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July 1, 2007 First Baptist Church, Comanche Expositional Studies: Matthew

Recognition of our spiritual fathers

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they [and they alone] shall be called sons of God.”

“The Beauty of Peacemaking”

Introduction:  Jesus began His sermon with “the Beautiful Attitudes,” statements beginning with Blessed are. Blessed” means “happy” or “fortunate” (cf. Ps. 1:1). The qualities Jesus mentioned in this list, “the poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” “the meek,” etc., obviously could not be products of Pharisaic righteousness. The Pharisees were concerned primarily with external qualities, but the qualities Jesus mentioned are internal. These come only when one is properly related to God through faith, when one places his complete trust in God.

We celebrate our “freedom” as a nation this week on Independence Day:  many battles fought, many sacrifices made, many lives given, and many foes and their self-serving philosophies defeated because the righteous stood up and stood against the wickedness that God hates.  We can do no less today, and we must do the same in the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged today.

[Insert A.W. Pink, page 6 of notes, here.]

1. The Maker of Peace: God

A.     The Source of Peace—God

B.    The Savior of Peace—our Lord Jesus Christ

C.    The Spirit of Peace—the Holy Spirit [Luke 2:14]

The cost of peace is the cross.  The one who does not belong to God through Jesus Christ can neither have peace, nor be a peacemaker.  God can work peace through us only if He has worked peace in us.  You cannot please God unless we are doing His will, His work, and His way, according to His Word.

Numbers 6:24-26; Judges 6:24; Eph 2:13-14; Col 1:19-23 [“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him [Christ], 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds; 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if  indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.”]

2. The Messengers of Peace: True Believers

A.     Called to Peace

++  What is peace, just the absence of conflict?  To be a true child of God it is much more biblical that we will be involved in conflict, that our lives and our lips will cause consternation in the souls of the wayward, the worldly, and the wicked because we speak peace to them, meaning God’s standard of righteousness, and they rebel against it.  This is the true meaning of biblical peace.

James 3:17, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Note well the words “first pure”—peace is not to be sought at the expense of righteousness.

Hebrews 12:14-15, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification [holiness] without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”

B.    Called to make Peace

Peacemaking is built on humility, sorrow over its own sin, gentleness, hunger for righteousness, mercy, and purity of heart.

2 Cor 5:17-21; Eph 4:15; 6:15; Acts 10:36; Romans 12:18; Matthew 18:15-17

!!    Biblical illustrations of Elijah [1 Kings 18:17] and our Lord Jesus [John 2:13-16; Matthew 21:12-16; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-47]

3. The Merit of Peace:  Children of God

A.  Character of Faithful

Matthew 5:23-24; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:1-6

Peace at any cost is not peace at all.  The cost of peace is war; victory is our only option.

B.  Called by our Father

To attack God’s children is to poke a finger in God’s eye.  Offense against Christians is offense against God, because we are His very own children [Zechariah 2:8 “he who touches you touches the apple of My eye”; Psalms 17:8; Psalms 105:15 “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do my prophets no harm”].

!!    The resurrected Jesus confronted Saul who was angry beyond reasoning [Acts 9].  To be an “accuser of the brethren” is to be in league with the devil [Revelation 12:9-10]. 

!!    Remember, we are in the United States of America because of religious bigotry based not upon God’s Word, but upon the misconceptions and traditions of men trying to be forced upon those who were actually seeking God first.

Conclusion and Application:

When this reconciliation actually takes place, and one has “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”—even “the peace of God which passes all understanding”—the peace-receivers become transformed into peacemakers. God is thus seen reflected in us; and by the family likeness we as peacemakers are recognized as the children of God. All saints are in Christ [as has been already described], and characterized by these seven Beatitudes we’ve studied as the faithful children of God – that number indicating maturity, and completeness of delineation.

The characteristic of this Beatitude, accordingly, is a passive one, representing the treatment that the true children of God already described, may expect from the world. Our God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall one day fix the destiny of all men, here pronounces us “blessed.” He ends by forewarning us that the world’s estimation and treatment of us will be the reverse of His.

Are you a peacemaker? Then you must be:

Ø      A seeker of God

Ø      A speaker for God

Ø      A maker of peace by God


July 1, 2007 First Baptist Church, Comanche Expositional Studies in Matthew

Matthew 5:9

“The Beauty of Peacemaking”

Introduction

Jesus began His sermon with “the Beautiful Attitudes,” statements beginning with Blessed are. Blessed” means “happy” or “fortunate” (cf. Ps. 1:1). The qualities Jesus mentioned in this list, “the poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” “the meek,” etc., obviously could not be products of Pharisaic righteousness. The Pharisees were concerned primarily with external qualities, but the qualities Jesus mentioned are internal. These come only when one is properly related to God through faith, when one places his complete trust in God.

The poor in spirit (Matt. 5:3) are those who consciously depend on God, not on themselves; they are “poor” inwardly, having no ability in themselves to please God (cf. Rom. 3:9-12). Those who mourn (Matt. 5:4) recognize their needs and present them to the One who is able to assist. Those who are meek (v. 5) are truly humble and gentle and have a proper appreciation of their position. (Praeis, the Gr. word rendered “meek,” is translated “gentle” in its three other usages in the NT: 11:29; 21:5; 1 Peter 3:4.) Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:6) have a spiritual appetite, a continuing desire for personal righteousness. The merciful (v. 7) extend mercy to others, thus demonstrating God’s mercy which has been extended to them. The pure in heart (v. 8) are those who are inwardly clean from sin through faith in God’s provision and a continual acknowledging of their sinful condition. The peacemakers (v. 9) show others how to have inward peace with God and how to be instruments of peace in the world. They desire and possess God’s righteousness even though it brings them persecution (v. 10).[1]


Matthew 5:9

The peacemakers (οἱ εἰρηνοποιοι [hoi eirēnopoioi]). Not merely “peaceable men” (Wycliff) but “makers up o’ strife” (Braid Scots). It is hard enough to keep the peace. It is still more difficult to bring peace where it is not. “The perfect peacemaker is the Son of God (Eph. 2:14f.)” (McNeile). Thus we shall be like our Elder Brother. [2]

1518. εἰρηνοποιός eirēnopoiós; gen. eirēnopoioú, masc. noun from eirēnopoiéō (1517), to make peace. Peacemaker. The one who, having received the peace of God in his own heart, brings peace to others (only in Matt. 5:9). He is not simply one who makes peace between two parties, but one who spreads the good news of the peace of God which he has experienced.[3]

PEACE, PEACEABLE, PEACEABLY

A. Noun.

EIRĒNĒ (εἰρήνη, (1515)) “occurs in each of the books of the N.T., save 1 John and save in Acts 7:26 [‘(at) one again’] it is translated “peace” in the R.V. It describes (a) harmonious relationships between men, Matt. 10:34; Rom. 14:19; (b) between nations, Luke 14:32; Acts 12:20; Rev. 6:4; (c) friendliness, Acts 15:33; 1 Cor. 16:11; Heb. 11:31; (d) freedom from molestation Luke 11:21; 19:42; Acts 9:31 (R.V., ‘peace,’ A.V., ‘rest’); 16:36; (e) order, in the State, Acts 24:2 (R.V., ‘peace,’ A.V., ‘quietness’); in the churches, 1 Cor 14:33; (f) the harmonized relationships between God and man, accomplished through the gospel, Acts 10:36; Eph. 2:17; (g) the sense of rest and contentment consequent thereon, Matt. 10:13; Mark 5:34; Luke 1:79; 2:29; John 14:27; Rom. 1:7; 3:17; 8:6; in certain passages this idea is not distinguishable from the last, Rom. 5:1.”

