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Blessed are the Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

 Soon after President John F. Kennedy was in office he initiated what many believe was his greatest accomplishment in the establishment of the Peace Corps. From every walk of life, from every social stratum, men and women and young people captured sight of the concept of reaching out to help others.

From the prosperous shores of America to the poverty stricken hamlets of foreign countries Peace Corp volunteers have gone to invest their lives in redeeming a portion of desperate humanity.

The members of the Peace Corps have helped to support the people of societies who by nature want to obey the laws of the land. There is a blessing, said Jesus, for the peacemakers.

When President Jimmy Carter was able to get Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin to sign the Camp David Peace Accord on September 18, 1978, the world stood up and applauded the efforts of all parties involved.

At the signing of the agreement between Egypt and Israel, President Carter quoted the words of Jesus saying to a worldwide audience: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

In more recent years the world has witnessed the peace initiatives between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, only to see the initiatives breakdown.

It is time for the bloodshed and violence to stop in the Middle East. Unfortunately there are countless people in the various nations who do not want peace. Men like Napoleon, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Sadam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Bashar al-Assad, and Vladimir Putin, are born to wage war, death, and destruction on their fellow man.

Today, about one out of every four nations is engaged in some type of internal or external conflict. Each day brings new waves of military actions.  In addition to the official killings of the world there are violent acts of individual criminals who engage in breaking the peace and stability of society.

It seems as if each crime wave is worse than the last. The peace of the workplace, and the peace of family life is being shattered forever by many today due to the senseless actions of a sin saturated soul.

The world has always been a vicious and barbaric place due to the fall of man. During the days of Jesus, public executions were a common sight. Hands of thieves were cut off. Backs of slaves were ripped apart. There was the pain of death by crucifixion.

History speaks about the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome, but it was a bloody and violent peace purchased by the sacrificing of national identity and freedom of expression. The Jews of Israel hated this imposed peace and some, called Zealots, fought back.

As Jesus looked at society He saw the unsettled peace. He knew all about the religious fever of the zealous Zionists who would butcher all of the Romans in a minute.

Jesus knew the heart of man and how by nature man wages war, justified or not, upon his fellowman. Jesus said, “The violence must stop. Individuals must put down their weapons of destruction and become peacemakers.”

For anyone to be a peacemaker they must first have a leader of Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).It is a wonderful thought to realize that God is a God of peace.

Many people think of God as the God of wrath and judgment, and that is not incorrect. God is a just God. God is absolute righteousness and will by no means clear the guilty.

However, the intent of God is to promote peace. Peace is what characterized eternity past, and peace is what will characterize eternity future. It was not God that violated the peaceful existence of the universe, but His creation. The Bible teaches that Lucifer waged war in heaven. On earth it was man who first declared his hostility toward God through disobedience.

Today, mankind, created less than the angels, looks at heaven and spits. Ugly, foolish, fallen man thinks within his heart that he can destroy God by denying His existence. In the 1950’s the first Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, was launched into space. It is widely believed that he said during the flight, “I don’t see any God up here.”

In a 2006 interview, Gagarin’s friend Colonel Valentin Petrov stated that the cosmonaut never said such words, and that the quote originated from Nikita Khrushchev’s speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Untion about the state’s anti-religion campaign, saying “Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any god there.”  Petrov noted that Gagarin had been baptized into the Orthodox Church as a child. Also, a 2011 Foma magazine article quoted the rector of the Orthodox Church in Star City saying, “Gagarin baptized his elder daughter Yelena shortly before his space flight; and his family used to celebrate Christmas and Easter and keep icons in the house.”

Whatever was said, God is not intimidated by all the carnal weapons of warfare that man has launched against Him.   Despite the philosophies of atheism, polytheism, materialism, and pantheism God is still God, at peace with Himself and desiring to have peace with man. For this reason Jesus came into the world to preach the gospel of peace. It is a glorious message of three parts.

The first part is that man can have peace with God. Romans 5:1 explains. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The word justify is one of the great words of the Bible. It is a legal term meaning “to declare righteous.”

Before the bar of Divine justice man stands. He is charged with being a sinner. His crime is the willful violation of the moral law which has placed him in a state of rebellion against His Creator.

