John 1:14 says that Jesus came from the Father full of grace and truth. Learning to live like Jesus or living for God through Christ means learning to be full of grace and truth. From a relational point of view that means responding to others in grace and conducting ourselves in truth. When we do that we are loving one another: grace + truth = love. Matthew 5:9, Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God, which we looked at yesterday, tells us that one of the marks of a person who is full of God’s grace is that they are a peacemaker. Christ-like love is shown in the grace of peacemaking. In this post I want to present why this is so important to loving one another as Jesus loves us.
The first and foundational reason people who are full of God’s grace are peacemakers is because God has revealed to us that He is and wants to be known as a God of peace. It is no small thing that God the Father is called the God of peace five times in the New Testament (Romans 15:33, 16:20, Philippians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and Hebrews 13:20). He is called the God of love and peace in 2 Corinthians 13:11. And in 1 Corinthians 14:33 we read that God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
In Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) we are given a wonderful description of the Second Person of the Trinity: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Bringing peace was central to Christ’s mission. We read in Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV) For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The Holy Spirit is the bringer of peace. Paul writes in Romans 8:6 (NIV) The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. The fruit He produces is peace which is plain teaching of Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol. Against such things there is no law.
God is the God of peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. And the Spirit is the bringer, applier, and supplier of peace.
Peace is given as a characteristic of God’s children. The role of the Holy Spirit is to communicate God’s character to us in such a way that we are supernaturally transformed by Him so that we radiate the character of God. That means becoming like Christ means becoming a peacemaker.
Matthew 5:9 makes that abundantly clear, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. All the other Beatitudes promise gifts to the believer:
The poor in spirit, are promised the kingdom of heaven.
Those who mourn, are promised comfort.
The meek are promised that they will inherit the earth.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, are promised to be filled.
The merciful, are promised mercy.
The pure in heart are promised that they will see God.
Those who are persecuted because of righteousness are promised the kingdom of heaven.
Peacemakers alone are singled out as having the blessing of being called sons of God. Each of these beatitudes highlights the presence of God’s saving grace, but Jesus singles out peacemakers as being called sons of God. We should not down play that fact or let it just pass by without acknowledging the importance that Jesus placed on it. Jesus saw this as a major characteristic that distinguished His followers from the crowd.
Psalm 34:11-14 (NIV) says that as God’s children we should be seeking peace. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. This is repeated in 1 Peter 3:10-11.
People who are listening to God’s voice and are obedient to it are people who seek and pursue peace. Peace is something they both desire and work for.
Peace is something that comes with the indwelling of Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22 (NIV) the fruit of the Spirit is…peace. James 3:17 says (NIV) the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Jesus tells us in Mark 9:50 (NIV) that peace is a key characteristic that He expects His followers to have with one another. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Salt is a preservative. Peacemaking is like salt in that it works to keep sin from breaking down and decaying the church. Being a peacemaker makes us stand out and publically shows that our lives have been salted with God’s grace.
Being a peacemaker is not optional–it is a command. Consider these three verses:
Romans 12:18 (NIV) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. If there is anything that can be done, if it is at all possible, if it is at all within your power for the sake of peace you should be willing to do it. Peace is that important to God and to the Church.
Ephesians 4:3 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Peace is the primary evidence of the unity of the Spirit in the life of the Church. Therefore the effort to cultivate and maintain that peace is worth making every effort on our part. The clear implication is that when we do not pursue peace, we are working against the work of the Spirit Who is working to bring us into unity with God.
Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Here being a peacemaker is connected with being holy. We started this series by showing that love’s love is for holiness. To show love is to show holiness and part of holiness is peacemaking.
These verses make it very clear that God expects us to be workers, producers, and guardians of peace. God is telling us in these passages that He expects us to give our full cooperation to the work of His Spirit in us both individually and collectively as His Church to make peace a reality with one another.