The God of peace” is a title used in Rom 15:33 ; Rom 16:19-20 ; Phil 4:9 ; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 13:15-21 ; cp. 1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Cor. 13:11. The corresponding Heb. word shalom primarily signifies wholeness: see its use in Josh. 8:31, “unhewn;” Ruth 2:12, “full;” Neh. 6:15, “finished;” Is. 42:19, marg., “made perfect.” Hence there is a close connection between the title in 1 Thess. 5:23 and the word holoklēros,entire,” in that verse. In the Sept. shalom is often rendered by sōtēria, salvation, e.g., Gen. 26:31; 41:16; hence the “peace–offering” is called the “salvation offering.” cp. Luke 7:40-50; 8:48. In 2 Thess. 3:16, the title “the Lord of peace” is best understood as referring to the Lord Jesus. In Acts 7:26, “would have set them at one” is, lit., ‘was reconciling them (conative imperfect tense, expressing an earnest effort) into peace.’[4]


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

(Matthew 5:9).

This seventh Beatitude is the hardest of all to expound. The difficulty lies in determining the precise significance and scope of the word peacemakers. The Lord Jesus does not say, “Blessed are the peace-lovers,” or “Blessed are the peace-keepers,” but “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Now it is apparent on the surface that what we have here is something more excellent than that love of concord and harmony, than hatred of strife and turmoil, that is sometimes found in the natural man, because the peacemakers that are here in view shall be called the children of God.

Three things must guide us in seeking the true interpretation:

(1) The character of those to whom our Lord was speaking;

(2) The place occupied by our text in the series of Beatitudes; and

(3) Its connection with the Beatitude that follows. **

The Jews, in general, regarded the Gentile nations with bitter contempt and hatred, and they expected that, under the Messiah, there should be an uninterrupted series of warlike attacks made on these nations, till they were completely destroyed or subjugated to the chosen people of God [an idea based, no doubt, on what they read in the Book of Joshua concerning the experiences of their forefathers]. In their estimation, those emphatically deserved the appellation of “happy” who should be employed under Messiah the Prince to avenge on the heathen nations all the wrongs these had done to Israel. How different is the spirit of the new economy!

How beautifully does it accord with the angelic anthem which celebrated the nativity of its Founder in Luke 2:9, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Dr. John Brown).

This seventh Beatitude has to do more with conduct than character, though, of necessity, there must first be a peaceable spirit before there will be active efforts put forth to make peace. Let it be remembered that in this first section of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus is defining the character of those who are subjects and citizens in His Kingdom. First, He describes them in terms of the initial experiences of those in whom a Divine work is wrought. The first four Beatitudes, as has been previously stated, may be grouped together as setting forth the negative graces of their hearts. Christ’s subjects are not self-sufficient, but consciously poor in spirit. They are not self-satisfied, but mourning because of their spiritual state. They are not self-important, not lowly or meek. They are not self-righteous, but hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of Another.

In the next three Beatitudes, the Lord names their positive graces. Having tasted of the mercy of God, they are merciful in their dealings with others. Having received from the Spirit a spiritual nature, their eye is single to behold the glory of God. Having entered into the peace that Christ made by the blood of His cross, they are now anxious to be used by Him in bringing others to the enjoyment of such peace.

That which helps us, perhaps as much as anything else, to fix the meaning of this seventh Beatitude is the link that exists between it and the one that immediately follows. In our previous chapters, we have called attention to the fact that the Beatitudes are obviously grouped together in pairs. Poverty of spirit is always accompanied by mourning, as is meekness or lowliness by hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of God. Mercifulness toward men is united to purity of heart towards God, and peacemaking is coupled with being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. **

Thus verses 10-12 supply us with the key to verse 9.

By approaching the seventh Beatitude from each of the three separate viewpoints mentioned above, we arrive at the same conclusion. First, let us consider the marked contrast between the tasks that God assigned to His people under the Old Covenant and New Covenant respectively. After the giving of the Law, Israel was commanded to take up the sword and to conquer the land of Canaan, destroying the enemies of Jehovah. The risen Christ has given different orders to His Church. Throughout this Gospel dispensation, we are to go into all nations as heralds of the cross, seeking the reconciliation of those who by nature are at enmity with our Master.

Second, this grace of peacemaking supplements the six graces mentioned in the previous verses. Perhaps the fact that this is the seventh Beatitude indicates that it was our Lord’s intent to teach that it is this attribute that gives completeness or wholeness to Christian character. We must certainly conclude that it is an unspeakable privilege to be sent forth as ambassadors of peace. Furthermore, those who fancy themselves to be Christians, yet have no interest in the salvation of fellow sinners, are self-deceived. ** They possess a defective Christianity, and have no right to expect to share in the blessed inheritance of the children of God.

Third, there is a definite link between this matter of our being peacemakers and the persecution to which our Master alludes in verses 10-12. By mentioning these two aspects of Christian character and experience side by side in His discourse, Christ is teaching that the opposition encountered by His disciples in the path of duty is the result of their faithfulness in the service to which they have been called. ** Thus we may be certain that the peacemaking of our text refers primarily to our being instruments in God’s hands for the purpose of reconciling to Him those who are actively engaged in warfare against Him (John 15:17-27).

We have dealt at some length on the reasons that have led us to conclude that the peacemakers referred to in our text are those who beseech sinners to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20), because most of the commentators are very unsatisfactory in their expositions. They see in this Beatitude nothing more than a blessing pronounced by Christ on those who endeavor to promote unity, to heal breaches, and to restore those who are estranged. While we fully agree that this is a most blessed exercise, and that the Christian is, by virtue of his being indwelt by Christ, a lover of peace and concord, yet we do not believe that this is what our Lord had in mind here.

The believer in Christ knows that there is no peace for the wicked. Therefore, he earnestly desires that they should acquaint themselves with God and be at peace (Job 22:21, “Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you”). Believers know that peace with God is only through our Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:19-20). For this reason we speak of Him to our fellow men as the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. Our feet are “shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15); thus we are equipped to testify to others concerning the grace of God. Of us it is said, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15).

All such are pronounced blessed by our Lord. They cannot but be blessed. Next to the enjoyment of peace in our own souls must be our delight in bringing others also (by God’s grace) to enter into this peace. In its wider application, this word of Christ may also refer to that spirit in His followers that delights to pour oil upon the troubled waters, that aims to right wrongs, that seeks to restore kindly relations by dealing with and removing difficulties and by neutralizing and silencing acrimonies.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” The word called here seems to mean “acknowledged as.” God shall own them as His own children. He is “the God of peace” (Hebrews 13:20). His great object, in the wonderful scheme of redemption, is to “gather together in one all things in Christ,” whether they be things “in heaven,” or things “on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). And all those who, under the influence of Christian truth, are peacemakers show that they are animated with the same principle of action as God, and as “obedient children” [1 Peter 1:14] are cooperating with Him in His benevolent design (Dr. John Brown).

The world may despise us as fanatics, professors of religion may regard us as narrow-minded sectarians, and our relatives may look upon us as fools. But the great God owns us as His children even now, distinguishing us by tokens of His peculiar regard and causing His Spirit within them to witness to us that we are sons of God. But in the Day to come, He will publicly avow His relationship to us in the presence of an assembled universe. However humble our present situation in life may be, however despised and misrepresented by our fellow men, we shall yet “shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43). Then shall transpire the glorious and long-awaited “manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).[5]


 

THE BLISS OF BRING MEN TOGETHER

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called sons of God.

We must begin our study of this beatitude by investigating certain matters of meaning in it.

