Like the merciful, those commit the costly act of refusing to answer injury for injury and seeking a peaceful reconciliation instead will find their inheritance as children of God in the kingdom of heaven. When we realize how deeply we ourselves are indebted to God’s grace and dependent on His mercy, we also realize we’re in no position to condemn the sins of others.
- The Sermon on the Mount is a very important body of teaching given by Jesus at a time when he was very popular.
- Jesus intends to show his disciples the issues they will face if they want to be children of God.
- Jesus contrasts his teaching with the teaching of the Pharisees.
- Luke 6 is the same sermon given in shorter version. We can use Luke to understand Matthew and vice versa.
- Jesus speaks cryptically. He makes concise provocative statements that we must think about to understand.
- Jesus makes strong categorical, black and white statements that ultimately reflect the end of a process of struggle, growth and maturity.
- In the beatitudes, Jesus confronts us with fundamental convictions of saving faith.
Each beatitude has 4 features:
- A beatitude tells us WHO is blessed.
- A beatitude tells us WHY such a person is blessed.
- A beatitude tells us ONLY these people are blessed.
- There is something surprising or ironic about these people being blessed.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9
- The peacemakers are fortunate because they shall be called sons of God.
- To be a “son of” something means you are like that something (e.g. Son of Man, Son of God, sons of light, sons of this world, sons of thunder, etc.)
- I understand “sons of God” in this context as a synonym for children of God. When the kingdom comes and God establishes his rule through his Messiah, peacemakers will be given a place in the kingdom as His heirs.
- Like being merciful, being a peacemaker involves being reconciled to another person the way God has reconciled to me.
God as peacemaker
19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. – Colossians 1:19-20
1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2
- Peacemaker Strong’s G1518: εἰρηνοποιός; eirēnopoios (i-ray-nop-oy-os’). It’s only other use in the New Testament is the related verb Strong’s G1517 in Colossians 1:19-20 where it refers to God.
- There are 2 consequences to our rebellion from God. First, we have cut ourselves off from God (the source of life) and we are stuck with death.
- Death is more than the end of life. It includes all the tragedies, corruption and futility of this life (e.g. divorce, alienation, war, strife, and hatred, etc.)
- See What is life and death and why should I care?
- Second, the rebellion is wrong and deserves punishment.
- If you think of our rebellion as turning our backs on God, the second consequence of our rebellion is God turns His back on us.
- We need to be reconciled to God. We are under His wrath and we need to make peace with Him. But left to ourselves, we have no way to gain that peace and reconciliation.
- God in His mercy made peace with us by sending Jesus to satisfy our debt to justice (Romans 5:1-2).
- See What is justification and why do I need it?
- Because we have been justified by faith through Jesus Christ, we now have peace with God (as opposed to being under His wrath).
- God showed us mercy, solving our problem with sin and reconciling us to Himself. Paul describes that in Colossians and Romans as God making peace with us.
Believers as peacemakers
8Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:8-12 (quoting Psalm 34)
- Psalm 34 tells us if we are looking for blessing from God, we must turn away from evil and that includes being people who seek peace and pursue it.
- Peter explains what that looks like: not returning evil for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead.
- Being a peacemaker is being someone who absorbs the blow, and instead seeks peace and reconciliation, just as God did for us.
- Like the other beatitudes, being a peacemaker is also an implication of having genuine saving faith.
- When someone hurts me, it shouldn’t surprise me because we’re both sinful. I am secure in my inheritance to God and I have nothing to gain by reviling and hurting back.
- Once I realize just how deeply I am indebted to God’s grace and dependent on His mercy, I’m in no position to condemn the sins of others. Seeking to hurt them as they have hurt me is adding injury to injury. Nobody wins. There’s nothing to gain.
- If we are not willing to be reconciled to those who have done us wrong, then we have not really understood how much God has forgiven us and how He overlooked our sins to reestablish a relationship with us.
As surprising as it may seem, those who do not return evil for evil but instead seek to be reconciled to those who do evil to them are truly fortunate because they and they only are showing themselves to be like God, as children are like their parents, and they will inherit a place in their father’s kingdom.