Friday, January 12, 2018

The Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

I remember early in my faith, this specific Beatitude made a great impact in my life. Continuing in this short Bible study of the Beatitudes by Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives from the book of Matthew in the fifth chapter, Dirk Naves states that most of us want peace, but very few of us are willing to make it. It is easy for us to breeze through the Beatitudes and mistake peacemaking for a passive quality, one possessed by people who mind their own business. Their virtue is found primarily in avoiding conflict. But that is certainly not Jesus’ intended teaching. A peacemaker does not avoid conflict. A peacemaker engages conflict – not to inflame it, but to resolve it. A peacemaker is one whose posture is primarily active, relentless, in the pursuit of justice, harmony, repentance, and reconciliation. Peace is not when “nothing is happening”; it is when the Lord is happening. Most basically, peacemakers are those who proclaim and apply the gospel in evangelism and in conflict resolution.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Naves explains that the peacemaking envisioned and embodied by Christ, the supreme peacemaker, has two orientations: towards God and towards our fellow man, and the citizens of Christ’s kingdom are called to labor with both aims before them. To find success in this endeavor, we must operate from a place of personal peace and reconciliation with God. Pastor Louie Giglio states that this personal reconciliation is centered upon the gospel truth of the Cross.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In the giving of Jesus Christ as an atoning death on the cross, in our place, for our sins, we experience God’s love and grace towards us in unmerited forgiveness and redemption by faith alone. Hebrews 6:19 tells us: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” In the finished redemptive work by the Son of God, the blessed Savior Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, on the Cross at Calvary where the sins of the world were laid and paid, do we stand and build on the rock solid foundation and anchor of our soul in the love, joy and peace of our salvation.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Naves points out that Jesus indeed warned that His truth would bring strife, but the heart of His mission was peacemaking. If we have found peace with God, the pursuit of peace with and for others should be a central aim of ours as well. Peace can only flourish where there is deep, transforming change within hearts. This is not work that accomplished in our own strength. Grace is what is needed. Rooted firmly in the peace made by Christ, today’s peacemakers must look to His life as a model.

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

His peacemaking led Him to a cross. It also led Him to a crown, a throne, and a people from every tribe, tongue and nation. This is the lot of peacemakers for they are called sons of God.

Blessed in Christ

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