The just and righteous Judge finds the sinner guilty as charged. The sentence is death. The death is physical. It is appointed unto men once to die. The death is spiritual. There is to be an eternal separation from the face of God.

With the pronouncement of the verdict the case should be closed, but the accused sees and hears something that amazes him.  Before the bar of Divine Justice stands Jesus Christ the Righteous One.

He is there to plead on behalf of the accused. The Judge listens to the fantastic offer to bear the penalty in the place of the accused.

It is possible for such a transaction to take place. In the Divine economy Jesus Christ can bear the justice of the Law and in the Bible it is recorded that He did. The sinner beholds Jesus Christ as his Substitute. He watches as the execution of the awful verdict is borne by the Lord of Glory.

Love cries out in gratitude, “My Lord and my God!” With the wrath of God averted, with the justice of the Law satisfied, the guilty sinner is able to be legally declared in the eyes of the Law to be justified. The Judge and the accused sinner are no longer at odds with each other. There is peace.

Any person can have peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But first there must be a realization of the sinfulness of self and a willingness to turn from that sin to the Saviour.

Through the centuries millions and millions of people have found peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus. As the Person of Christ is loved, as the message of Christ is believed, as the commitment to discipleship is made, there is peace with God. He is no longer the Judge on the Bench but the Justifier of all who accept pardon and mercy.

Not only can man have peace with God, but the Bible speaks about the peace of God. Philippians 4:7 declares,

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The peace of God is that peace which characterizes the essence of God. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23).

In a society that spends billions of dollars each year on soothing drugs, the peace of God is a spiritual blessing to be sought. The peace of God is a grace gift to all who are at peace with God. There is a rest and contentment to be found in God’s children regardless of the circumstances of life. The poet wrote:

“I look not back –
God knows the fruitless efforts,
The wasted hours, the sinning and regrets;
I leave them all with Him that blots the record,
And graciously forgives, and then forgets.

 I look not forward –
God sees all the future,
The road that is short or long,
will lead me home;
And He will face with me it every trial,
And bear for me the burden that may come.

I look not around me –
then would fears assail me,
So wild the tumult of life’s restless sea;
So dark the world, so filled with war and evil,
So vain the hope of comfort and of ease,

 I look not inward –
that would make me wretched,
For I have not on which to stay my trust;
Nothing I see but failures and shortcomings,
And weak endeavors crumbling into dust.

 But I look up –
up into the face of Jesus!
For there my heart can rest,
my fears are stilled;
And there is joy, and love, and light filled.”

 Besides peace with God and the peace of God, there is also peace from God which makes it possible to be different in the devil’s world. In Mark 9:50 the Lord bids the disciples to “be at peace” with one another. In Romans 12:18 the exhortation is given:  “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Some people will not allow this to happen. There are those troubled souls that refuse to recognize kindness and gentleness. Still, it is the prayer of the Christian to exercise a special peace from God towards others and so the saints pray.

“Lord, make me the instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred may I bring love,
Where there is malice, pardon,
Where there is discord, harmony,
Where there is error, truth,
Where there is doubt faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, Your light,
Where there is sadness may I bring joy.

 Oh Master may I seek not so much,
To be comforted as to understand,
To be loved as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in losing our lives that we shall find them,
It is in forgiving that we shall be forgiven,
It is in dying that we shall rise up to eternal Life.”

Peace with God, the peace of God, and the peace from God are spoken of in the Bible. The questions that we need to ask ourselves and others are these:

“Is there peace with God?”  “Has there ever been a time when the arms of rebellion were laid down and Jesus Christ was embraced as Lord and Saviour?”  “Is there within my heart the peace of God that passeth all understanding?”

Unconfessed sin keeps the soul from knowing the peace of God. Finally, ask this. “Is there the peace from God which allows the heart to live in harmony with others despite the conflict of wills and temperament?”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

It is like the children of God to want to bring peace to others. In order for there to be peace it may mean that a person needs to apologize for a wrong spirit or attitude.

Sometimes motives are questioned. Sometimes insults are hurled thoughtlessly, and sometimes false images are conveyed.

Whatever needs to be done to bring harmony to hearts should be done for such are the children of God.

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