9. The Peacemakers


Mt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Consider the order again: awareness of spiritual poverty, grieving for that state, acceptance of God’s will, yearning for His goodness, acceptance of all others in the face of my own failing and His will, and purity of desire for God. The different facets of this process of coming to salvation start with recognition of our plight (v.3,4), then rejection of our old life and desiring for God’s way (v.5,6), which then move on to characteristics of the seeking heart as seen in its attitude to others and towards God (v.7,8). Each of these is an indication of the convicting work of God’s Holy Spirit as He seeks to draw us to God through Christ.

Today’s verse is a further such characteristic that blends attitude towards God and towards others but which really is more than attitude; it is action and as such will form the first of the two final beatitudes that are about living out the Christian faith. First of all we have to see what God is doing. He is working by His Spirit to reconcile us to Himself and bring us to a place of peace with Him: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.(Col 1:19,20). Peace with God is one of the key results of the work of Jesus applied in our lives. Now when that comes and a person is born again, what we so often see is a desire in that person for that peace to come to others. This being a bringer-of-peace or being a peacemaker, isn’t about bringing warring parties together in a global conflict, as good as that is. This peace is the peace of salvation. When this peace comes all sorts of other peace situations can follow, but the bringer of peace, or the peacemaker, is a bringer of the Gospel experience, of the knowledge of the love of God. That’s what a true peacemaker does; they bring others to the place of ultimate peace – peace with their Maker.

But why should they do that? They do that because of the work of the Holy Spirit working within them. The Father desires all peoples to come to know this peace (Rom 16:20a, 2 Pet 3:9b), the Son died to bring peace (see Col 1:20 above), and the Holy Spirit works in our minds to put us at peace (Rom 8:6, Gal 5:22). How many of the letters of the apostles start with the desire for ‘grace and peace? For example, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Paul – Eph 1:2). “Grace and peace be yours in abundance(Peter – 1 Pet 1:2). “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ” (John – 2 Jn 1:3). Even James added in, “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (Jas 3:18). All the apostles realized that peace was a crucial issue in the Christian life and its outworking started with being brought to peace with God through Jesus’ work on the Cross, and peace would then be an ongoing experience of the Christian’s daily relationship with God.

But what about the second part of the verse? “They will be called sons of God.” Why? Because sons exhibit the same characteristics as their father and so Christians will exhibit this same desire to bring peace to others, through Jesus’ work, that the Father desires. The bringers of this ultimate peace as doing the same work of the Father that Jesus did. Everything Jesus did was ultimately bringing people into the knowledge of God his Father, and in that knowledge, have peace. In the Old Testament times, ‘sons’ were known as those who carried on their fathers’ businesses. That is why we are sometimes referred to as sons (regardless of gender); it is a reminder that we are adopted to become like our Father in heaven and to do His work, and carry on His business, here on earth. That is the significance of ‘sonship’ (and if you have gender issue problems, remember we’re all, regardless of gender, part of the ‘bride’ of Christ!).

So, to conclude, if the Holy Spirit is truly bringing change in us as He convicts, there will be a change in attitude towards all others (v.7), there will be a wholeheartedness towards God (v.8) and now there will be a looking outwards to bring the same peace we are experiencing into the lives of those around us. Thus we become peacemakers. Are you?

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