Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hope in the Beatitudes - peacemakers called sons of God

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

Remembering that the first 4 beatitudes are linked with the second set of 4, we can see that those who are meek will be peacemakers. Those who are submitted to the will of God will seek to make peace.

What kind of peace are we talking about? I believe this is referring to peace between God and men. Paul says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:17-21).

Prior to being in Christ, man in his natural state is under the wrath of God – “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). We are at enmity with God. Peace with God is impossible whilst we continue to rebel against Him. Yet “when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). Once God in His grace opens our eyes to receive the gospel message, we can then be reconciled to him through repentance and trust in Christ. We go from being enemies of God to being at peace with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2). How awesome is this! Jesus himself is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Nothing is more important for man than to be reconciled and at peace with the One True God.

So a peacemaker, having himself received peace, will seek to bring peace between other men and God. Those who are meek and submitted to God’s will seek this peace for others too. For this is God’s will: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The return of Christ is delayed so that God can have mercy on all those who seek peace with Him. Just as God delayed the judgement of the flood in the days of Noah because of his mercy, so too he delays judgement now because of his mercy. Genesis tells us that when Enoch had a son, he called him Methuselah, which means “his death shall bring”. It appears as though Enoch was given some kind of prophecy regarding the coming flood (see Jude 14-15), hence the name of his son. In the very year that Methuselah died, the devastating flood came on the earth. Methuselah lived the longest of any man in history, he was 969 years old when he died. This demonstrates the mercy of God in withholding judgement to the very end. Today, God is showing mercy in allowing men time to repent and come to Him and be at peace with Him before the return of Christ.

This then is the heart of evangelism, to bring peace between men and God, through proclamation of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Oh God, I pray you would bring opportunities for me to proclaim your message of salvation, that men may come to be at peace with you through Christ.

The promise given by Jesus is that peacemakers will be called sons of God. Those who believe in Him are born again into a new family, born of God, transferred from darkness to light, from death to life. We receive a spirit of sonship, of adoption when we believe, that cries out "Abba, Father". We can now relate to the awesome God of the universe as our Heavenly Father, instead of fearing His wrath. Thank God for this amazing news! How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!

No comments:

Post a Comment