“Blessed are the peacemakers“ Matt 5:9
So many times have I both read and heard the Word of God misused and out of context. The world (and much of the church) only likes the Jesus who loves them as they are, but they don’t want to hear about sin and repentance. Christ did die for the world. He does love the world. He does ask us each to come to Him just as we are. However, once we come to Him (as all true believers know) we do not stay the same. We are dead and buried with Christ, and then He makes us new. (2 Cor 5:17)
The message of love, love, love is a message of “love me and love what I do, because what I do is who I am.” The problem is that an unsaved person loves their sin and they identify with it. If, in their eyes, their identity is their sin, then it only makes sense that they would want a god that loves their sin. They want to be accepted as they are without change. This is why any Christian that speaks the gospel of Truth is branded “intolerant” or “hateful.” So, this scripture, among many, is pulled straight out of context and thrown up with the argument that what we are saying is not peaceful, nor is it in love. Yet, placed back into context, we can see it is not the worldly view of peace that Jesus is talking about.
Jesus said that He did not come to make peace, but to divide. (Luke 12:51) He goes on to say that father would be against son, mother against daughter, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and the vice versa of each of these. It would be a house divided. (vs. 52-53) How then are Jesus’s own Words to be reconciled one with the other? The answer is found right within the sermon on the mount.
Jesus opens it with blessings. In each blessing, we can see the character He expects to see from each of us. “Blessed are the poor in spirit… those that mourn… the meek… they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness… the merciful… the pure in heart…“ Matt 5:3-8
Without detailing each of these, we can generally see Jesus is saying that we must understand who we are in comparison to Who God is. God is our Creator, and we need to remember that we are not above Him. All that we do, and all of who we are, should be subject to His Will above our own. His Will is for us to truly Love Him first and foremost, for that is the first commandment Christ gave. (Matt 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27)
We can only Love Him because He first Loved us. We know that He loves the world, and therefore, we can recognize His Love for us through the Presence of the Holy Spirit within us. Being cognizant of this, we must ceaselessly do as Christ asks of us, which is deny ourselves, pick up the Cross, and follow Him. That is the only way we will be able to continually receive within us the Love of God, and to return that Love to Him.
The second commandment Christ gave was to Love others as we love ourselves. (Matt 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27) With the agapé Love of God flowing into us and through us, we are enabled to recognize that everyone around us is in the same dire need of a Savior as we are. Our focus moves from ourselves to others, and we can see that the Truth is the most imperative subject to discuss. Nothing matters more than a person’s soul being secured by acceptance, and through, of the atonement made by Christ at the Cross. So, in His Love, our hearts see the real need. We see that they, as we, need God, and the peace of God that comes with the assurance of salvation.
This is the peace we are to bring as the peacemakers. It is not the sort of peace that the world wants, which is tolerance of everyone’s actions and sins. The world doesn’t want anyone to point out the wrongs (sins) committed against one another and against themselves; but, having the Light within us, in Truth, we bring attention to those very wrongs. In doing so, the Light comes into conflict with the darkness. So, the reaction is a push back, and condemnation, from the world, and even from the apostate church, which is a proclamation against the very Word of God. This is why, during His sermon, Jesus continues as such:
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you , and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matt 5:10-12
It is the peace of God, which we must bring, and yet hold onto, that the world needs. It is we, the peacemakers, the children of the living God, who should understand this and who Jesus says will be persecuted for it. It is God within us that encourages our spirits to move closer to Him, and to want those around us to do the same. When they are not ready to accept this, they will resist. It is God the Father that must draw them to Jesus, so we must have faith and know that until they want to understand true peace, they will not, and we will be branded as unloving, intolerant, and hateful. Know that it is because they just don’t want to understand. But, know also, we must speak the gospel of peace. We cannot deny our Savior.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Matt 5:14
Bring the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding (Phillippians 4:7), and be the peacemakers. Honor God, not man, by speaking the gospel in Love. Be gentle, but stand firm. Remember you, too, were on the other side of that fence. Know that it is Christ Who divides, and all you are to do is share the Truth, the gospel of peace, and defend it, for it this peace is not easily accepted and it causes division. When you experience the push back, know you are blessed.