Blessed are the Peacemakers

By Michael Brown Published on December 19, 2023

It is true that the gospel message brings opposition as well as salvation. It is true that, as followers of Jesus, we have to swim against the tide of the world, often resulting in persecution and hatred coming our way. And it is true that, the more we walk in the power of the Spirit, the more we will be a threat to the kingdom of darkness, branded troublemakers and agitators, called disturbers of the peace (see Acts 17:1-6). But it is also true that we are called by the Lord to be peacemakers.

As Jesus famously said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Interestingly, when Jesus spoke the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), commending those who were poor in spirit, who mourned, who were meek, who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, who were merciful, who were pure in heart, who were persecuted for righteousness, and who were peacemakers, it was only the last group of whom He said, “they will be called children of God.” Why was this?

The Lord’s promise to the poor in spirit and to those persecuted for righteousness was that the kingdom of heaven was theirs.

“The One who makes peace in His heights [meaning in the heavenly realm], may He make peace upon us and on all of Israel. Now say: Amen.”

His promise to those who mourned was that they would be comforted. To the meek that they would inherit the earth. To those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness that they would be filled. To the merciful, that they would receive mercy. To the pure in heart that they would see God.

These promises all follow logically.

But why is it that the reward of the peacemakers is that they will be called children (literally, sons) of God?

Bringing Peace is Godlike

New Testament commentator Leon Morris explains, “It is people like this who will be called God’s sons. There is something godlike in bringing peace to people and people to peace. There is, of course, a sense in which all believers are members of the family of God, whether they are distinguished as makers of peace or not. But those who make peace are fulfilling what membership in the family really means, and this is something to which all the members of the family must aspire. The verb “to call” may be used in a variety of ways, but here the point is that the call signifies that the person called really is what the name indicates.”

Yes, indeed, “There is something godlike in bringing peace to people and people to peace,” and when we function as ambassadors of reconciliation, as people who bring warring factions together, we reflect our spiritual pedigree. We demonstrate that we are children of the Father.

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In the words of one of the most famous Jewish prayers, “Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya‘aseh shalom aleinu v’‘al kol-yisrael, v’imru: amen.”

“The One who makes peace in His heights [meaning in the heavenly realm], may He make peace upon us and on all of Israel. Now say: Amen.”

When we make peace — not through compromise or fleshly methods, but through the gospel and sacrificial love — we act like our Father. That’s why we will be called children of God.

“People in Whose Presence Bitterness Cannot Live”

Commentator William Barclay noted:

There are people who are always storm centres of trouble and bitterness and strife. Wherever they are, they are either involved in quarrels themselves or the cause of quarrels between others. They are troublemakers. There are people like that in almost every society and every church, and such people are doing the devil’s own work. On the other hand—thank God—there are people in whose presence bitterness cannot live, people who bridge the gulfs, and heal the breaches, and sweeten the bitternesses. Such people are doing a Godlike work, for it is the great purpose of God to bring peace between men and women and himself, and among all people. Anyone who divides people is doing the devil’s work; anyone who unites people is doing God’s work.

As Jacob (James) explained, those who “harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition” are acting in a way that is “earthly, unspiritual, demonic,” leading to “disorder and every evil practice.”

We Will Make Enemies but We are Called to Work for Peace

In contrast, those who practice divine wisdom, reflecting the nature of God, are “first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:14–18).

This mirrors the words of the prophet Isaiah: “For the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, calm and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).

Without a doubt, we will be called to stand against unrighteousness, thereby making enemies. And we will be called to speak out against injustice and sin, thereby stirring up opposition. That is unavoidable.

At the same time, we are called to work for peace, for reconciliation, for forgiveness, for true unity.

This not only reflects the heart of God, our Father. It also brings Him great joy.

May we show ourselves to be His children!

 

Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Why So Many Christians Have Left the Faith. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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