“Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.”
I recently had occasion to say a public blessing over a couple from our church who had just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. As I prayed for them, it occurred to me that their union was a beautiful model of what God had intended for the union of Christ and His church, that we believers should be joined as one to our Savior and, as the sacrament goes, “what God hath joined let no man put asunder.”
Today’s verse is a precious reminder that we are called to union with our brother and Lord, Christ Jesus – who is, after all, the “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) The word “peace” in Greek is a little different than in Hebrew. In the Old Testament, “shalom” meant a tranquility and security found with community and family, it was a peace of the enforced will of God, a peace of knowing that God was watching over us. “Shalom” is still something to be hoped for, it is very much the peace of God we want for all mankind. But in Greek, “eirene” comes from a word that means “to make one” or “to join.” “Eirene” is less a state of peace settling upon one’s heart than a state of tranquility resulting from a singleness of purpose and will. In short, in the Old Testament, people knew peace because God protected them from their enemies, but in the New Testament we are called to join with our enemies and allow God to bring them to that singular love that is in Christ alone.
Peacemakers are more than simply those who broker cease-fire agreements between warring factions, and they are far more than those who simply agree to disagree. The peacemakers are not those who simply give up on pursuading others concerning God’s Word, nor are the peacemakers those who try to be conciliatory and say, “Let’s just get along.” On the contrary, there can be no lasting peace unless all sides are going the same direction, have the same goals, and love the same God. The peacemakers are those who bring people into the knowledge and love of Christ, who join others to the universal church. The peacemakers are those who create union and harmony among the brethren by preaching the inerrant Word of God – not those who give up and say, “You go your way and I’ll go mine.”
Those who will be called “sons of God” must turn all hearts and eyes toward our Savior. Those who would lay claim to the inheritance of the glory of Christ must share the gospel from a place of sound doctrine – not the philosophies of men – and allow the Holy Spirit to gently pursuade others to join as one to worship the Most High God. To make peace, we must turn all eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), so that, in the words of the beloved hymn, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim.” When we focus on Christ, then war, discord, and strife no longer seem as important as enacting the will of the Father of Peace. Let us, therefore, join as many as we can to the peace of Christ, so that we all may, in due time, be called sons and daughters of God.
Precious Heavenly Father, all praise and honor and glory are Yours. Thank You, Father, for teaching us the true peace that is found in the living water of Jesus Christ. Use me, Lord God, to bring others into union with You, that Your will shall reign on earth as it does in heaven. Amen.