By: Scott Adkins, Sling ‘n Stone Ministry
Carter County Times
Last week, we looked at how we must be “pure in heart” to see God per Matthew 5:8. This week, we move-on to the seventh Beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9.). But what does it mean to be “peacemaker”? The original Greek uses the word “eirénopoios” for “peacemakers” in our English version. “Eirénopoios” means one who declares God’s terms or message. One theologian, David A. Hagner, explained that “Jesus announced a kingdom entirely apart from human effort and indicat[ed] the status of ‘children of God’ belongs… to those who live peaceably.” Yet what exactly did Jesus mean when He commanded we:
The Bible opens with peace in the Garden of Eden and closes with eternal peace in Revelation. And in our time, the New Testament says much about peace. For example, Hebrews 12:14: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” II Timothy 2:24: “The servant of the Lord must not quarrel; but be gentle unto all[.]” And James 3:18: “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by them who make peace.” So, the real question seems: Just how do we make peace? One way to understand how we make peace is to look at what we should not do.
Remember also when the Pharisees arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Peter chopped off a fellow’s ear. Jesus’s response? He told Peter to “put up” his sword, and warned that “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:51-52). Our culture today suffers from much senseless violence and ever-increasing strife. Clearly, the solution, according to Jesus, Who is the “Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6), is not to perpetrate violence against those who defiantly oppose God. To be a peacemaker, we must (a) “turn the other cheek,” (Matthew 5:39); and (b) “sow the fruit of righteousness,” (James 3:18). The latter means we must “sow” or spread the “Gospel of peace.” (Romans 10:15). Why? Because only through the Gospel can folks come to know the “Prince of Peace” and obtain His peace. Jesus told His disciples: “[M]y peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27).
Bible scholar G. Campbell Morgan said it best: “[a] peacemak[er] is the… [person] who, exemplifying all the rest of the Beatitudes… brings peace wherever [they] go.” Indeed, as we daily live the beatitudes; turn the other cheek; and by both word and example, spread the Prince of Peace’s “Gospel of peace,” we will be “the children of God” because we are “peacemakers.”