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On Christian Virtue part 13

Part 13 How to be a Peacemaker

Last time we looked closely at Matthew 5:9, the seventh of the eight Beatitudes Jesus spoke on the mount above the Sea of Galilee. Jesus said; ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Those who profess faith in Jesus and claim to follow Him will be dedicated to seeking peace and harmony everywhere they go and with everyone whom they encounter. A spirit of openness, selflessness, and sincerity are essential for one to be a peacemaker, and these essential qualities come from being poor in spirit, understanding our sin, being meek and hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Understanding that the righteousness required here comes through faith which justifies the sinner, yet as John Calvin said, “the faith that justifies is not alone.”, meaning that saving faith always demonstrates itself in the way a true believer lives. For the one who has been saved, poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness and desiring to please God by keeping His commands are at the core of who they are. And these qualities are necessary to be merciful, pure in heart and a peacemaker. So if you have been saved, how then should you go about being a peacemaker.

First, we are peacemakers when we promote agreement among others. Paul writes this in 1 Corinthians 1:10: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” We work to promote peace with others when we seek to be of one mind in agreement with the Scriptures. “Scriptures” is an important word here. We cannot be of one mind and without division with others who do not agree on who God is, the nature of the human condition, what Christ has done and how we are saved. But for those who hold an orthodox understanding of the Christian faith, we are to be peacemakers by being of the same mind and judgment, so there is no significant division with other believers. We should make every effort to find consensus through a Scripture-driven understanding of God and ourselves.

Second, we are peacemakers when we ‘bear with one another’. Consider what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. Ephesians 4:2–3: “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” In this verse, Paul tells us that the earlier Beatitudes are foundational to being a peacemaker in this sense. With humility, patience, and gentleness, we are to work for the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. For a marriage to work, small things must be overlooked. It’s the same in friendships, in the church, and in the broader social community. The peacemaker cultivates the ability to overlook slight faults and minor transgressions. The peacemaker is careful with his or her words thinking first of how a statement will sound in the hearing of those around them. Rather than saying things that cause conflict, the peacemaker will be careful in speech and desire understanding.

Third, the peacemaker pursues reconciliation. Peacemaking is costly. It cost the Father the life of His Son to pursue peace with us. It cost Jesus the comfort of His relationship in the eternal Godhead when He took the wrath of His Father upon Him for our peace with God. So peacemaking is costly. It is costly to love our enemies, to seek forgiveness when we are in the wrong and to offer forgiveness when we are wronged. Puritan writer Thomas Watson put it this way: “Christ suffered on the cross that He might cement Christians together with His blood. As He prayed for peace He paid for peace.”

Peacemaking is costly, but when we are peacemakers, doing all we can to promote agreement and harmony, to bear with others and to seek reconciliation, Jesus says we will be blessed.

 

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