The Beatitudes – Blessed are the peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”   (Matthew 5:9).    “This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace is a blessed work. Blessed are the peacemakers.  Observe the connection. The Scripture links these two together, pureness of heart and peaceableness of spirit. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable (James 3:17). Follow peace and holiness (Hebrews 12:14). And here Christ joins them together pure in heart, and peacemakers, as if there could be no purity where there is not a study of peace. That religion is suspicious which is full of faction and discord.”    The Beatitudes by A.W. Pink, The Seventh Beatitude

Mark Twain once said “It is not those passages of Scripture I do not understand that bother me, but those that I do understand.” Twain was an acknowledged unbeliever and one who through this quote has made clear the power of the Holy Spirit to convey meaning to the Christian believer.  Twain just did not have the power to understand.

Jesus let His disciples know that even after His death and ascension into Heaven He would not leave them. He promised them a “Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is in many ways our Helper. One important aspect of the Holy Spirit in our lives is as our Teacher. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives us an understanding that Mark Twain did not have.

As we study the Beatitudes as believers we will look at those weak in spirit, those who mourn and those who are meek differently than an unbeliever who would see these traits in a negative light. The unbeliever would see those that yearn for righteousness, those that show mercy, and those that are pure in heart much differently than a believer that has emptied and humbled themselves before their God. “Blessed are the peacemakers” is no different.

My college years were during a turbulent time in U.S. history. Going to school right outside Washington D.C. I remember up to 600,000 peace demonstrators converging on D.C. to protest the Vietnam war. The school I went to would gather students and take them down to these demonstrations to hand out Christian tracts. I witnessed firsthand these “Peace” demonstrators. In fact, it was my introduction to the effects of being tear gassed. I will state emphatically that they were not the peacemakers Christ was blessing.

The understanding of “peacemakers” is couched in terms of the Christian character. It is not meant to denote people carrying signs with the peace symbol, going on hunger strikes or chaining themselves to the White House fence. The peace of which Christ speaks in this Beatitude, and about which the rest of Scripture speaks, is unlike that which the world knows and strives for. God’s peace has nothing to do with politics, world events or any type of religious or secular struggle. The peace about which Jesus speaks is not of this world, it is the presence of righteousness. Scripture tells us “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:15 KJV).

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The power of the Word of God for the believer is all powerful as our eyes are open to it through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a look at what God tells us about the peace of God that defines the “peacemaker”.

John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 16:33 – “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Romans 14:17-19 – “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

1 Corinthians 14:33 – “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints…”

Ephesians 6:12-15 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 1:19-20 – For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 – “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

The peace that Jesus taught is not the peace of this world. James confirms the nature of God’s peace when he writes, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable.” (James 3:17). God’s way to peace is through living a righteous life through the power of His teaching, through the power of God’s Word. Peace cannot be attained outside the Gospel message. This is a peace that results from a transformed life. The “Peacemakers” are those that have been transformed by the gospel and share that saving message with others. Only a transformed world will truly have peace. Peace cannot be divorced from the Gospel message. True peace is knowing and following Christ, living a life that reflects His teachings. “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other” is the beautiful expression of the psalmist (Ps. 85:10). Biblically speaking, then, where there is true peace there is righteousness, holiness, and purity which are the fruits that are evident in the transformed life. Bringing this message to a dying world is for the “Peacemakers”.

We worship the author of peace and bow before His Son the “Prince of Peace”. The Gospel message is the message of peace and we have been commanded to take that message to the ends of the earth. “Peacemakers” can achieve an inner peace for themselves, a true peace within Christ’s Church and spread the Gospel of peace to those around us to the ends of the earth. True and universal peace, however, is a peace that has been promised to us in a world to come. It is a peace in a Kingdom ruled by a righteous King, the Promised Messiah, the Prince of Peace. We all look forward to that day in the Kingdom to come, the new heaven and the new earth. We all look forward to an eternity promised to us through our proclaimed faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Meanwhile we must walk as “Peacemakers” and be blessed.

Revelation 21

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed – on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

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