“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
One of the chief characteristics of God’s children is their disposition to make peace. After all, the Holy Spirit lives in their hearts and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc. Of course, this peace doesn’t mean “appeasement”. This isn’t “peace at all costs.” This peace is allied with divine love, which includes love for God, his kingdom, and his righteousness. Interestingly, Jesus also said he came not to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34)! By that he means, devotion to him who is the Prince of Peace inevitably brings persecution from those who oppose his peaceful reign and his gospel of peace.
1. GOD IS THE GOD OF PEACE
God is the God of peace (2 Thess. 5:23) and Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). God’s children and Christ’s disciples should therefore be peacemakers.
(a) Jesus made peace between God and man.
Out of love, the Father sent Jesus to die for us while we were yet sinners and enemies of God. God reconciled us to himself by means of Christ’s death on the cross. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 5:8, 10).
(b) Jesus made peace between man and man.
The world is divided along racial, economic, and social lines. There is division among groups as well as individuals. But in Christ there is true peace, unity, equality and reconciliation. It is only in him that true peace can be found. He creates peace in the hearts of all those who truly believe in him and obey his commands (Ephesians 2:13, 14; Galatians 3:28). Someday, when he returns he will complete the work of peace which he has begun when he first came (Luke 2:14).
2. HOW DO WE MAKE PEACE?
(a) By Evangelism (2 Corinthians 5:20).
The gospel is the key to peace. First, there must be peace with God before there can be peace between man and man. And that is where the Great Commission comes in: “Go into the world and preach the gospel.” The gospel is called the gospel of peace in Ephesians 6:15. It offers love, joy, peace and forgiveness without compromising the claims of righteousness or the need for repentance.
(b) By Living Peacably (Colossians 3:15; Romans 12:18).
Peace should act as an umpire in our hearts, resolving disputes in favor of peace, understanding and reconciliation. Of course, in this fallen world, living peacably is impracticable if the other side won’t cooperate. “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Nevertheless, on our end, at least we’ve done our best to live peacably with everyone.
(c) By Promoting Peace in our Communities (Jeremiah 29:7).
In the King James Version, Jeremiah 29:7 says, “Seek the peace of the city.” But in modern translations, it reads, “Seek the welfare of the city.” Peace is “shalom” in Hebrew, which refers to “total well-being personally and communally” (see ESV Study Bible). Here in the Philippines, just like in other countries, Christians are involved in peace-making and community welfare activities: establishing orphanages, organising relief for the poor and suffering, helping uplift depressed communities, and the like, and even joining politics for the sake of the peace and prosperity of their respective communities. Promoting peace in the community benefits us all, especially the gospel.
Are we peacemakers or troublemakers? By our peacemaking efforts, we show that we are children of God, in that we reflect the character of our heavenly Father who is the God of peace.