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

The anticipation for the coming Messiah for the Jews was that of a conqueror, one that would free Israel from Roman occupation, conquer all opposing Gentiles, and establish Jerusalem as the capital city and military stronghold of the known world. The Messiah was to accomplish this by leading the Jewish nation to victory in war. “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. 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.” (Isaiah 9:6-7) The Jewish nation wanted peace through power and prestige rather than love and mercy.

The state of peace is not a passive existence with one’s neighbor but a positive state of good. A peacemaker is more than one who stops quarrels but one who brings good into the lives of others. Peacemakers often find themselves involved in great conflicts and as long as the forces of evil prevail there will be no peace until those forces are destroyed. Peacemakers must deal with the spiritual corruption at the root of the issues that confront peace in order to create a true state of peace.

Jesus was in a fight against the corrupted religious establishment while trying to create a state of peace between man and God. Jesus battled against the corruption in the Temple, as they had turned His Father’s house into a den of thieves. “And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” (John 2:14-16) There can be no peace between God and man if the Lord’s house is used for corrupt practices.

Jesus also battled against the religious leaders of His day in that they were more concerned with the outward appearances than in the inward, the spiritual state of men. If men’s hearts were filled with all kinds of evil intention how then could they be righteous before a Holy God? “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27)

Man cannot compromise with evil and expect to find real peace. Peace cannot be found between what is evil and righteousness, as darkness cannot hide in the light. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) Righteous living can never find peace in a coexistence with sinful behavior. “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud.” (Isaiah 57:20) For there to be real peace in the world man must be right with God his Creator. The work of the peacemaker is to bring others to God. Unless a man is reconciled unto God he is at war with God and there can be no peace in his spirit. “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18) The basic problem of man is that he is at odds with the image he was created to be related to. As long a man is in spiritual conflict with God there will be no peace between him and God, as he is living a life in wickedness and without an eternal hope. “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the LORD.” (Isaiah 48:22)

Paul who once was a persecutor of the Christian faith and those who believed in Christ came face to face with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. At that time Paul was converted and became a disciple of Jesus. Several years later Paul went to Jerusalem and trued to associate with the Apostles of Christ whom he formerly persecuted. The Apostles did not trust Paul and were rejecting him as a fellow Apostle. Barnabas, whose name means “son of consolation,” came to Paul’s defense. “When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 9:26-27) The Apostles believed the testimony of Barnabas and accepted Paul into the fold. Paul became one of the greatest missionaries of all time and planted many Churches. Barnabas is the example of a peacemaker.

The peacemakers will be blessed in that they will be called. In the context of meaning called means chosen. The peacemakers will be chosen by God to be sons of God. From the fall of man it was God’s plan and purpose to initiate peace between Him and man. This should also be our same desire, to have peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)

Jesus is coming again to the earth and this time He will come as the Prince of Peace. “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 9:6) The sin of man must be dealt with as God will never make a pact with sin. Man must confess his sin and repent from it and be washed by the cleansing blood of Jesus. Jesus gave His life that we may find ours. “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)

There is only one way to find redemption and our salvation from the wrath of God. And that is through Jesus Christ. He paid with His life are trespasses against God, He is willing and able to forgive us of our sin, and through His transforming power He can create in us the person that God created us to be. Then we will have peace with God and man. Let us all tell the good news of Jesus Christ. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, February 21, 2016

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