(i) First, there is the word peace. In Greek the word is eirene, and in Hebrew it is shalōm. In Hebrew peace is never only a negative state; it never means only the absence of trouble; in Hebrew peace always means everything which makes for a man’s highest good. In the east when one man says to another, Salaam—which is the same word—he does not mean that he wishes for the other man only the absence of evil things; he wishes for him the presence of all good things. In the Bible peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it means enjoyment of all good.

(ii) Second, it must carefully be noted what the beatitude is saying. The blessing is on the Peace-makers, not necessarily on the peace-lovers. It very often happens that if a man loves peace in the wrong way, he succeeds in making trouble and not peace. We may, for instance, allow a threatening and dangerous situation to develop, and our defense is that for peace’s sake we do not want to take any action. There is many a person who thinks that he is loving peace, when in fact he is piling up trouble for the future, because he refuses to face the situation and to take the action which the situation demands. The peace which the Bible calls blessed does not come from the evasion of issues; it comes from facing them, dealing with them, and conquering them. What this beatitude demands is not the passive acceptance of things because we are afraid of the trouble of doing anything about them, but the active facing of things, and the making of peace, even when the way to peace is through struggle.

(iii) The Authorized Version says that the peace-makers shall be called the children of God; the Greek more literally is that the peace-makers will be called the sons (huioi) of God. This is a typical Hebrew way of expression. Hebrew is not rich in adjectives, and often when Hebrew wishes to describe something, it uses, not an adjective, but the phrase son of … plus an abstract noun. Hence a man may be called a son of peace instead of a peaceful man. Barnabas is called a son of consolation instead of a consoling and comforting man. This beatitude says: Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the sons of God; what it means is: Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be doing a God-like work. The man who makes peace is engaged on the very work which the God of peace is doing (Romans 15:33; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20).

The meaning of this beatitude has been sought along three main lines.

(i) It has been suggested that, since shalōm means everything which makes for a man’s highest good, this beatitude means: Blessed are those who make this world a better place for all men to live in. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Die when I may, I would like it to be said of me, that I always pulled up a weed and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” This then would be the beatitude of those who have lifted the world a little further on.

(ii) Most of the early scholars of the Church took this beatitude in a purely spiritual sense, and held that it meant: Blesses is the man who makes peace in his own heart and in his own soul. In every one of us there is an inner conflict between good and evil; we are always tugged in two directions at once; every man is at least to some extent a walking civil war. Happy indeed is the man who has won through to inner peace, in which the inner warfare is over, and his whole heart is given to God.

(iii) But there is another meaning for this word peace. It is a meaning on which the Jewish Rabbis loved to dwell, and it is almost certainly the meaning which Jesus had in his mind. The Jewish Rabbis held that the highest task which a man can perform is to establish right relationships between man and man. That is what Jesus means.

There are people who are always storm-centers of trouble and bitterness and strife. Wherever they are they are either involved in quarrels themselves or the cause of quarrels between others. They are trouble-makers. There are people like that in almost every society and every Church, and such people are doing the devil’s own work. On the other hand—thank God—there are people in whose presence bitterness cannot live, people who bridge the gulfs, and heal the breaches, and sweeten the bitternesses. Such people are doing a godlike work, for it is the great purpose of God to bring peace between men and himself, and between man and man. The man who divides men is doing the devil’s work; the man who unites men is doing God’s work.

So, then, this beatitude might read:

O THE BLISS OF THOSE WHO PRODUCE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MAN AND MAN, FOR THEY ARE DOING A GODLIKE WORK![6]


9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

5:9 As with the “merciful” of v. 7, “peacemakers” focus on interpersonal relationships. Those who work for shālôm (wholeness and harmony rather than strife and discord in all aspects of life) and who reconcile others to God and each other will “be called sons of God.” Others will identify them as God’s true ambassadors, as those who are being conformed to his likeness. Matthew 10:34 [“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”] reminds us that such attempts at peacemaking in this age are often thwarted, but this gives us no excuse to become warmongers.[7]


Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God [Matt. 5:9].

Can you name one peacemaker in the world right now? There is no one today who can make peace. Christ alone is the great Peacemaker. He made peace by His blood between a righteous God and an unrighteous sinner. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).[8]


9.  Blessed are the peacemakers—who not only study peace, but diffuse it.

for they shall be called the children of God—shall be called sons of God. Of all these beatitudes this is the only one which could hardly be expected to find its definite ground in the Old Testament; for that most glorious character of God, the likeness of which appears in the peacemakers, had yet to be revealed. His glorious name, indeed—as “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin”—had been proclaimed in a very imposing manner (Ex 34:6), and manifested in action with affecting frequency and variety in the long course of the ancient economy.

And we have undeniable evidence that the saints of that economy felt its transforming and ennobling influence on their own character. But it was not till Christ “made peace by the blood of the cross” that God could manifest Himself as “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb 13:20)—could reveal Himself as “in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,” and hold Himself forth in the astonishing attitude of beseeching men to be “reconciled to Himself” (2 Cor 5:19, 20).

When this reconciliation actually takes place, and one has “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”—even “the peace of God which passeth all understanding”—the peace-receivers become transformed into peace-diffusers. God is thus seen reflected in them; and by the family likeness these peacemakers are recognized as the children of God. In now coming to the eighth, or supplementary beatitude, it will be seen that all that the saints are in [Christ] themselves has been already described, in seven features of character; that number indicating completeness of delineation. The last feature, accordingly, is a passive one, representing the treatment that the characters already described may expect from the world. He who shall one day fix the destiny of all men here pronounces certain characters “blessed”; but He ends by forewarning them that the world’s estimation and treatment of them will be the reserve of His.[9]


5:9 A blessing is pronounced on the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God. Notice that the Lord is not speaking about people with a peaceful disposition or those who love peace. He is referring to those who actively intervene to make peace. The natural approach is to watch strife from the sidelines. The divine approach is to take positive action toward creating peace, even if it means taking abuse and invective.

Peacemakers are called sons of God. This is not how they become sons of God—that can only happen by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12). By making peace, believers manifest themselves as sons of God, and God will one day acknowledge them as people who bear the family likeness. [10]


The Peacemakers (5:9)

It is clear that “peacemakers” designates not those who live in peace, enjoying its fruits, but those who devote themselves to the hard work of reconciling hostile individuals, families, groups, and nations.

It is noteworthy that this beatitude was first uttered during the Pax Romana. By dint of military superiority the Romans had put an end to small wars between competing client states, had rid the Mediterranean Sea of pirates, and had greatly diminished brigandage on land. There was an absence of war except on the empire’s frontiers. But peace in the Hebrew sense, shalom, harmonious cooperation aimed at the welfare of all, could not be established by the Roman legions.

The creators of shalom will deserve to be called the sons and daughters of God, because they have chosen to imitate his magnanimity. Remembering that he makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45), they strive to return good for evil and to love those they do not like. Where others build walls, they painstakingly construct bridges.

The efforts of peacemakers often seem utterly futile, but their work is never unsuccessful. Their living testimony to God’s intended shalom keeps the vision alive.[11]


Blessed 3107 are the peacemakers: 1518 for 3754 they 846 shall be called 2564 5701 the children 5207 of God 2316 .

