Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Making peace with others is practical applications just as much as it is spiritual. Christ always starts with changing our hearts, and that leads to the change in our outward behavior. Spiritually you must know God and be saved by Jesus Christ to have true peace SO THAT you can let others to know about the peace they can find in Jesus. It is love that compels us, not duty. I bring others to God in the hopes that they find peace because it is their greatest good, my greatest joy, and for God’s glory. I get flowers for, serve, and speak tenderly to my wife because I love her, not because I have to. Love compels us.
There is a universal truth that applies to everyone at all times:
You can’t give what you don’t have.
If I don’t have money, I can’t lend you any. If you don’t have sugar, your neighbor can’t borrow sugar from you. If you don’t have peace, you can’t give peace to others or help them find it for themselves.
And you can only have peace with God when you are in relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the source of peace. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.”
Jesus is telling this group of people that in order to be a peacemaker between others or between others and God, they must first have peace between themselves and God. Those who are “sons of God” make peace. Just as we love others because Christ loved us first, we make peace with others because Christ first made peace with us. This peace comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” John 16:33 says: “I [Jesus] have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.” Isaiah 26:3 says: “You [God] keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of Peace. You and I are sinners. We have been at war with the God of the Universe ever since we were born. God was our enemy, even though God continued to seek to reconcile with us (the Law, the Temple, the Prophets). But we, like Israel, rejected Him, forgot Him, walked away from Him. Finally, God Himself entered into human history by sending Jesus Christ so that peace could be established through His perfect life (the life that we could never live), His perfect death (the death that we deserved because of our sin), and His resurrection and ascension. Jesus is now at the right hand of God, advocating on our behalf, bringing peace between God and the world. Romans 8:34 says: “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.“
So, to sum up: No Jesus, no Peace. With Jesus, all Peace.
And listen, it sounds easy, right? Just be a peacemaker. Just bring peace wherever you go. Just be nice, kind, giving, generous, and seek to resolve problems and restore brokenness when you encounter them.
If you live in the real world at all, you know this is much more difficult than it sounds at first blush. Relationships are messy, difficult, and set in dysfunctional patterns. People are prideful, entrenched in their own beliefs about themselves and about others, and completely lacking in any self-awareness. All you have to do is look at the last 7,000 years of human history to see that establishing any lasting peace is a tall order. We have had war after war after war, ethnic cleansing, engineered poverty, famine, and economic manipulation, murder, theft, racism… and on and on.
Let’s bring it a little closer to home. Just look at your life and relationships. Are you at peace with everyone? I have to admit that this is difficult for me. Conflict seems to be a constant companion sometimes. Whether I am driving and get cut off (which happened this past Tuesday), or in a disagreement with my wife (which happens regularly), or am confronting sin in someone in my small group (which happened this past week), there is the constant potential for peace to be ruptured. God gave us guidelines when trying to establish peace with others (Matthew 5:23; Matthew 18), but admittedly, peace is hard, isn’t it?
But Jesus is not only concerned about worldly peace between neighbors, spouses, countries, and racial groups. He is working toward the EVERLASTING PEACE that is only found in a relationship with Him. He saves us, brings us near to God. Ephesians 2:13-14 says: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility….”
Not only that (if that were not enough) but Jesus is coming again and will establish peace on Earth and in Heaven for ever and ever and ever. Isaiah 9:6-7 says: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
Isaiah 11:1-9 says:
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.”
Jesus will bring peace in your life, the lives of those around you, and to the very fabric of the Universe itself. God is taking us back to the Garden of Eden, a new Heaven and a new Earth, where all things are “good” in the eyes of God. Peace in our souls and in the world will reign.
Until then, all we can do is strive for practical peace with those we are in conflict with and for others to find peace with God (salvation). So, ask yourself:
IS PEACE EVIDENT IN MY LIFE?
AM I LEADING OTHERS TO PEACE IN JESUS CHRIST?