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Matthew 5:9


9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

"For anyone who has been involved in the Middle East peace process, it is obvious how difficult are the issues of permanent territorial boundaries, the return of Palestinians to their former homeland and the status of Jerusalem. In addition, crucial questions will have to be answered involving the Golan Heights, water rights, freedom of movement, Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, the characteristics of a Palestinian state and the joint maintenance of security.

"I have found that there are often specific negotiating points on which neither disputing side can possibly yield, and these have to be finessed." (Jimmy Carter, August 2000)

Peacemaking is, without a doubt, the most difficult task anyone could undertake. When there are specific negotiating points on which neither party could yield, it would seem like there can be no peace until one side totally defeats the other. All attempts to bring peace to the middle east have failed because of these non-negotiable points.

The Christian's role in peacemaking is often difficult to understand. On the one hand, Jesus is called the Prince of Peace because He has reconciled the differences between men and God. Men are not called to do this. Neither man nor angel is able to make peace between men and God, because there is a negotiating point on which neither side can yield. God will not accept sin, and man cannot stop sinning. Only the shed blood of Jesus was capable of erasing that negotiating point and bringing peace.

On the other hand, Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes [shall be] they of his own household. " (Matthew 10:34-36)

While Jesus brought peace between God and His elect, He also introduced a negotiating point on which the elect cannot yield and on which the world will demand that we do. The point is the Gospel, the truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father. This we cannot compromise. Jesus is Lord!

But "Blessed are the peacemakers..." Well, it takes two to fight. Jesus said we are to turn the other cheek; we are to love our enemies and to pray for those who despitefully use us. Perhaps we cannot bend on the truth, but we are not asked to fight for it,... only to believe it and to spread it.

We must first be peaceful people before we can make peace between others. We must demonstrate the love of Christ by turning the other cheek, so that others can have an example to follow. We must accept the afflictions that the world wants to impose on us, because of our beliefs, answering violence with love and prayer.

"They shall be called the children of God..." Jesus might, at first glance, appear to be teaching justification by works, especially if we compare Matthew 5:45 where the sense is, "in order that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:" But, He merely speaks of works as a product of our salvation. It identifies us as His children, for only the children of God could so love their enemies as to pray for them.

Peacemaking is certainly a difficult task with many risks involved, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We will need the character trait of meekness in order to live at peace with all men, but we can be certain that they will hate us in spite of the love we show them. So, we must understand that we are the children of God and His love is more than sufficient for us.

Before The Throne:

Pray that God would fill you with love for all those who hate you. Ask Him to help you live peacefully with all men. Ask Him for the meekness and strength of character to turn the other cheek and to return good for evil. Pray that He would make you an example for others to follow. Ask for the wisdom to help others keep the peace.

For Further Study:

** are. 1Chr 12:17; Ps 34:12; Ps 120:6; Ps 122:6-8; Acts 7:26; Rom 12:18; Rom 14:1-7, 17-19; 1Cor 6:6; 2Cor 5:20; 2Cor 13:11; Gal 5:22; Eph 4:1; Phil 2:1-3; Phil 4:2; Col 3:13; 2Tim 2:22-24; Heb 12:14; Jas 1:19-20; Jas 3:16-18; ** for. Matt 5:45, 48; Ps 82:6-7; Luke 6:35; Luke 20:36; Eph 5:1-2; Phil 2:15-16; 1Pe 1:14-16;


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