1518 εἰρηνοποιός [eirenopoios /i·ray·nop·oy·os/] adj. From 1518 and 4160; TDNT 2:419; TDNTA 207; GK 1648; AV translates as “peacemakers” once. 1 a peacemaker. 2 pacific, loving peace.[12]

adj adj: adjective

1515 εἰρήνη [eirene /i·ray·nay/] n f. Probably from a primary verb eiro (to join); TDNT 2:400; TDNTA 207; GK 1645; 92 occurrences; AV translates as “peace” 89 times, “one” once, “rest” once, and “quietness” once. 1 a state of national tranquillity. 1a exemption from the rage and havoc of war. 2 peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord. [13]

n n: noun or neuter

f f: feminine

purity, existence, peace

purity--heilikrinḗs [pure], heilikríneia [purity]

existence-- eimí

peace--eirḗnē [peace], eirēneúō [to keep peace], eirēnikós [peaceful], eirēnopoiós [peacemaker][14]


The Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9

The sequence of thought from purity of heart to peacemaking is natural, because one of the most frequent causes of conflict is intrigue [deceitfulness, dishonesty] while openness and sincerity are essential to all true reconciliation. **

Every Christian, according to this Beatitude, is meant to be a peacemaker, both in the community and in the church.  True, Jesus was to say later that He had “not come to bring peace, but a sword,” for He had come to “set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,” so that a man’s enemies would be “those of his own household” [Matthew 10:34-36].  What He meant by this was that conflict would be the inevitable result of His coming, even in one’s own family, and that, if we are to be worthy of Him, we must love Him best and put Him first, above even our nearest and dearest relatives [Matthew 10:37]. 

It is clear beyond question throughout the teaching of Jesus and His apostles, however, that we should never ourselves seek conflict or be responsible for it.  On the contrary, we are called to peace, we are actively to “pursue peace,” we are to “strive for peace with all men,” and “so far as it depends on us, we are to live peaceably with all” [1 Cor 7:15; 1 Peter 3:11; Heb 12:14; Rom 12:18].

Now peacemaking is a divine work, for peace means reconciliation, and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation.  Indeed, the very same verb which is used in this Beatitude of us is applied by the apostle Paul to what God has done through Christ.  Through Christ God was pleased to “reconcile to Himself all things, … making peace by the blood of His cross” [Colossians 1:19-20].  And, Christ’s purpose was to “create in Himself one new man in place of the two [sc. Jew and Gentile], so “making peace” [1 Cor 1:20; Eph 2:15].

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the particular blessing which attaches to peacemakers is that “they shall be called sons of God,” for they are seeking to do what their Father has done, loving people with His love, as Jesus is soon to make explicit [Matt 5:44-45].  It is the devil who is a troublemaker; it is God Who loves reconciliation and Who now through His children, as formerly through His only begotten Son, is bent on making peace.

This will remind us that the words “peace” and “appeasement” are not synonymous! ** For the “peace of God” [Romans 5:1] is not peace at any price.  He made peace with us at immense cost, even at the price of the life-blood of His only Son.  We too—though in lesser ways—will find peacemaking a costly enterprise.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer has made us familiar with the concept of “cheap grace”; there is such a thing as “cheap peace,” also.  To proclaim, “Peace, peace when there is no peace,” is the work of the false prophet, not the Christian witness.

Many examples could be given of peace through pain.  When we are ourselves involved in a quarrel, there will be either the pain of apologizing to the person we have injured or the pain of rebuking the person who has injured us.  Sometimes there is the nagging pain of having to refuse to forgive the guilty party until he repents.  Of course, a cheap peace can be bought by cheap forgiveness.  But true peace and true forgiveness are costly treasures.  God forgives us only when we repent.  Jesus told us to do the same, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,” [Luke 17:3].  How can we forgive an injury when it is neither admitted, nor regretted? **

Or gain, we may not be personally involved in a dispute, but we may find ourselves struggling to reconcile to each other two people or groups who are estranged and at variance with each other.  In this case there will be the pain of listening, or ridding ourselves of prejudice, of striving sympathetically to understand both the opposing points of view, and of risking misunderstanding, ingratitude, or failure.

Other examples of peacemaking are the work of reunion and the work of evangelism, that is, seeking on the one hand to unite churches and on the other to bring sinners to Christ.  In both these, true reconciliation can be degraded into cheap peace.  The visible unity of the church is a proper Christian quest, but only if unity is not sought at the expense of doctrine.  Jesus prayed for the oneness of His people.  He also prayed that they might be kept from evil and in truth [John 17]. 

We have no mandate from Christ to seek unity without purity, purity of both doctrine and purity of conduct.  If there is such a thing as “cheap reunion,” there is “cheap evangelism,” also, namely the proclamation of the Gospel without the cost of discipleship, the demand for faith without repentance.  Those are forbidden short cuts.  They turn the evangelist into a fraud.  They cheapen the Gospel, and damage the cause of Christ.[15]


8. (5:9) Peacemakers (eirenopoios PWS: 2873): to bring men together; to make peace between men and God; to solve disputes and erase divisions; to reconcile differences and eliminate strife; to silence tongues and build right relationships.

1.  Who is the peacemaker?

a.  The person who strives to make peace with God (Romans 5:1; Ephes. 2:14-17). He conquers the inner struggle, settles the inner tension, handles the inner pressure. He takes the struggle within his heart between good and evil, and strives for the good and conquers the bad.

 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh" (Ephes. 2:14-17).

 b.  The person who strives at every opportunity to make peace within others. He seeks and leads others to make their peace with God—to conquer their inner struggle, to settle their inner tension, to handle their inner pressure.

 "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" (Romans 14:19).

 c.  The person who strives at every opportunity to make peace between others. He works to solve disputes and erase divisions, to reconcile differences and eliminate strife, to silence tongues and build relationships.

 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" (Phil. 2:3).

"Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers" (2 Tim. 2:14).

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient" (2 Tim. 2:24).

 2.  The peacemaker is the person who has made peace with God (Romans 5:1), and knows the peace of God (see note— John 14:27).

3.  Peacemakers love peace, but they do not passively accept trouble. There are those who claim to love peace, yet they remove themselves from all trouble. They ignore and flee problems and threatening situations, and they often evade issues. They make no attempt to bring peace between others. The peacemaker (of whom Christ speaks) faces the trouble no matter how dangerous, and works to bring a true peace no matter the struggle.

4.  The world has its troublemakers. Practically every organization has its troublemakers, including the church. Wherever the troublemaker is, there is criticism, grumbling, and murmuring; and, too often, a division within the body—a division that is sometimes minor, sometimes major; sometimes just distasteful, sometimes outright bitter. The peacemaker cannot stand such. He goes forth to settle the matter, solve the problem, handle the differences, and reconcile the parties.

5.  The gospel of Christ is to be spread by peaceful means, not by forceful means. There are many kinds of force.

a.  There is verbal force through loudness, a dominating conversation, improper sales tactics, threats, bigotry, and abuse.

b.  There is physical force through facial expressions, body motions, an overpowering presence, and attacks.

 DEEPER STUDY #9  (5:9) Children of God


MacArthur’s Commentary

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (5:9)

The God of peace (Rom. 15:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9) has emphasized that cherished but elusive reality by making peace one of the dominant ideas of His Word. Scripture contains four hundred direct references to peace, and many more indirect ones. The Bible opens with peace in the Garden of Eden and closes with peace in eternity. The spiritual history of mankind can be charted based on the theme of peace. Although the peace on earth in the garden was interrupted when man sinned, at the cross Jesus Christ made peace a reality again, and He becomes the peace of all who place their faith in Him. Peace can now reign in the hearts of those who are His. Someday He will come as Prince of Peace and establish a worldwide kingdom of peace, which will eventuate in ultimate peace, the eternal age of peace.

But one of the most obvious facts of history and of human experience is that peace does not characterize man’s earthly existence. There is no peace now for two reasons: the opposition of Satan and the disobedience of man. The fall of the angels and the fall of man established a world without peace. Satan and man are engaged with the God of peace in a battle for sovereignty.

