Let's Study the Beatitudes! Part 8, Blessed Peacemakers

In Matthew 5:9, Jesus preached, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God, proclaiming that God’s children are shown to be His by extending their Father’s peace to others as something they enjoy, often by exertion.

Peacemaking is not keeping the peace at all costs, which really just leads to war.

When England and France signed the Munich Agreement to appease Hitlers deceptive, insatiable aggression, it inevitably led to the Second World War.

Sometimes, the only way to make peace is war, as Paul recognizes in Rom. 16:20 that peace on earth only comes by putting down the Deceiver.  Thomas Watson warns, “One bad member in a parish endangers the whole … There are many [who] would have peace with the destroying of truth … This is a peace of the devils making.”[1]

The Greek for peacemakers” means not “peace-keepers” but peace-doers.”  A.W. Pink qualifies, it is not a peace at any price … that is a false peace, unworthy to be called peace at all,”[2] of which Jer. 6:14, 8:11 and Ezek. 13:10, 16 bemoan.[3]

Jesus later explained, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt. 10:34)  We may not sheathe Christ’s Word (Heb. 4:12).  Peacekeepers do not avoid conflict but confront and resolve it.

Peacemaking actively reconciles at great risk and personal cost, which alone creates real peace.

Mike Wallace reported this remarkable peace seeking in the Middle East: 

On November 9, 1977 … the president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, dropped a diplomatic bombshell.  In a speech before the Egyptian parliament, he said that his desire for a permanent peace in the Middle East was so strong that he would go even to the home of the Israelis, to the Kneset, to discuss peace with them.’  ….never before had an Arab head of state come up with such a bold proposal.  The ball was now in Menachem Begins court, and to his credit ….Two days later, he announced his plan to invite Sadat to Israel to talk about an enduring peace, and on November 19 … the president of Egypt stepped off a plane in Jerusalem, thus becoming the first Arab head of state to visit Israel.”[4]

These efforts led to an official peace treaty between Egypt and Israel with President Carter at Camp David.[5]

The Greek for shall be called” implies being summoned unto fellowship (1 Cor. 1:9).  Christians must keep coming to the table, willing to leave something on the table, looking for common ground to build upon, For the kingdom of God is … righteousness, and peace … Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace … (Rom. 14:17-19).

We are told to avoid the habitually hostile (Rom. 16:17).  Be principled, yet statesman-like churchmen willing to find ways to pursue and produce peaceful fruit (Ps. 34:14; James 3:17-18).  Such are willing to count the cost and contribute.  So Thomas Watson wrote of Christ: As he prayed for peace, so he paid for peace.”[6]

In 2 Cor. 5:18-21, Paul teaches it is those who have the ministry of reconciliation that manifest being new creatures in Christ Who sacrificed Himself for them and their example.

God made Christians His children of peace at the cost of His Own Son, the Prince of Peace.

Adopting parents bring home children at great personal cost.  So did the Father for Christians (John 3:16) who prove they are children of God” and at peace with Him (Rom. 5:1-2) by doing the same for brethren through the mediating Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), the King of Peace (Heb. 7:2).  Real, Christian peace only comes through Jesus (Col. 1:20; Eph. 2:14-15).

True peace-making declares repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ in how we handle our other relations (Rom 10:15).  For the fruit of the Spirit is peace (Gal. 5:22) which grows with the mind of God for making more (2 Cor. 13:11) and an endeavor for its unified bonding (Eph. 4:3)—similar to my son’s science experiment where temporary magnets stuck together by the force of a permanent magnet between them. 

Christs magnetic, messianic, merciful, mediatorial pull keeps Christians close to God and one another with a peaceful fellowship not of this divisive world.  For only the King’s Peacemakers Enjoy the Princes Peace.[7]

 

Grant Van Leuven has been feeding the flock at the Puritan Reformed Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA, since 2010.  He and his wife, Fernanda, have six covenant children: Rachel, Olivia, Abraham, Isaac, Gabriel, and Gideon.  He earned his M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.



[1] Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1971), 205, 208.

[2] A.W. Pink, An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1964), 37.

[3] Thus Rom. 12:18 qualifies we should live peaceably with all men, “If it be possible.”  As Heb. 12:14 says we should follow peace with everyone by virtue of holiness.

[4] Mike Wallace, Between You and Me: A Memoir (New York: Hyperion Press, 2005), citation from Hyperion Ebook via the Kindle app, chapter four: “The Middle East,” subsection, “Menachem Begin Anwar Sadat,” para. 15, 16 (an estimation due to interview script quotes interspersed).

[5] Ibid, para. 16.

[6] Watson, 211.

[7] To listen to the author’s sermon by this title on which this article is based, visit https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=3211611133.  For his introduction to the Beatitudes while preaching through Matthew, entitled “Cursed Christians, You are Blessed!”, visit https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=21161354210.

 

Grant Van Leuven

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