“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matt. 5:9 (NRS)
What adjective do people use to describe you? Do they portray you as a bridge builder or a wrecking ball? Do they see you as one who encourages others or as a dream crusher? As silly as this exercise may seem, it is important that believers daily exhibit behavior that reflects God’s nature, especially behavior that demonstrates kingdom living. Today’s beatitude examines God’s peace as it is revealed by those called by His name.
In the beginning man enjoyed a special relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. But with the introduction of sin, man became estranged from God. The fellowship and peace once enjoyed by the Creator and His beloved creature was broken. But because of His great love God reconciled Himself to man through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-19) thereby once again making peace possible between Himself and man. Through the act of reconciliation, God has also created the opportunity for man to share with his fellow man God’s ministry of peace (2 Cor. 5:20). Peacemaking found its genesis in the heart of God.
Peacemakers (eirenopoios which means “make peace”) are intentional in creating opportunities that mirror God’s heart of peace in the world. Those who are peacemakers are first and foremost people who understand and embrace God’s provision of peace. They understand that peace is not the result of external factors or human effort but is the internal “heart work” of the Holy Spirit, who is daily conforming believers to the image of Christ, the Ultimate Peacemaker (Rom. 8:29). Peacemakers strive to promote the kingdom of God. They look for opportunities to both prevent potential conflicts and encourage peaceful relationships even if it means personal sacrifice and self-deference (1 Cor. 9:22). As Christ demonstrated God’s peace in His ministry, believers become peacemakers in this present age (Phil. 4:7).
Who are children of God?
(1) Those who by faith in Jesus Christ have accepted God’s offer of salvation (Gal. 3:26). The peace that Jesus speaks to in this beatitude is not a “natural” habit or disposition of man; nor is it something one can strive to achieve. This peace is part of the new nature imparted to man during the process of salvation (2 Cor. 5:17). This new nature changes the perspective of how man views himself, others, and the world. He no longer lives for himself but for the glory of God (2 Cor. 5:15). To practice peacemaking is not easy (in the natural)—that’s why a new nature is required.
(2) Those who are led by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14). In contract, those who are not led by the Holy Spirit are directed by the mind and the flesh which are at enmity with the things of God (Rom. 8:6-8). Those who choose not to accept the offer of salvation, live as children of disobedience, guided by their fleshly nature, instructed by the ways of the world, and servant to the god of the air (1 John 3:10). How can there be peace on earth when mankind is consumed by greed, lust, pride, and hatred. These are the root of peacelessness.
(3) Those who love God and obey His commandments (1 John 5:2). I was once told by a fellow believer that in life they simply follow the “10/2” rule—the Ten Commandments (Deut. 5:6-21) and the Greatest Law (Mark 12:28-34). Evidence of being a child of God is seen in how one lives. Giving little attention to self, the child of God focuses on the things that glorify God and serve others.
What an honor it is to be identified as part of such a holy and righteous linage. No longer sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2), we now are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). We thank God for life and the name change—from children of darkness to children of God.