The scarcity of peace has prompted someone to suggest that “peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload.” In 1968 a major newspaper reported that there had been to that date 14,553 known wars since thirty-six years before Christ. Since 1945 there have been some seventy or so wars and nearly two hundred internationally significant outbreaks of violence. Since 1958 nearly one hundred nations have been involved in some form of armed conflict.

Some historians have claimed that the United States has had two generations of peace-one from 1815 to 1846 and the other from 1865 to 1898. But that claim can only be made if you exclude the Indian wars, during which our land was bathed in Indian blood.

With all the avowed and well-intentioned efforts for peace in modern times, few people would claim that the world or any significant part of it is more peaceful now than a hundred years ago. We do not have economic peace, religious peace, racial peace, social peace, family peace, or personal peace. There seems to be no end of marches, sit-ins, rallies, protests, demonstrations, riots, and wars. Disagreement and conflict are the order of the day. No day has had more need of peace than our own.

Nor does the world honor peace as much by its standards and actions as it does by its words. In almost every age of history the greatest heroes have been the greatest warriors. The world lauds the powerful and often exalts the destructive. The model man is not meek but macho. The model hero is not self-giving but self-seeking, not generous but selfish, not gentle but cruel, not submissive but aggressive, not meek but proud.

The popular philosophy of the world, bolstered by the teaching of many psychologists and counselors, is to put self first. But when self is first, peace is last. Self precipitates strife, division, hatred, resentment, and war. It is the great ally of sin and the great enemy of righteousness and, consequently, of peace.

The seventh beatitude calls God’s people to be peacemakers. He has called us to a special mission to help restore the peace lost at the Fall.

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, armies and navies, forums of nations, or even councils of churches. It has nothing to do with statesmanship, no matter how great, or with arbitration, compromise, negotiated truces, or treaties. God’s peace, the peace of which the Bible speaks, never evades issues; it knows nothing of peace at any price. It does not gloss or hide, rationalize or excuse. It confronts problems and seeks to solve them, and after the problems are solved it builds a bridge between those who were separated by the problems. It often brings its own struggle, pain, hardship, and anguish, because such are often the price of healing. It is not a peace that will be brought by kings, presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, or international humanitarians. It is the inner personal peace that only He can give to the soul of man and that only His children can exemplify.

Four important realities about God’s peace are revealed: its meaning, its Maker, its messengers, and its merit.

1.    The Meaning of Peace: Righteousness and Truth

The essential fact to comprehend is that the peace about which Jesus speaks is more than the absence of conflict and strife; it is the presence of righteousness. Only righteousness can produce the relationship that brings two parties together. Men can stop fighting without righteousness, but they cannot live peaceably without righteousness. Righteousness not only puts an end to harm, but it administers the healing of love.

God’s peace not only stops war but replaces it with the righteousness that brings harmony and true well-being. Peace is a creative, aggressive force for goodness. The Jewish greeting shalom wishes “peace” and expresses the desire that the one who is greeted will have all the righteousness and goodness God can give. The deepest meaning of the term is “God’s highest good to you.”

The most that man’s peace can offer is a truce, the temporary cessation of hostilities. But whether on an international scale or an individual scale, a truce is seldom more than a cold war. Until disagreements and hatreds are resolved, the conflicts merely go underground-where they tend to fester, grow, and break out again. God’s peace, however, not only stops the hostilities but settles the issues and brings the parties together in mutual love and harmony.

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 purity. Peace cannot be attained at the expense of righteousness. Two people cannot be at peace until they recognize and resolve the wrong attitudes and actions that caused the conflict between them, and then bring themselves to God for cleansing. Peace that ignores the cleansing that brings purity is not God’s peace.

The writer of Hebrews links peace with purity when he instructs believers to “pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Peace cannot be divorced from holiness. “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. Trying to bring harmony by compromising righteousness forfeits both.

Jesus’ saying “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34) seems to be the antithesis of the seventh beatitude. His meaning, however, was that the peace He came to bring is not peace at any price. There will be opposition before there is harmony; there will be strife before there is peace. ** To be peacemakers on God’s terms requires being peacemakers on the terms of truth and righteousness-to which the world is in fierce opposition. When believers bring truth to bear on a world that loves falsehood, there will be strife. When believers set God’s standards of righteousness before a world that loves wickedness, there is an inevitable potential for conflict. Yet that is the only way.

Until unrighteousness is changed to righteousness there cannot be godly peace. And the process of resolution is difficult and costly. Truth will produce anger before it produces happiness; righteousness will produce antagonism before it produces harmony. The gospel brings bad feelings before it can bring good feelings. A person who does not first mourn over his own sin will never be satisfied with God’s righteousness. The sword that Christ brings is the sword of His Word, which is the sword of truth and righteousness. Like the surgeon’s scalpel, it must cut before it heals, because peace cannot come where sin remains.

The great enemy of peace is sin. Sin separates men from God and causes disharmony and enmity with Him. And men’s lack of harmony with God causes their lack of harmony with each other. The world is filled with strife and war because it is filled with sin. Peace does not rule the world because the enemy of peace rules the world. Jeremiah tells us that “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick [or wicked]” (Jer. 17:9). Peace cannot reign where wickedness reigns. Wicked hearts cannot produce a peaceful society. “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord” (Isa. 48:22).

To talk of peace without talking of repentance of sin is to talk foolishly and vainly. The corrupt religious leaders of ancient Israel proclaimed, “Peace, peace,” but there was no peace, because they and the rest of the people were not “ashamed of the abominations they had done” (Jer. 8:11–12).

“From within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23). Sinful men cannot create peace, either within themselves or among themselves. Sin can produce nothing but strife and conflict. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing,” James says. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:16–18).

Regardless of what the circumstances might be, where there is conflict it is because of sin. If you separate the conflicting parties from each other but do not separate them from sin, at best you will succeed only in making a truce. Peacemaking cannot come by circumventing sin, because sin is the source of every conflict.

The bad news of the gospel comes before the good news. Until a person confronts his sin, it makes no sense to offer him a Savior. Until a person faces his false notions, it makes no sense to offer him the truth. Until a person acknowledges his enmity with God, it makes no sense to offer him peace with God.

Believers cannot avoid facing truth, or avoid facing others with the truth, for the sake of harmony. If someone is in serious error about a part of God’s truth, he cannot have a right, peaceful relationship with others until the error is confronted and corrected. Jesus never evaded the issue of wrong doctrine or behavior. He treated the Samaritan woman from Sychar with great love and compassion, but He did not hesitate to confront her godless life. First He confronted her with her immoral living: “You have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband” (John 4:18). Then He corrected her false ideas about worship: “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:21–22).

The person who is not willing to disrupt and disturb in God’s name cannot be a peacemaker. To come to terms on anything less than God’s truth and righteousness is to settle for a truce-which confirms sinners in their sin and may leave them even further from the kingdom. Those who in the name of love or kindness or compassion try to witness by appeasement and compromise of God’s Word will find that their witness leads away from Him, not to Him. God’s peacemakers will not let a sleeping dog lie if it is opposed to God’s truth; they will not protect the status quo if it is ungodly and unrighteous. They are not willing to make peace at any price. God’s peace comes only in God’s way. Being a peacemaker is essentially the result of a holy life and the call to others to embrace the gospel of holiness.

The Maker of Peace: God

Men are without peace because they are without God, the source of peace. Both the Old and New Testaments are replete with statements of God’s being the God of peace (Lev. 26:6; 1 Kings 2:33; Ps. 29:11; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 34:25; Rom. 15:33; 1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Thess. 3:16). Since the Fall, the only peace that men have known is the peace they have received as the gift of God. Christ’s coming to earth was the peace of God coming to earth, because only Jesus Christ could remove sin, the great barrier to peace. “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:13–14).

