In 1847, the Texas Rangers placed an order with an American inventor, Samuel Colt, for 1,000 repeating pistols to help arm the Rangers in their mission of defending the citizens of Texas. He accepted the order and invented a standardized process through which a six-shot revolver, named “The Peacemaker,” could be quickly and inexpensively produced. For the first time, weapons of this type were affordable for the average person, and it changed American culture forever. There is a saying: “God made men. Sam Colt made them equal.” Although an intriguing bit of history, this is not the peacemaker Jesus was talking about in Matthew 5:9 when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
In this verse, like the other Beatitudes, Jesus is defining characteristics of regenerated, Spirit-led lives, not specific actions with their corresponding rewards. God is the ultimate peacemaker, and if we, who claim the name of Christ, are to be called “sons of God,” we should be recognizable by traits that resemble those of our Father. To be a person who seeks peace involves far more than simply wishing that wars would end, politics were civilized, and people could get along. It is a way of life, evidence of regeneration. Galatians 5:22-23 includes peace in a famous list, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
It is indelibly woven through our relationships and interactions with others. We must have an inner peace that is secure and unshakeable despite our circumstances, a rock-solid foundation that can endure (Luke 6:47-48). This kind of inner peace is a gift from God that is reserved for His children (Romans 5:1). When we have this strong foundation built on Christ it provides true security and only then can we reach out to others with genuine offers of peace. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Romans 12:18 adds, ”If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
In order to truly seek peace with others, we must genuinely love and want what is best for them. This is easier said than done. People (including you and me) are hard, selfish, obstinate, vengeful, angry, opinionated, and the list goes on (Romans 1:28-32). It is very difficult to love people even for those who are closest to them. Jesus takes this idea to another level in Matthew 5:43-45 when He says, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” This truly is a monumental task Jesus is laying out! Not only should we love our neighbor, which can be hard enough, but also our enemies! We cannot do this in and of ourselves in our own strength. Fortunately, God has made it possible through His Spirit to truly pray for our enemies and seek good things for them. This is nothing less than a miracle, a gift of the Holy Spirit to believers, and by it, we are known as children of our Father.
The moment sin entered the world, sides were drawn in a rebellion that, in one sense, has yet to reach its conclusion. On one side is the holy, just, sovereign Creator God who cannot allow sin in His presence (Psalm 5:4-6). On the other side are the rebellious descendants of Adam, created from dirt, sinful, fallen, broken, and desperate, with their middle fingers to the sky blaspheming their Creator’s name while pretending He does not exist. The Almighty, although without any need, secure in Himself, reached out first to those who were His enemies with an offer of peace they did not deserve (Romans 5:8-10). He did more than just offer peace, He made peace, satisfying the just demands of His perfection by sacrificing His own Son. Jesus suffered the penalty and died in the place of His enemies (including you and me), making a way for them to have true peace with God. Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” This ultimate gift of peace with God is freely extended to any who will accept it (John 3:16).
So, how does all this apply to our practical everyday lives as believers? Why is it important to have a foundation of peace that our life is built upon? Why must we love people including our enemies? Why should we work hard and press toward peace with everyone? The answer is the Gospel! The motivation for all that we do should come from a desire to glorify God and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world around us.
How can we effectively do that when we are angry, argumentative, and unapproachable? How can we be ambassadors of the peace our Father offers when our lives are in chaos, when a trial or persecution sends us plummeting in a tailspin of faith? We need to perform an audit on our lives and relationships and ask God to reveal the things that need to be set right: with Him, within ourselves, or with other people. If we need to make peace, let us not wait. If we need to forgive, we should do it today. We desperately need the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us to do the humanly impossible, and demonstrably show Christ’s love and peace to a desperate world. Then we will truly be called “sons [and daughters] of God.”