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Peacemakers

Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
-Matthew 5:9 (CEB, NLT)

Peacemakers seem like rare birds today in Christianity.  But maybe it is the fighting and even brawling that gets the attention and makes it seem like we're all unpeaceful.  Actually, a wide swath of Christians are peaceful.

The nature of Christ and the movement of Christianity is not necessarily characterized as a peace movement, but, as a cooperation movement.  Christians cooperate with God and with one another.  We show people how we do it and invite them to join in.

The identity of being children of God lends itself to cooperation with God and with one another.  The nature of cooperation is the opposite of selfish ambition, vain conceit, suspicious projections onto others and fighting.  When we all know we are children of God, we are then set free to cooperate with one another.

Peacemakers are more than just peaceful cooperators.  Peacemakers show others how to make peace, through example and demonstration.  A peacemaker lets other people go first, especially if those persons are upset and riled up.

When Jesus first spoke these words there were then and there still are now believers who hold the idea that mixing faith with militarism is a good thing, and even is a hallmark or a proof of genuine belonging to God's family.  Jesus gave us this saying to dispel that very notion, then and now.

Here are some notes on, 'Blessed are the peacemakers', from Martyn Lloyd-Jones, spoken only a few years after the great wars of the twentieth century:

  • As with the other beatitudes that precede it, 'Blessed are the peacemakers', is a further outcome and outworking of being filled with God.
  • It is of note the preceding beatitudes correspond to the ones that follow: Being a peacemaker flows out of a life of meekness ('Happy are people who are humble').
  • The outworking of the Christian life is different than the outworking of the life of the 'not Christian'.
  • Jesus shocks some believers with these words, who expect him to bring the kingdom by military means.
  • Even someone as committed to God as John the Baptist misunderstood how the kingdom would come.
  • Bringing the kingdom, establishing Christ's rule through bloodshed, militarism or rowdy political control runs completely counter to Jesus.
  • To those who love the ethical teachings of the sermon on the mount, but dislike Paul's theology and orthopraxy, this verse is a thorn, because is says that sin is the reason for war and mankind has a sin problem that must be dealt with theologically.
  • This verse teaches believers that war is never the answer.  To find glory in going to war is to depart from Jesus.  Human blood shedding war and Christ are antithetical, oxymorons.
  • The maker of peace is someone who is being transformed by God through Christ.
  • Desire for war equates with sin and fallen human nature, whereas peacemaking is a marker of believers.
  • The reason we can not keep the peace in the world is sin and fallen mankind.
  • The answer to war and warmongering is theological.
  • Nothing man made will stop, prohibit or outlaw wars; and Christians should not be excited about such things.
  • The only hope for stopping fighting is people having their lives changed by God.
  • Being a peacemaker does not mean you are 'easygoing' in disposition.
  • Being a peacemaker does not mean you believe in 'peace at any price'.
  • Being a peacemaker does not mean you are an 'appeaser' or will 'do anything to avoid trouble'.
  • Peacemakers have a high regard for justice and righteousness that appeasers lack.
  • True peacemakers are not quarrelsome people.
  • True peacemakers are active in that they work to make peace between parties.
  • Peacemakers both go out of their way to not make trouble and  to make peace.
  • The ultimate concern of the peacemaker is that all people would first be at peace with God.
  • Only a person with a new heart and pure heart, touched by God can become a maker of authentic peace.
  • True peacemakers have been delivered from selfishness and self interest.
  • True peacemakers are absolutely neutral between aggrieved parties, while aligned with God.
  • Peacemakers have one, overriding concern and that is for God's glory among people.
  • Peacemakers of Jesus, in practice are people who listen more than have a need to speak.
  • Peacemakers of Jesus are people who view every (peacemaking) situation in the light of the gospel.
  • Peacemakers of Jesus are action oriented, rather than believers in mind or thought only, who do real things like feeding their enemies.
  • Peacemakers make peace, meaning they reach out, dialogue, and give relief to the physical needs of those who are in strife with them.
  • Peacemakers are people who know how to apologize, to produce peace.
  • Peacemakers are people who diffuse (spread) peace wherever they go and cultivate a style of approachableness, by being selfless, loving, sympathetic, understanding and humble.
  • The benediction upon peacemakers is that 'they are called the children of God'.
  • 'Called' means 'owned'.
  • The peacemakers are people who are owned by God: God's own, God's children.
  • This means that they are just like Jesus in that they are here to bring glory to God and invite all others to join God's family, through God's Son, the Prince of Peace.
________________________________________________________________________
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, pp. 117-127 (1959, 1993)

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