I once read the story of a couple at a divorce hearing who were arguing back and forth before the judge, accusing each other and refusing to take any blame themselves. Their little four-year-old boy was terribly distressed and confused. Not knowing what else to do, he took his father’s hand and his mother’s hand and kept tugging until he finally pulled the hands of his parents together.

In an infinitely greater way, Christ brings back together God and man, reconciling and bringing peace. “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:19–20).

How could the cross bring peace? At the cross all of man’s hatred and anger was vented against God. On the cross the Son of God was mocked, cursed, spit upon, pierced, reviled, and killed. Jesus’ disciples fled in fear, the sky flashed lightning, the earth shook violently, and the veil of the Temple was torn in two. Yet through that violence God brought peace. God’s greatest righteousness confronted man’s greatest wickedness, and righteousness won. And because righteousness won, peace was won.

In his book Peace Child (Glendale, Calif.: Regal, 1979), Don Richardson tells of his long struggle to bring the gospel to the cannibalistic, headhunting Sawi tribe of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Try as he would, he could not find a way to make the people understand the gospel message, especially the significance of Christ’s atoning death on the cross.

Sawi villages were constantly fighting among themselves, and because treachery, revenge, and murder were highly honored there seemed no hope of peace. The tribe, however, had a legendary custom that if one village gave a baby boy to another village, peace would prevail between the two villages as long as the child lived. The baby was called a “peace child.”

The missionary seized on that story as an analogy of the reconciling work of Christ. Christ, he said, is God’s divine Peace Child that He has offered to man, and because Christ lives eternally His peace will never end. That analogy was the key that unlocked the gospel for the Sawis. In a miraculous working of the Holy Spirit many of them believed in Christ, and a strong, evangelistic church soon developed-and peace came to the Sawis.

If the Father is the source of peace, and the Son is the manifestation of that peace, then the Holy Spirit is the agent of that peace. One of the most beautiful fruits the Holy Spirit gives to those in whom He resides is the fruit of peace (Gal. 5:22). The God of peace sent the Prince of Peace who sends the Spirit of peace to give the fruit of peace. No wonder the Trinity is called Yahweh Shalom, “The Lord is Peace” (Judg. 6:24).

The God of peace intends peace for His world, and the world that He created in peace He will one day restore to peace. The Prince of Peace will establish His kingdom of peace, for a thousand years on earth and for all eternity in heaven. “ ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’ ” (Jer. 29:11). Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The one who does not belong to God through Jesus Christ can neither have peace nor be a peacemaker. God can work peace through us only if He has worked peace in us.

Some of the earth’s most violent weather occurs on the seas. But the deeper one goes the more serene and tranquil the water becomes. Oceanographers report that the deepest parts of the sea are absolutely still. When those areas are dredged they produce remnants of plant and animal life that have remained undisturbed for thousands of years.

That is a picture of the Christian’s peace. The world around him, including his own circumstances, may be in great turmoil and strife, but in his deepest being he has peace that passes understanding. Those who are in the best of circumstances but without God can never find peace, but those in the worst of circumstances but with God need never lack peace.

The Messengers of Peace: Believers

The messengers of peace are believers in Jesus Christ. Only they can be peacemakers. Only those who belong to the Maker of peace can be messengers of peace. Paul tells us that “God has called us to peace” (1 Cor. 7:15) and that “now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18). The ministry of reconciliation is the ministry of peacemaking. Those whom God has called to peace He also calls to make peace. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us” (2 Cor. 5:19–20).

At least four things characterize a peacemaker. First, he is one who himself has made peace with God. The gospel is all about peace. Before we came to Christ we were at war with God. No matter what we may consciously have thought about God, our hearts were against Him. It was “while we were enemies” of God that “we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10). When we received Christ as Savior and He imputed His righteousness to us, our battle with God ended, and our peace with God began. Because he has made peace with God he can enjoy the peace of God (Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15). And because he has been given God’s peace he is called to share God’s peace. He is to have his very feet shod with “the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15).

Because peace is always corrupted by sin, the peacemaking believer must be a holy believer, a believer whose life is continually cleansed by the Holy Spirit. Sin breaks our fellowship with God, and when fellowship with Him is broken, peace is broken. The disobedient, self-indulgent Christian is not suited to be an ambassador of peace.

Second, a peacemaker leads others to make peace with God. Christians are not an elite corps of those who have spiritually arrived and who look down on the rest of the world. They are a body of sinners cleansed by Jesus Christ and commissioned to carry His gospel of cleansing to the rest of the world.

The Pharisees were the embodiment of what peacemakers are not. They were smug, proud, complacent, and determined to have their own ways and defend their own rights. They had scant interest in making peace with Rome, with the Samaritans, or even with fellow Jews who did not follow their own party line. Consequently they created strife wherever they went. They cooperated with others only when it was to their own advantage, as they did with the Sadducees in opposing Jesus.

The peacemaking spirit is the opposite of that. It is built on humility, sorrow over its own sin, gentleness, hunger for righteousness, mercy, and purity of heart. G. Campbell Morgan commented that peacemaking is the propagated character of the man who, exemplifying all the rest of the beatitudes, thereby brings peace wherever he comes.

The peacemaker is a beggar who has been fed and who is called to help feed others. Having been brought to God, he is to bring others to God. The purpose of the church is to preach “peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). To preach Christ is to promote peace. To bring a person to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is the most peacemaking act a human being can perform. It is beyond what any diplomat or statesman can accomplish.

Third, a peacemaker helps others make peace with others. The moment a person comes to Christ he becomes at peace with God and with the church and becomes himself a peacemaker in the world. A peacemaker builds bridges between men and God and also between men and other men. The second kind of bridge building must begin, of course, between ourselves and others. Jesus said that if we are bringing a gift to God and a brother has something against us, we are to leave our gift at the altar and be reconciled to that brother before we offer the gift to God (Matt. 5:23–24). As far as it is possible, Paul says, “so far as it depends on [us],” we are to “be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18). We are even to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, “in order that [we] may be sons of [our] Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45).

By definition a bridge cannot be one-sided. It must extend between two sides or it can never function. Once built, it continues to need support on both sides or it will collapse. So in any relationship our first responsibility is to see that our own side has a solid base. But we also have a responsibility to help the one on the other side build his base well. Both sides must be built on righteousness and truth or the bridge will not stand. God’s peacemakers must first be righteous themselves, and then must be active in helping others become righteous.

The first step in that bridge-building process is often to rebuke others about their sin, which is the supreme barrier to peace. “If your brother sins,” Jesus says, “go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:15–17). That is a difficult thing to do, but obeying that command is no more optional than obeying any of the Lord’s other commands. The fact that taking such action often stirs up controversy and resentment is no excuse for not doing it. If we do so in the way and in the spirit the Lord teaches, the consequences are His responsibility. Not to do so does not preserve peace but through disobedience establishes a truce with sin.

Obviously there is the possibility of a price to pay, but any sacrifice is small in order to obey God. Often confrontation will bring more turmoil instead of less-misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and resentment. But the only way to peace is the way of righteousness. Sin that is not dealt with is sin that will disrupt and destroy peace. Just as any price is worth paying to obey God, any price is worth paying to be rid of sin. “If your right eye makes you stumble,” Jesus said, “tear it out, and throw it from you; … And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matt. 5:29–30). If we are unwilling to help others confront their sin, we will be unable to help them find peace.

