. 3:16; Heb. 13:20), and of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. Regarding Christ, Isaiah wrote that His name would be called "Prince of Peace” and that there would be no end to the increase of peace under His reign (Isa. 9:6-7). If the God of heaven and the only begotten Son of God are so associated with peace, then it is no wonder that others who make peace should also be called sons of God.
So then, is it the mission of Christians and the church to bring about world peace? To answer this, we need to understand the sense in which Christ is a peacemaker. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). The peace which Christ gives is different from that of the world, for His peace is a spiritual peace that He provides via reconciliation between man and God. Consider Ephesians 2:14-17 –
"For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And he came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near…”
Whereas we were once enemies of God because of our sins (Rom. 5:10; Isa. 59:2), now in Christ we have peace. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
In the same way, Christians should seek to bring peace to others. We are to preach the gospel of peace to the world so that souls who are at enmity with God can be reconciled to Him. It is this gospel message in the word of God that is the seed which bears the fruit of spiritual peace. Notice James 3:18 – "And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (Jas. 3:18)
This is not to say that temporal peace with men is not also a desirable goal for Christians, but rather it is to emphasize that spiritual peace with God is our highest goal. Certainly, we should try to be peacemakers in any way we can – "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18); "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Yet there are situations in which not even the Lord can bring peace. Jesus recognized this when He said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34, see vv. 34-37 for full context). The truth about Jesus is necessary to bring about peace between God and man, but often it instead brings division between believers and unbelievers. Let us never compromise the gospel of spiritual peace for the sake of temporal peace with men.
Therefore, let us be peacemakers in the pattern of the Son of God so that we may be also called sons of God. Such a designation will be a great source of blessing and happiness, for it will mean we are God's children indeed. What a joy it is to have a part in "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7)!
Next: "Blessed Are Those Who Have Been Persecuted for the Sake of Righteousness”
Stacey E. Durham
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