Summary: This seventh Beatitude has to do more with conduct than with character.
Preaching of the King – Part 6
This seventh Beatitude has to do more with conduct than with character. The first four may be grouped together as setting forth negative character of the heart of the godly. They are not self-sufficient, but consciously poor in spirit; they are not self-satisfied, but mourning because of their spiritual state; they are not self-willed, but meek; they are not self-righteous, but hungering and thirsting after righteousness. In the next three, the Lord names their positive character, having tasted of the mercy of God, they are merciful in their dealings with others; having received a spiritual nature, they now hate impurity and love holiness; having entered into a peace with God they now wish to live in harmony and peace with all mankind.
In a world where there is no strife there is no need for peacemakers. Where the world is filled with malice and envy, hateful and hating one another" (Titus 3:3): though attempts are often made to conceal this by the cloak of hypocrisy yet it soon comes forth again in its hideous nakedness, as the history of the nations attests, peacemakers are needed.
The desire of peacemakers is to live peaceably with all men and abstain from deliberate injury of others, promote unity and heal broken relationships. Peacemakers pour sooth oil on troubled waters, reconcile those who are alienated, right wrongs, and strengthen the kindly ties of friendship. As the sons of peace they bring into the hostile atmosphere of this world the pure and calming air of heaven.
The disposition of the peacemakers is a vastly different disposition of the easy-going indolence which is often nothing but selfishness, of the wicked of this world. The peace they desire to establish is not a peace at any price. It is a peace that is not to be sought at the expense of righteousness. It is a peace God Himself approves of. In this life we are to avoid all needless contention, to the point of sacrificing the truth.
It is the duty of every Christian to see to it that we conduct ourselves in such a way no just complaint can be filed against us. It is also for our own peace we do this because it is impossible to be happy when we are involved in strife and enmities. When disturbance and turmoil is aroused, we should diligently examine ourselves before the Lord as to whether the cause for it lies in us and if it does confess the sin to Him and seek to reconcile those offended. Peacemakers must constantly be on their guard against an invasion by the spirit of bigotry, intemperate zeal, and a quarrelsome spirit and keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).
In order to develop a peaceful disposition we must first cultivate the grace of "lowliness," which is the opposite of pride, of meekness, which is the opposite of self-assertiveness, and the grace of long sufferance, which is the opposite of impatience. We are not only to do all we can to heal broken relationships we are to reconcile men to God. This is a contrast in the task given to Joshua and his officers under the Mosaic economy, of taking up the sword to slay the enemies of the Lord! In this age the servants of Christ are commissioned to seek the reconciliation of those who are at enmity with God.
Peacemakers are the ambassadors of God, calling sinners to come to God, throw down the weapons of their warfare and enter into peace with God. They know there is no peace for the wicked, and therefore they exhort them to make peace with God.
There is still another way in which it is the privilege of believers to be peacemakers, and that is by their prayers. In the day when the Lord’s anger is kindled against a sin-laden people and the dark clouds of providence threaten an impending storm of judgment, it is both the duty and the privilege of God’s peacemakers to stand in the breach and in earnest supplication plead with God to withhold His judgment as Moses did (Exodus 32:10), Aaron did (Numbers 16:47, 48), and David did (2 Samuel 24:14). This is indeed a blessed work of peace: to intercede as Abraham did for Sodom. Only in the Day to come will we know what the wicked gained by the presence of the righteous remnant in their midst.
The reward for being peacemakers is decisive proof that these Beatitudes are not directed toward the moral virtues of the natural man, but rather the spiritual graces of the regenerate. To be called a child of God is to be renewed in His image and likeness and to be a peacemaker. The Lord Himself is "the God of peace" (Hebrews 13:20), and where this peaceful disposition is manifested by His people He owns them as His children. Furthermore, peacemakers are recognized as children of God by their spiritual brothers. Ultimately, God will make it manifest to the entire universe that we are His children (Rom. 8:19).