Fourth, a peacemaker endeavors to find a point of agreement. God’s truth and righteousness must never be compromised or weakened, but there is hardly a person so ungodly, immoral, rebellious, pagan, or indifferent that we have absolutely no point of agreement with him. Wrong theology, wrong standards, wrong beliefs, and wrong attitudes must be faced and dealt with, but they are not usually the best places to start the process of witnessing or peacemaking.

God’s people are to contend without being contentious, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to confront without being abusive. The peacemaker speaks the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). To start with love is to start toward peace. We begin peacemaking by starting with whatever peaceful point of agreement we can find. Peace helps beget peace. The peacemaker always gives others the benefit of the doubt. He never assumes they will resist the gospel or reject his testimony. When he does meet opposition, he tries to be patient with other people’s blindness and stubbornness just as he knows the Lord was, and continues to be, patient with his own blindness and stubbornness.

God’s most effective peacemakers are often the simplest and least noticed people. They do not try to attract attention to themselves. They seldom win headlines or prizes for their peacemaking, because, by its very nature, true peacemaking is unobtrusive and prefers to go unnoticed. Because they bring righteousness and truth wherever they go, peacemakers are frequently accused of being troublemakers and disturbers of the peace-as Ahab accused Elijah of being (1 Kings 18:17) and the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of being (Luke 23:2, 5). But God knows their hearts, and He honors their work because they are working for His peace in His power. God’s peacemakers are never unfruitful or unrewarded. This is a mark of a true kingdom citizen: he not only hungers for righteousness and holiness in his own life but has a passionate desire to see those virtues in the lives of others.

2.    The Merit Of Peace: Eternal Sonship In The Kingdom

The merit, or result, of peacemaking is eternal blessing as God’s children in God’s kingdom. Peacemakers shall be called sons of God.

Most of us are thankful for our heritage, our ancestors, our parents, and our family name. It is especially gratifying to have been influenced by godly grandparents and to have been raised by godly parents. But the greatest human heritage cannot match the believer’s heritage in Jesus Christ, because we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). Nothing compares to being a child of God.

Both huios and teknon are used in the New Testament to speak of believers’ relationship to God. Teknon (child) is a term of tender affection and endearment as well as of relationship (see John 1:12; Eph. 5:8; 1 Pet. 1:14; etc.). Sons, however, is from huios, which expresses the dignity and honor of the relationship of a child to his parents. As God’s peacemakers we are promised the glorious blessing of eternal sonship in His eternal kingdom.

Peacemaking is a hallmark of God’s children. A person who is not a peacemaker either is not a Christian or is a disobedient Christian. The person who is continually disruptive, divisive, and quarrelsome has good reason to doubt his relationship to God altogether. God’s sons-that is, all of His children, both male and female-are peacemakers. Only God determines who His children are, and He has determined that they are the humble, the penitent over sin, the gentle, the seekers of righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.

Shall be called is in a continuous future passive tense. Throughout eternity peacemakers will go by the name “children of God.” The passive form indicates that all heaven will call peacemakers sons of God, because God Himself has declared them to be His children.

Jacob loved Benjamin so much that his whole life came to be bound up in the life of that son (Gen. 44:30). Any parent worthy of the name loves his children more than his own life, and immeasurably more than all of his possessions together. God loves His children today as He loved Israel of old, as “the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8; cf. Ps. 17:8). The Hebrew expression “apple of the eye” referred to the cornea, the most exposed and sensitive part of the eye, the part we are the most careful to protect. That is what God’s children are to Him: those whom He is most sensitive about and most desires to protect. To attack God’s children is to poke a finger in God’s eye. Offense against Christians is offense against God, because they are His very own children.

God puts the tears of His children in a bottle (Ps. 56:8), a figure reflecting the Hebrew custom of placing into a bottle the tears shed over a loved one. God cares for us so much that He stores up His remembrances of our sorrows and afflictions. God’s children matter greatly to Him, and it is no little thing that we can call Him Father.

God’s peacemakers will not always have peace in the world. As Jesus makes clear by the last beatitude, persecution follows peacemaking. In Christ we have forsaken the false peace of the world, and consequently we often will not have peace with the world. But as God’s children we may always have peace even while we are in the world-the peace of God, which the world cannot give and the world cannot take away.[16]  


Isaiah 9:6 (NASB)

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:7 (NASB)

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

PEACE

Be full of peace (Psalm 34:14)

Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Wicked people will not know peace (Isaiah 48:22)

We can have peace with God (Isaiah 53:5)

Make peace with others quickly (Matthew 5:23-26)

The peace Jesus gives is different than the world’s peace (John 14:27)

Jesus gives us peace (Romans 5:1)

Peace is evidence of the Holy Spirit working in our lives (Galatians 5:22)

We can have peace through prayer (Philippians 4:4-7)

—NLT Bible Verse Finder


 

Psalms 85:10

10 Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Ephesians 4:1-3

1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all Who is over all and through all and in all.


Post-modernism’s veneration of tolerance is its most obvious feature. But the version of “tolerance” peddled by post-modernists is actually a twisted and dangerous corruption of true virtue.

Incidentally, tolerance is never mentioned in the Bible as a virtue, except in the sense of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering (cf. Ephesians 4:2.) In fact, the contemporary notion of tolerance is a pathetically feeble concept compared to the love Scripture commands Christians to show even to their enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28; cf. vv. 29-36).

When our grandparents spoke of tolerance as a virtue, they had something like that in mind. The word used to mean respecting people and treating them kindly even when we believe they are wrong. But the post-modern notion of tolerance means we must never regard anyone else’s opinions as “wrong.” Biblical tolerance is for people; post-modern tolerance is for ideas.

Accepting every belief as equally valid is hardly a real virtue, but it is about the kind of only “virtue” post-modernism knows anything about. Traditional virtues (including humility, self control, and chastity) are openly scorned — and even regarded as transgressions — in the world of post-modernism.

Predictably, the beatification of post-modern tolerance has had a disastrous effect on real virtue in our society. In this age of tolerance, what was once forbidden is now encouraged. What was once universally deemed immoral is now celebrated. Marital infidelity and divorce have been normalized. Profanity is commonplace. Abortion, homosexuality, and moral perversions of all kinds are championed by large advocacy groups and enthusiastically promoted by the popular media. The post-modern notion of “tolerance” is systematically turning genuine virtue on its head.

Just about the only remaining taboo is the naive and politically incorrect notion that another person’s “alternative lifestyle,” religion, or different perspective is wrong.

One major exception to that rule stands out starkly: it is OK for post-modernists to be intolerant of those who claim they know the truth — particularly biblical Christians. In fact, those who fancy themselves the leading advocates of tolerance today are often the most outspoken opponents of evangelical Christianity.

Look on the Web, for example, and see what is being said by the self styled champions of “religious tolerance.” What you’ll find is a great deal of intolerance for Bible-based Christianity. In fact, some of the most bitterly anti-Christian material on the World Wide Web can be found at sites supposedly promoting religious tolerance.

Why is that? Why does authentic biblical Christianity find such ferocious opposition from people who think they are paragons of tolerance? It is because the truth-claims of Scripture — and particularly Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God — are diametrically opposed to the fundamental presuppositions of the post-modern mind. The Christian message represents a death blow to the post-modernist worldview.

But as long as Christians are being duped or intimidated into softening the bold claims of Christ and widening the narrow road, the church will make no headway against post-modernism. We need to recover the distinctiveness of the gospel. We need to regain our confidence in the power of God’s truth. And we need to proclaim boldly that Christ is the only true hope for the people of this world.

