Grace For The Journey
The Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12 show us a beautiful picture of how disciples of Jesus are to believe and behave. In previous posts, we have seen that on the inside, a disciple of Jesus is humble, aware of his or her sinfulness and shortcomings, displays a meekness because they understand their true condition as a sinner, and hunger and thirst after righteous. In other words . . .
They are the opposite of how most people
Act today who go about the business
Of being proud, self-serving,
Carnal, and self-indulgent.
Those who truly desire to follow Jesus
Do not act that way.
These internal qualities of humility, meekness, and a desire for righteousness have a great impact on how a Christian treats others. A Christian should be kind, forgiving, able to empathize, sincere and “pure in heart.”
Jesus is not telling His followers that they
Must become like that
Before they can be disciples.
Instead, He is telling them that
These are qualities that are manifested
If they are His disciples.
Because these qualities
Are matters of the heart,
Only Jesus can remake us
To be the kind of people He describes.
Now, in this beatitude, Jesus turns to the attribute of peacemaking – ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9). This seventh beatitude, the desire to be a peacemaker is dependent, like all the Beatitudes, on those that have gone before. To be a peacemaker one must first be pure in heart, merciful, meek, righteous, mournful over sin, and poor in spirit. R.T. France says this: “The absence of selfish ambition which has marked the earlier Beatitudes provides the only basis for the quality of peacemaking, which is especially pleasing to God.”
Since most conflicts result from some sort of “drama,” a spirit of honesty, selflessness, and sincerity are essential for one to be a peacemaker. Being defensive, looking for some personal gain, or having mixed motives will never result in being the kind of peacemaker who pleases God.
Peacemakers are those who promote peace and harmony in public, at home, and in the community. Peacemakers seek to reconcile people who are in disagreement and encourage harmony and unity wherever they go. A peacemaker is the opposite of a troublemaker. And those who are peacemakers shall be called “sons of God” not by God, but by those around them who observe their actions. This is because peacemakers will more fully bear the image of God.
God is a God of peace (Hebrews 13:20), His Son is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7), the gospel Jesus preached was the gospel of peace (Ephesians 2:17), and the Father sent the Son to bring peace (Luke 2:14). The Bible says in Colossians 1:19ff (and following) that the Father desires to reconcile all things to Himself. Therefore, those who make peace are those who have made peace with God first in their own lives and are being led to follow the Father’s desire and, as peacemakers, they are truly His children.
Since reconciliation (peacemaking) is at the top of the Father’s agenda, it should be the top of His children’s agenda too. Those who are disciples of Jesus “seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11), desire peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14), and do everything they can to be at peace with all (Romans 12:18).
But the peace of which Jesus speaks
Is not peace by appeasement.
Appeasement is not true peace;
It is a false peace
And can never be sustained.
The peace that Jesus is talking about
And every believer now has with God
Is peace and reconciliation that comes
Through the blood sacrifice of the Son.
Without His atoning death,
Without the covering of our sin,
Peace with God is not possible.
It was not secured by denying our problem of sin or trying to overcome our problem by our own efforts. Instead . . .
It was obtained by God in Christ
Paying the ultimate price for our sin –
He died so that we can be justified
And have peace with God.
A form of “peace” which is sought without dealing with the deeper, more difficult underlying problem of sin is not true peace; it is a superficial peace at best. True peacemaking is always set in the frame of justice and truth without compromising either. So . . .
No one can be a peacemaker
If one denies the gospel,
The problem of sin,
And the need for a Savior.
That may serve the efforts of ecumenism –
The attempt to reconcile Christianity
To other forms of religion,
But it is not biblical peacemaking.
The plain fact is the gospel divides. A Christian is constantly at war with the world, the flesh, and the Devil (Ephesians 2:2-3; 1 John 2:16) and we don’t make peace by giving in to them. Martin Luther said “peace if possible but truth at any rate” and that is still true today.
True peacemaking must have,
As its aim,
Leading others to Christ
By the gospel.
Only in Christ will people find true peace,
And be able to life a life of peace.
Tomorrow we will look at how to be biblical peacemakers. Until then, may you know peace with God, and may the peace of God be with you and guard your heart and mind in Christ.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”