REDISCOVERING THE ANCIENT PATH—Week of April 25, 2021
Practice Peacemaking: Matt. 5:9
We are in Week 12 of our examination of Benedict of Nursia’s rules for Christian formation, and this is the second week of us looking at rules taken directly from the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are a series of “blessed be” statements found in Matthew 5, and the term comes from the Latin beatus, which means “blessed or happy.” This week we’ll look at Rule 4.25: Practice Peacemaking.
In Matt. 5:9 Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” The word translated “peacemaker” in this verse is unique as it is found nowhere else in the New Testament. However, its root word is found 92 times in the New Testament, and I believe it is this root word that gives us some clue as to the truth Jesus is conveying as he equates being a peacemaker with being a child of God. The root word for the word translated “peacemaker” is eirene, and according to Strong’s Concordance is a state of national tranquility, or peace or harmony between individuals. How does this clue us in to what Jesus is saying? Let’s look at Romans 5 to find out.
In the first 11 verses of Romans 5, Paul provides us with a wonderful, yet sobering, reminder of our condition apart from Christ. Apart from Christ, we are not neutral towards God; we are in a state of open war. We are the enemies of God. We are determined to live as the lords of our own individual kingdoms and hostile to any attempt by God to exert his authority in our lives. Though such resistance and hostility is ultimately futile—for we cannot outmatch our Creator—we nevertheless attempt to live our lives as we see fit. The amazing thing is that God is not willing to remain at war with us. Though we have declared war on God, he amazingly longs for us to be reconciled to him. He willingly sacrificed his Son so that we might be restored to a state of tranquility and harmony with him. God drafted a peace treaty in the blood of Jesus so that we could once again be called the children of God. But God’s grace and mercy doesn’t end with him making peace with us. God goes on to provide each of us with a ministry—the ministry of peacemaking.
In 2 Cor. 5:16-21, we see that not only has God reconciled us to him through Jesus Christ, he has also given us the privilege of carrying the good news of this reconciliation to the world. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation, or peacemaking. While this would certainly carry the expectation that we would live our lives in an honorable, peaceable way, the ministry we have been given is so much more important than that. We have the ministry of carrying God’s peace treaty of the Gospel to a world at war with him. As God’s ambassadors we carry the good news that God has initiated peace with the lost of the world, inviting them to lay down their arms and enter into a love-relationship with him as his children. We are called to declare that peace is available to those who are near and those who are far off (Eph. 2:17). And as we call for people to be reconciled to God, we will also see people reconciled to each other, for we are incapable of real, lasting peace apart from the transformation that is made possible through the atoning work of Jesus and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s embrace the blessing of being peacemakers.
- Take a moment and consider how Christians in America are viewed. Would you say that Christians are viewed as peacemakers? Why or why not? If you think that Christians are not viewed as peacemakers, what could we do to change that perception?
- Why is it so important to be reconciled to God before we are reconciled to each other?
- Take a moment to consider that all of us as believers have been given the ministry of reconciliation. How are you doing at conveying God’s offer of peace as his ambassador? What are some tangible ways that you can better serve God as his ambassador of peace?