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Blessed Are The Peacemakers For They Shall Be Called Children Of God

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THE BEATITUDES

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.

The word peace is mentioned many times in the Scriptures. There was peace on earth until mankind rebelled against God (Read Genesis 3:6). Satan tempted Eve when he convinced her that the forbidden fruit would make her wise and she ate it. Then she shared the forbidden fruit with Adam.  As a result, sin came into the world. Eve’s intention was good. But the lesson in this story is what we may think is truly good may not be good in God’s sight. If we are going to glorify God, we must be guided by the teaching of His Word.

Do you know Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4: 4)? In this verse, the word “world” represents everything evil. For example, it is the wrongful pleasures that tempt us.

Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained (or “felt compelled”) to write to you exhorting (cautioning) you to contend (as a combatant) earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). He urged his readers to expend enormous effort for the faith but not angrily. Since Jude says this faith was once for all handed down, he is implying there was a body of truth that had been communicated from the apostles. Jesus said to the apostles in the Upper Room, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and will remind you of all that I said to you (John 14: 26).

The subject in Matthew 5: 9 is peace but Jesus also says, don’t think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn't come to send peace, but a sword (Matthew 10: 34). I have a friend who, at various times, has been put in jail simply because he refuses to quit proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel. Christians still suffer religious persecution in many countries. Christians are being executed because they refuse to abandon their faith in Christ. To a lesser degree, I have been threatened because I am not afraid to proclaim my faith in Jesus Christ.  Despite any religious persecution we may face, Jesus Christ expects us to be loyal to Him even when we are treated unfairly. The good news is the Bible says that eventually there will be peace on earth.

We live in an imperfect and sinful world. There are a lot of families in this world who do not live in peace. Jesus said there will be wars and rumors of wars. When the United Nations was created its purpose was to promote peace. However, peace treaties are broken. Without God’s help, mankind cannot live in peace.

The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 2: 14, He is our peace. “The phrase has a greater fullness of meaning than (what) would be conveyed (communicated) by saying He is the author of our peace. The Greeks divided all men into two classes, Greeks, and barbarians …  A proselyte (one who adopted the Jewish religion) could never be the Jew he might have been if he was a descendant of Abraham. If he happened to be a slave, his religious duties as a Jew must not interfere with his service to his Jewish master. A wife was the property of her husband, and her status ranked with slaves and children. Josephus said, “in every respect, a woman is inferior to a man.”

In Galatians 3: 28, the Apostle Paul says There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Jesus broke down the wall of separation. In the Temple, the Jews were the only ones allowed in the inner court. The Gentiles (non-Jews) were only allowed in the outer court. Josephus, a Jewish historian in the first century A.D., tells us that there were bilingual inscriptions (in Greek and Latin) at regular intervals along this wall, warning Gentiles of the pain of death not to enter the inner court.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure (free from moral defect), then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and hypocrisy (James 3:17). James warns us that worldliness makes a person a spiritual adulterer (James 4:4).

Heavenly wisdom promotes harmony. “Follow after peace with all men and the sanctification (setting apart as holy) without which no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12: 14). “… the writer begins urging us to pursue peace with the help of all men and women. What does the Bible say about true peace? God sees peace not as the absence of conflict but as the presence of righteousness (godliness). Righteousness will bring about the right relationships. Peace is not just stopping the war. It is giving the gift of righteousness that brings two parties together in love. The Hebrew word shalom (peace), when said to a friend, didn't mean, may you have no conflicts. It meant, I desire for you all the righteousness and good God can give. A peace among believers that is more like tranquility (calmness) of heart.

The church can never have peace by sweeping sins under the rug and pretending they're not there. Man's wisdom says, cover up sin, keep things together. God's wisdom says confess sin and my peace will keep things together.

James 4:8 says, Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (undecided). James warns us that worldliness makes a person a spiritual adulterer (James 4:4). The answer to worldliness is to draw near to God. God's wisdom leads to purity (an unblemished or spotless relationship with the Lord). A peace that is based on holiness, not on compromise. Isaiah says, the work of righteousness will be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and confidence forever (Isaiah 32:17).

God has called us who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, the true born-again believers, to be peacemakers. The peacemakers seek peace and pursue it (Psalms 34:14). God's peacemakers don't just stop wars; they replace the causes of wars with the righteousness of God.

In the Old Testament, the word peace” means more than just the absence of strife, it is personal and social well-being in the widest sense of the word. Jesus’ disciples will bring peace into all their relationships a quality which makes for harmony and blessing.

It was fitting that the angels who hailed Jesus’ birth sang of “peace on earth.” Jesus said, Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you (John 14: 27).

The peace known in the Bible springs from trust, love, and obedience toward God. Such persons will be called sons of God.

The central meaning of “peace” in the New Testament is “reconciliation (being brought into harmony) with God”. Jesus Christ is the Prince of peace, peace in the soul, and peace among men. The Apostle Paul said, “For he is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man of the two, making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby” (Ephesians 2:14-16). Unfortunately, in our world, there are few peacemakers.

What is this work of peace? It is the task of reconciliation between groups and men at odds. It keeps centrally in view the holy love of God. It knows that there can be no real peace until men are reconciled with Him. It abstains from provocation (causing resentment or irritation), moves with gentleness, and pleads in love. Peace-making is also a preventive task. The fundamental work of peace-making is always to reconcile men with God. The true evangelist is the best peacemaker: he pleads that men shall turn to Christ, thus making peace. So, the most important work of the peacemaker is the practice of the presence of God. Through that communion, the peacemaker can give peace from the overflow of his own peace-filled heart. The reward of the peacemaker is that God acknowledges him (as his) child. The world cannot always see in him this essential family likeness, but God sees it; the peacemakers are one in spirit with the Father, and therefore recognize all men as their brothers.

DO YOU HAVE PEACE IN YOUR SOUL? IF NOT YOU CAN. Jesus said, FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES (has confidence and trust) IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH (be condemned to hell), BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (a present reality).

          Contributors for this biblical blog are John MacArthur, Josephus,
              The Interpreter’s Bible, and The Moody Bible Commentary

(Ret) Southern Baptist Minister
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