Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God
This Beatitude may perhaps seem less weighty than the others. It doesn’t seem to compare to being poor in spirit, or being meek and merciful. But peace between men in this world isn’t common or easy, and the believer who’s characterized by peace must have a different perspective than what’s typical among angry and selfish men. The truly peaceful man – as described below – will stand out, and peace will mark him as a citizen of a different world.
One who is meek, merciful, and pure in heart can live peacefully. He pursues peace between himself and others, and makes peace between fellow believers. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men (Rom 12:18).
He has no hidden agendas or ulterior motives.
He has no desire to gain an advantage.
He has no desire to just win for pride’s sake.
He has no desire to punish others for the sake of vengeance or justice; he’s willing to leave both in the hands of God.
He does not hold grudges or become bitter.
He puts love ahead of fairness. He doesn’t look to even the score. He doesn’t see opponents or rivals; he sees people in need of mercy and compassion.
He is willing to listen because others’ views are as important as his.
He is willing to admit wrong.
He is not easily offended because he has no expectations and no ego (he’s poor in spirit).
He’s thrilled that anyone treats him well because he knows what he deserves. He understands his place in God’s presence and the gravity of his redemption.
Peacemakers are called sons of God because they reflect God’s character. God is the ultimate peacemaker through Christ who reconciled sinners to Himself.
Summary of the horizontal Beatitudes (meek, merciful, peacemakers)
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 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. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:9-21).
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Persecution for the sake of righteousness is proof that we live a life conformed to the will of God. If we’re characterized by the first seven beatitudes, we will experience the eighth.
If there is no persecution, then we should examine ourselves to make sure we live according to the will of God, because the world hates the will of God (Jn 15:18-20, II Tim 3:12). If we are readily accepted by this world, how can we say we’re living for the next? Are we so happily ensconced in the world that we don’t make enough waves to attract notice? Are we so committed to pleasure and ease that we don’t make anyone uncomfortable? Do we think about our place in the kingdom or do we just exist day to day? Spirit-infused lives don’t comfortably fit in the world. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets (Lk 6:26).
For the sake of righteousness…and…on account of Me are the same thing. Righteousness is ultimately imitation of Jesus.
Persecution for reasons other than righteousness is not blessed – I Pet 2:20, 4:15
Persecution includes verbal attacks – vs. 11.
Righteousness which brings persecution shows that we are His and will inherit His kingdom. It is our proof of citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.
We must have an eternal mindset to rejoice. The Christian who looks forward to the next life understands that compared to what waits for him, his current afflictions are “light” (II Cor 4:17).
If persecution is a sign that we live in conformity to God’s will, then its presence is a reason for rejoicing (Acts 5:41).
Persecution identifies us with Christ (I Pet 2:21, 4:13).
We don’t rejoice at the persecution itself – we’re not masochists. We rejoice over what it means for us eternally.
How out of touch does it make us to hunger and thirst after the very thing that will ensure we suffer persecution in this life? And then rejoice when it happens??
The first beatitude – to be poor in spirit – is the foundation for all of them. To incorporate the beatitudes into our lives is not possible without first understanding our true state of helplessness. However, when we fully understand the other seven, it becomes extremely clear that we fall woefully short of God’s standard and that we have no right NOT to be poor in spirit. So the first beatitude underpins the other seven, but the other seven drive us back to the first.
A description of a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven:
- He is poor in spirit – he understands his hopeless state apart from God.
- He mourns over sin and hates sin, and his mourning and hatred drive him to God.
- He is meek before men – he sees others through the lens of his own sin and redemption.
- He hungers and thirsts for righteousness above all else.
- He is merciful to others because he knows how much he needs mercy from God.
- He is pure in heart – he has no pretense, no hypocrisy, he is the same inside and out.
- He is a peacemaker – he puts love ahead of justice and reflects the character of God.
- He rejoices when he’s persecuted for living as a citizen of the Kingdom.
- He inherits the kingdom of heaven, he’s comforted, he inherits the earth, he’s satisfied, he receives mercy, he sees God, he’s called a son of God.
He is utterly, radically DIFFERENT.