That may not be what people want to hear in this pseudo-tolerant age of post-modernism. But it is true nonetheless. And precisely because it is true and the gospel of Christ is the only hope for a lost world, it is all the more urgent that we rise above all the voices of confusion in the world and say so.[17]


(L) 9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.] Cf. Secrets of Enoch 52:11 “Blessed is he who establishes peace and love”; Aboth 1:12 “Hillel said, Be ye of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace”; Ps.-Sol. 17:30 γνώσεται γὰρ αὐτοὺς ὅτι πάντες υἱοὶ θεοῦ αὐτῶν εἰσι; Aboth 3:18 “The Israelites are beloved, [18]


9. In Qmt this verse linked up, on verbal and thematic grounds, with 5:38–48 = Lk 6:27–30, 32–6 (on turning the other cheek and loving enemies). In its present context in Matthew the verse is also nicely illustrated by Matthew 5:21–26 (on setting aside anger and making friends with enemies).

μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί. Compare 2 En 52:11–15. ‘Peacemaker’, not ‘pacifist’ or ‘peaceful’, is the right translation of εἰρηνοποιός, for a positive action, reconciliation, is envisioned: the ‘peacemakers’ seek to bring about peace (see Dupont 3, pp. 635–40). The word is a LXX and NT hapax legomenon,45 and the theme of ‘peace’ is not prominent in the First Gospel.46 Both of these facts supply evidence for a pre-Matthean origin. The verbal equivalent of ‘peacemaker’ occurs in Prov 10:10 LXX (‘He who boldly reproves makes peace’) and Col 1:20. Compare Jas 3:18: ‘The harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace’. See also Psalms 34:14; Mk 9:50; m. ˒Abot 1:12 (‘Be disciples of Aaron, making peace and pursuing peace’); m. Pe˒a 1:1; Mek. on Exod 20:25; and the texts cited in SB 1, pp. 215–18. Because there is no qualification for ‘peacemakers’, it would be wrong to delimit precisely the sphere to which the ‘peacemakers’ bring peace (see Schnackenburg (v)), although in view of the consistent social dimension in the texts just quoted above, religious peace (‘peace with God’) is probably not the subject. (Origen’s inclusion of those who reconcile contradictory Biblical texts among the ‘peacemakers’ (Philocal. 6:1) is only a curiosity which evokes a smile.) Perhaps our beatitude was first formulated during the Jewish war or shortly thereafter and reflects the conviction that revolution against Rome was the wrong course to take. For Jesus as the bringer of peace see Luke 2:14; 19:38; Acts 10:36; Rom 5:1; Eph 2:14–18; Col 1:2; Heb 7:2 (cf. Isa 9:5–6; Zech 9:10). In being a peacemaker, the disciple is imitating his Father in heaven, ‘the God of peace’ (Rom 16:20; cf. T. Dan 5:2; Rom 15:33; Phil 4:9; 1 Th 5:23; 2 Th 3:16; Heb 13:20).

How 5:9 is to be harmonized with 10:34 (‘Do not suppose that I came to cast peace on the earth; I did not come to cast peace but a sword’) is not revealed by our evangelist. But the tension created by the two texts is not extraordinary but actually typical: Matthew’s gospel has more than its fair share of inconcinnities; compare 16:6 with 23:3, 8:12 with 13:38, 9:13 with 10:41. This fact indicates that Matthew was a faithful preserver of tradition as well as a creative redactor-theologian. (Ps-Clem. Rec. 2:29 establishes artificial concord between 5:9 and 10:34 by referring 5:9 to fellow-believers, 10:34 to heretics.)

ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱτοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται.47 ‘Sons of God’ occurs only here in Matthew. ‘Sons of your Father in heaven’ occurs in 5:45 (cf. Lk 6:35). The unexpressed subject of κληθήσονται is God (‘shall be called (by God)’); and it is assumed that to be called something by God is to be that something.

In harmony with the Johannine and Pauline traditions (Jn 1:12; Rom 8:14–15; Gal 3:26–7; 4:5; Eph 1:5), believers in Jesus are, in Matthew, already children or sons of God (5:45), whom they call Father (6:9). At the same time, there is in our gospel an expectation that the people of God will become sons in the future, in the eschaton; compare Ps. Sol. 17:27; Sib. Or. 3:702; Lk 20:36; Rom 8:19, 23; 9:26; Rev 21:7. What is hoped for and symbolized by the notion of eschatological sonship is twofold—(1) a degree of intimacy with God heretofore not experienced and (2) a likeness to him (cf. 5:48).

Only in Mt 5:9 and 5:44–45 = Lk 6:35 are eschatological sonship and peace-making brought together. This supports the hypothesis of their linkage in Qmt. In the OT sonship and peace-making are brought together in 1 Chr 22:9–10: ‘Behold, a son [Solomon] shall be born to you [David], and he will be a man of peace. I will give him peace … I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. … He shall be my son, and I will be his father …’. m. Pe˒a 1:1 associates the making of peace with benefit in the world to come.[19]


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[1] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:28). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Robertson, A. (1997). Word Pictures in the New Testament. Vol.V c1932, Vol.VI c1933 by Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. (Mt 5:9). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

[3] Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.) (G1518). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[4] Vine, W., & Bruce, F. (1981; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996). Vine's Expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:169-170). Old Tappan NJ: Revell.

[5] Pink, Arthur W., The Beatitudes

[6] The Gospel of Matthew: Volume. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (108). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

[7] Blomberg, C. (2001, c1992). Vol. 22: Matthew (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (100). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] McGee, J. V. (1997, c1981). Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.) (Mt 5:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. On spine: Critical and explanatory commentary. (Mt 5:9). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[10] MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (electronic ed.) (Mt 5:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Hare, D. R. A. (1993). Matthew. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (42). Louisville: John Knox Press.

[15] Stott, John R. W., The Message of the Sermon on the Mount

[16] MacArthur, J. (1989). Matthew (209). Chicago: Moody Press.

[17] Pulpit Magazine

L the Matthæan Logia.

Ps.-Sol. The Psalms of Solomon.

[18]Allen, W. C. (1907). Vol. 26: A critical and exegetical commentary on the gospel according to S. Matthew. The International critical commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (41). New York: C. Scribner's sons.

2 En 2 Enoch

Dupont *J. Dupont, Les Béatitudes, 3 vols., Paris, 1958, 1969, 1973.

45 as In Graeco-Roman lit. it is often used of kings who establish peace, as in Dio Chrysostom 72:15.5. See further Windisch (v).

46 Gundry, Commentary, p. 72, who argues for the Matthean genesis of 5:9, suggests that the evangelist (1) has introduced peacemakers in order to supply a contrast with the haters of 5:10–12, (2) has drawn upon Mk 9:50c (which he later omits because of 5:9), and (3) may be alluding to Hos 1:10. None of this is convincing.

m. Mishnah

SB H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, 6 vols., Munich, 1921–1961.

T. Dan Testament of Dan

47 א C D f13 pc it vgcl.st syp geob Did. Aug Hil omit αυτοι, B W Θ 0133 0196 f1 Maj f k vgww sys.c.h. co followed by NA26 retain it. The true reading cannot be determined. If the first were original (and this cannot be ruled out, since Matthew does not always maintain perfectly parallel constructions; contrast e.g. 5:31a with 5:21, 27, 33, 38, and 43), the second would inevitably have arisen (cf. HG, p. 30). And if, on the contrary, the second were original, the first could be explained as a scribal slip.

Ps. Sol. Psalms of Solomon

Sib. Or. Sibylline Oracles

[19]Davies, W. D., & Allison, D. C. (2004). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (457). London; New York: T&T Clark International.

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