Blessed Are the Peacemakers
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
At the height of the Cold War, the United States developed and deployed a class of ICMBs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) called the “Peacemaker.” These missiles were far more accurate and carried a much greater destructive payload than any before them. Like the famous Colt pistol in the Old West which carried the same nickname, the only peace these weapons brought was from the fear of destruction that their use would bring.
At War with God
Jesus could have come down to earth like this kind of Peacemaker. The Apostle Paul, in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, makes a very clear case that humanity was at war with God and that our rebellion deserved divine punishment. Like an attorney at a war crimes trial, Paul lists our offenses against our Creator and he summarizes them by saying, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
As we read this list of charges in Romans 1, we may think to ourselves, “Well, I don’t do that one. Or that one either. I may be less than perfect, but I am hardly evil. I have never murdered anyone. And God and I may not be particularly close, but I am certainly not a God-hater. That goes too far.” But as we intellectually squirm away from the charges against us, Paul cuts off all avenues of escape in chapter 3. There in verse 23, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and speaking the very words of God, he tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Whether we acknowledge it or not, humanity in its fallen nature is at war with God.
Jesus, Our Peacemaker
Praise God that He sent a different kind of peacemaker to end this war! Jesus came to earth not to battle and destroy his enemies, but rather to reconcile them to God. He did not come to make us pay the penalty for our rebellion and sin; he came to make that payment on our behalf—to suffer and die so that we might be declared righteous. In Romans 5:8, Paul tells us that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And just a few verses before that, he offers great encouragement to those of us who have accepted this sacrificial work of Christ on our behalf. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus is the perfect peacemaker.
And as if giving us life eternal were not enough, God has graciously also given us the very Spirit of Christ too. And because we have this Spirit of Christ, we see our hearts and actions transformed more and more into the image of Jesus. As Christ loved us, so we love others. As Christ was self-controlled, we become more self-controlled. And as Christ came to make peace, so too we become peacemakers.
This fruit of the Spirit is how we know that we have been saved by Christ. We should be able to look at our lives and see evidence of the transforming work of the promised Holy Spirit. If this evidence is not there—if there is no fruit—then we are in danger of not truly knowing Christ. We are likely still at war with God. If this is you, examine your heart today and turn to Christ for salvation!
Children of God
For look at the promise for those of us who have trusted in Christ. In perhaps the most beautiful chapter in all of Scripture, Paul tells us in Romans 8 that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” There are those words from our verse in the Sermon on the Mount again. Children of God. The perfect peacemaker made peace for us so that we too could become peacemakers and children of the Most High God.