Blessed Are The Peacemakers
By Lee Jones
In our day, we have a lopsided view of peace. We often see it merely as the absence of conflict. We are either at war or at peace, so to speak. In order to understand the gravity of this beatitude, we need to first understand the popular concept of peace at Jesus’ time, and then make application from there.
Peace meant so much more to the Jewish people than it does to many of us today. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, is a comprehensive description of peace both personally and in the larger community, which is why the word was used as a greeting even to our day. Shalom describes not just the absence of conflict, but the presence of a sort of blessed neighborliness and wholeness in a person’s entire life.
What is the motivation to be a peacekeeper? Why not just isolate ourselves with our closest loved ones and focus on keeping the peace with them? Frankly, because God made peace with his enemies (psst! That’s us!) and so the gospel sends us out to make peace as well.
God, the ultimate peacemaker, has put his peacemaking Spirit in our hearts, so we become peacemakers ourselves as we are his children, being made into the image of Christ.
Every Christian rejoices that “it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Christ, and through him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross…” (Col. 1:20). The death and resurrection of Christ broke the dividing wall of hostility between us and the Father, brokering the peace that means salvation for us. After all, Isaiah terms the Suffering Servant as the Prince of Peace, and he Himself is our peace (Eph. 2:14). “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)
So, as we have seen how Jesus fully embodies shalom, how do we reflect the shalom he’s put into our hearts to others as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission? Hebrews 12:14 offers us some help: “pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see The LORD.” Peace with others is part of our sanctification which is evidence we will see the LORD (as the last beatitude stated). So it makes sense that Paul would encourage us to be at peace with everyone (both believers and unbelievers) if it is possible on your part (Rom. 12:18). The reason he can make that imperative goes right back to God’s nature. Romans 8:14 says “for all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are Sons of God.” God, the ultimate peacemaker, has put his peacemaking Spirit in our hearts, so we become peacemakers ourselves as we are his children, being made into the image of Christ. The fruit proves the root, so to speak. That is how the beatitude can promise that peacemakers are blessed because they are sons of God. Sons bear a resemblance to their Father.
This beatitude is incredibly important now in the divided world we live in. There is no greater force for peace than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save the lost, to make the hater of God into the child of God. No political ideology, moralistic legislation, or grassroots effort to change society or culture or institutions can kill the hostility that is deep in the nature of sinful man. Only the love of God, and the reconciliation that forgives all your sin freely, can make true peace. May we all strive to live out that truth in our sin-darkened world.
Glory to God alone.