Posted by: sean | April 24, 2007

Matthew 5.9 (1)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Suffice it to say that war-making is out of the question for the blessed, the children of God. As bond-slaves of the Messiah we are to be peacemakers. We preach the gospel of peace ordained by the God of peace to make peace between men and God so that they may enter the kingdom wherein all implements of war will be exchanged for farming tools. Since peace is a major theme of the New Testament (NT) I have quoted a number of texts which bear on this grand virtue:

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Jesus left us the shalom of the Messiah (the peace of Christ). We are not like the world. We have his peace.

Romans 12:17-19 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

We are the people who “so far as it depends on” us work for peace. This clear Scripture excludes violence of any kind. We are those who NEVER pay back evil. We ALWAYS seek peace.

Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

1 Corinthians 7:15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

These three texts contain clear guidance that as Christians we pursue peace, we are called to peace, we are to live in peace. If we pursue the things that make for war (i.e. joining the military) does this not contradict the spirit of these verses?

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The fruit of the spirit are not optional. As followers of Christ we do not pick which fruit fits our personality. If the spirit is truly living in us then the fruit will manifest. War/Violence are incompatible with these fruit. It is not loving to kill people. It is not peaceful to make war. It is not patient to execute vengeance on our enemies before the day of the Lord. It is not kind to use violence. Gentle people do not do un-gentle things. War and the fruit of the spirit do not co-exist in the same person.

Ephesians 4:1-3 1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, and love are the marks of the Christian walk. Violence, impatience, intolerance, and hate are the marks of the world.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

As brothers and sisters in Christ we are to live in peace with eachother. Some day the world will also be at peace. Until then the church is to be a living, breathing demonstration of what God can do with people who are truly sumbissive to his will. The beauty of the church is marred when she is found wielding the weapons of war to get even.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

Hebrews 12:14 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

In each of these three it is clear that the peace of the church is to be shared with ALL men (not just the “good guys”). We pray to the Lord of peace to grant us peace in EVERY circumstance. This is the one true means of making peace–prayer.

James 3:17-18 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

1 Peter 3:10-15 10 For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 “He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

If we desire life, to love and see good days, we MUST keep our tongues, turn away from evil (including but not limited to killing our or our nation’s enemies), and seek peace. We are to trust in the God who is able to keep us free from harm. But, even if we do suffer, we should not fear but instead make our response (defense = reasoned argument) with gentleness.

As the children of God we live in peace with God, eachother, and the world (to the degree that the world allows). Even if the world seeks to use violence against us we still MUST seek/pursue/make peace the whole while trusting in our God who will ultimately make things right.

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Responses

  1. Excellent points Sean.

    I think that it might be helpful to note that in sections like Romans 12, when the concept of “as much as it depends on you” is suggested, this doesn’t mean “well, I tried my best to have people with someone, but I just couldn’t take it anymore so I snapped.”

    I think that it is speaking to the fact that sometimes the other person in the situation may not want/allow peace – but as much as it depends on me, there will be peace. I cannot control the other person so if they refuse to have reconciliation or peace, it will not be because of me though.

    May the bride of Christ be white and pure, free from the stains of the blood of men.

  2. I have been pondering something the last few days in light of this. If the Kingdom is marked by peace and the peacemakers are those who are God’s children…why would someone who is violent, makes war, etc. in this age suddenly be a member of the peacemaking force of the age to come? Isn’t the heart behind Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the mount that it is those who are like this NOW who will be doing/called/inheriting, etc THEN?

    I have heard it said that if you don’t want to live for God now, why do you think you would want to be in the Kingdom, that’s what you’ll be doing then. So why would someone whose life is marked by violence and war be a part of the peace that is coming unless they are devoted to love and peace now?


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