As we have seen, the Beatitudes demonstrate a progression in our walk with Christ. The rewards for pursuing the Kingdom of God being manifest in us include an inheritance both in God’s heavenly Kingdom and on the new earth, being filled with His righteousness, receiving His mercy, seeing God and more. Next, we come to:
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemaker, for they shall be called sons of God.”
When Christ came and died for our sins, He made a way of peace between us and God. Because of sin, unbelievers remain under the wrath of God. However, those who choose to trust in Christ have forgiveness of their sins. Jesus came and died a horrible death on the cross to satisfy the wrath of God, to bring peace between God and men. He let men cruficy Him, that some might be saved through Him.
As the Son of God, Jesus was a peacemaker. We must look at how He lived His life in the gospels to understand what this means.
Jesus never compromised on God’s Truth. At all times He stood for righteousness, meekness, and so forth. He lived the Beatitudes as He walked among us as one of us. He confronted the sinful hearts and actions of the scribes (lawyers) and Pharisees, the religious leaders in Israel. He threw the moneychangers out of the Temple. He called the religious leaders a bunch of hypocrites who put on the appearance of religion but are rotten to the core.
On the other hand, He showed mercy to those who knew they had sin in their lives. He upheld God’s law and exhorted them to repent, to stop the sin. He even warned them of the danger of hell if they did not repent. Whether confronting and rebuking the self-righteous or talking with the sinner, His motive was always to bring them to a right relationship with God, to bring them to have peace with the Lord.
Some Christians think being a peacemaker means being non-confrontational, or being a doormat. They take Paul’s word in Romans 12:18, to live peaceably with all men as much as it depends on us, in a way that Paul did not intend.
We are still to warn mankind to repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. We still must warn of the reality of hell, and tell the glorious love of God that He made a way for us through faith in Christ.
In recent news, we have heard of a group who deliberately seeks to insult Muslims by drawing pictures of the prophet Mohammed. It is THIS kind of thing that Paul was addressing when he told us to live at peace with others.
Now we know that Mohammed is a false prophet, and Islam is a false religion – and we stand firm in this truth. Some have chosen to teach that Muslims worship the same God we do, which is a doctrine of demons, a lie from the pit of hell. If you follow a pastor or teacher who teaches this, you should confront and correct them, or run away as fast as you can. We must stand firm in the truth that nobody comes to the Father except they go through Christ Jesus (John 14:6). Period.
But we should not deliberately seek to insult and offend Muslims by drawing their false prophet. We may have the freedom of speech to do so here in America, but Christians should NOT exercise our free speech in this manner. This does not edify, nor does it express God’s love for even the Muslim. It will never move them to reject their false religion and choose Christ.
The offense of the cross is the only offense we should present to the world. When I read in Acts how Paul went into the cities to preach the Gospel, I don’t see where he ever ridiculed someone else’s belief. For example, when he went to Athens (Acts 17) he noted that they were very religious – even to having a statue to the unknown God. He then preached to them this God that they did not know, told them that He is really the only God. But He did not ridicule their false gods and beliefs, merely told them they were wrong. Through his gracious approach to the matter, he drew some to the faith and also gained permission to keep preaching the Gospel in that city.
In another city (Acts 19), one with many involved in occult and witchcraft, people began repenting then burnt their books and scrolls on magic. They also preached the Gospel, and many turned away from the evils of the occult. This upset and offended those who continued to practice it. They got the city council to kick Paul out of the city for this. But note that Paul did not go and ridicule their practices – he told them to repent. When some repented, they collected the books of witchcraft and burned them, to keep them out of the hands of others and as an act of their repentance. Their motive was not to offend the witches, but to rid their city of as much evil as they could. They burned them publicly as evidence of their faith, and to declare the Truth of God to the rest of the people.
So, as you can see, being a peacemaker does not mean we don’t openly stand for the truth. It does not mean we never confront people with the truth. It does mean, however, that our motive is always to lead them to the love of God in Christ. Our goal should be to bring them to repentance.
If we do this, then we are acting like Jesus. Then God will call us His sons, His children.
Sometimes we like to throw that phrase around, “I am a child of God.” But who does God call His child? The one who is learning to become the kind of person described in the Beatitudes. It is not the arrogant, but the humble. It is not the judgmental and hateful, but the merciful. It is not the deliberately offensive, but the peacemaker who shall be called a son of God.