In this third installment of this Bible study, we will continue to read through the Beatitudes looking for the unfiltered gospel message contained within the verses. Be sure to read Part 1 & 2 of this Bible study for more context and understanding.
The Children of God
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9)
Jesus tells us that those who are peacemakers are blessed because they will be called the children of God. What a phenomenal promise made by Jesus Christ. Peacemakers in the Greek means pacificatory, i.e. (subjectively) peaceable according to the Strong’s Concordance. (Be sure to investigate any claim made on the 2 Olive Trees using available resources such as www.blueletter.org or a Strong’s concordance.) Pacificatory means tending to promote peace; conciliatory. Conciliatory means intended to gain goodwill or favor or to reduce hostility. These definitions give us more insight to what Jesus was explaining.
It should be noted that the Bible gives us other characteristics of the children (or sons) of God. Recorded history shows us that it is not natural for mankind to develop and promote peace neither is it natural for mankind to act kind to gain the goodwill or favor of others for anything other than greed. This is how God’s character is despite what the secular world teaches about the Bible. Consequently, those who want to develop this character must reach beyond themselves to develop it. This means we have to reach out to God for assistance in developing character like His and this requires the Holy Spirit.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)
If we are not led by the Spirit of God, we are not His children. Notice, we must be led not forced. God will not force you to follow His way, but He will lead you through His Spirit. The only way to become a true peacemaker is to let God lead you through the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is leading, then we must learn to follow, to walk after the Spirit (Rom. 8:1)
If we walk after the Spirit, we will learn God’s ways and character. The Spirit will lead us into the fruits (works) of God. Read Gal. 5:22. One of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. Only God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ know the true way of peace. For 6000 years, mankind has been unable to discern the way of peace and we can see the fruits of our efforts. Many of us can barely maintain peace in our own households so it is not surprising that we are unable to love our neighbors as ourselves. But if we learn to live in the Spirit, then we can learn to follow the way the Spirit leads (Gal. 5:25).
Read Luke 6:26-36 for a full description of what it looks like to be a peacemaker. Each verse has value greater than the purest gold if you study and apply what Jesus was teaching. Let’s look at a few verses.
“But I say unto you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
In the human mind, this is a strange saying. Who wants to love their enemies? Why would you want to do good to those who hate you or bless someone who curses you? Does it make sense to pray for those who despitefully use you? This is God’s way of thinking. It is pacificatory and peaceable. It is intending to gain goodwill or favor from your enemies. How long would an enemy remain an enemy if you behaved in this way?
Look at the lives of individuals like Abraham, Daniel, Jeremiah, and David. Each of these men experienced mountains of hardships. They were taken captive, put in prison, had their wives stolen, pursued to be killed, and more and yet their reaction to these events were typically in line with these teachings of Jesus Christ. Each of these men had a solid relationship with the Creator God. They were following where the Spirit of God was leading, and this is evident by their character.
Zero in on this point: bless them that curse you and pray for them which despitefully use you. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do, but it is what God the Father expects of us. It is impossible to maintain a hostile attitude towards someone if you are blessing that person. It is impossible to maintain hatred in your heart while praying for a person. With hatred and hostility put behind you, it becomes easier to be peaceable. David experienced this while being pursued by King Saul. David constantly sought to make peace with Saul and to leave Saul’s fate in the hands of God. Read 1 Sam. 24:1-12 for one example where David’s peaceable character shine forth.
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil” (Luke 6:35)
Contrary to the way of the world, God expects us to love our enemies and pursue peace. Jesus tells us if we do this, we will be the children of the Highest. Yes, the peacemakers shall be called the children of God. God is kind to the unthankful and the evil. God expects us to do the same, not even expecting to receive gratitude from men. But Jesus says if we do this, our reward will be great. Remember, you shouldn’t do this for the reward, but you should do this because your Father which is in heaven is kind in this way. The Father gives the blessing of the sunrise for the just and the unjust because He is kind (Matt. 5:43-45). There is a clear expectation that we try to be perfect as the Father is perfect (Matt. 5:48).
This teaching is not limited to Jesus Christ. The apostles taught the same concept of being peaceable towards all of mankind. Read James 3:13-18. The apostle James declares that Christians who maintain envy and strife are essentially lying against the truth (verse 14). We are to have good conduct (written as conversation in Old English) as mentioned in verse 13. To show forth anything other than good behavior is like lying against the truth of God. Envy and strife are not fruits of the Spirit, but they are the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). It is impossible to walk in the peaceable way of the Spirit and walk after the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Remember, those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God!!!
Reread James 3:17-18. Wisdom from God will cause you to be pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy, and good fruits. James taught the same exact thing the Lord Jesus Christ did. Humble children obtain wisdom from their father and emulate him. Likewise, we must be humble children gaining wisdom from our Father and emulating His character. This is the expectation of God the Father. Also read 1 Peter 3:8-12. Eschew evil, do good, seek peace, and ensue it is one of our mandates!!!
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14)
Blessed be those who pursue peace with all men, for they shall be named the children of God!!!
Special Note: As I explained at the end of Part 1 in this series, I have taken extensive notes on the Beatitudes. Consequently, I have decided to make one more installment to keep the post from being too lengthy for consumption. We hope that this series blesses you and your families.