Beatitudes 44: Peace 6

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:8)

The Gospel is a Gospel of peace and this is truly a glorious thing. This is one reason that peacemakers are blessed and that is because they see the glory of God shining in this Gospel of peace. One blessing of being a peacemaker is to behold the glory of God in the Gospel of peace and to go around shining forth that glory. As the Gospel shines out through us we see that which we love the most and that which brings true blessedness and joy. It is the glory of God in us and through us as it shines out to others.

If we go out with the Gospel and do not understand that unbelievers truly hate God, we might be surprised by the reaction of people. The natural person, even though s/he may be very religious, hates the true God. If we go out with the Gospel of the glory of God and people see the true God, they will hate Him and our message. The reaction is then to water the Gospel down in order to make it more palatable to people. We will water it down in order to make it more man-centered in some way. That can take one of two directions, though in reality both will be done. We will water the message down about man and his true enmity with God or we will water the message down about God. It will start with one or the other but will inevitably lead to a watering down of both.

What we must see and come to grips with is that the Gospel is the Gospel of God. It is all about God and is about how God saves His enemies by grace alone. God’s glory shines in the Gospel of peace, but it is a God-centered Gospel rather than one that is centered upon man. God’s glory shines in the fact that the Gospel is all about His grace and nothing to do with the worthiness of man (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14; 2:1-10). Man wants a gospel that is all how much God values and loves him. Man wants a gospel that he can accept or reject at his pleasure and according to what he thinks is his freedom. But the glory of the Gospel is the exact opposite of that. The character and attributes of God in His grace and sovereignty shine in and through the true Gospel of His glory. These are not things to hide from people, though indeed they hate this and despise us for it. We must know that if we change the message we are no longer shining the glory and beauty of God’s freedom and grace to people. If we change the message we are no longer teaching human beings how opposed they are to the true God. If we change the message of the Gospel, then we are no longer doing it to the glory of God and of the true good of human beings.

Peacemakers know that God’s glory is at stake in the Gospel. Those who are war with God are only at war with God over the parts that attack their self-centeredness and positions of influence. This was like the Pharisees and the Jews. Their positions were in danger. “Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48 “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:47-48). We must never forget that man is a self-centered creature apart from the grace of God. We must also never forget that man believes that he is on the throne of his life and that he runs and rules it according to his own self-determining power. When the peacemaker comes along and tells man that the truth of the matter is that man is dead in sin and is in bondage to the devil that gets man upset. When the peacemaker comes along and tells man that God is sovereign and man cannot bring God under his obligation at all in any matter, this goes against all of man’s beliefs and all that his heart loves. The Gospel of peace is in one sense bringing man’s war with God to a head.

The truth of the glory of God in the Gospel must be seen so that people will see their true enmity with God. As long as we tell them the pleasing things, they will just think that they love God and never see their enmity with Him. A peacemaker must be willing to suffer to proclaim this message of truth of the glory of God in order to be a true peacemaker between God and human beings. We must never forget that the Gospel is all about the glory of God and is not centered upon man. The Gospel is about how God can be just and the justifier of sinners (Romans 3:26). The Gospel is all about the righteousness of God and how He can give a free gift of righteousness of man while maintaining His holiness and justice (Rom 3:24-31). The Gospel is all about His grace. These things will never be popular, but these are part of what we must do to preach the true glory of God in the Gospel.

We take the glory of the Gospel out to human beings so that people will see the glory of God and realize their true danger. Part of that true danger is that they are at enmity with God and we must get them to see that. As long as we tell them pleasing things, they will think that they love God and will never see their true enmity with God. A true peacemaker must be willing to suffer in order to proclaim this message of truth to the glory of God. A peacemaker has to show people their war with God in order to declare the peace of God. If people do not see that they are at war, then they will not see their need for peace with God. This means that we must go out with the message of the glory of God to show men that they are at war with God so they can see their desperate plight.

We must also see that changing the message of the Gospel is really a changing of the presentation of the character of God. The natural man will always follow the path of Romans 1:18-32 which is a constant suppression of the truth of God that shines in nature and in human beings themselves. All that humanity does is really an expression of enmity toward God whether it is murder or of committed religion. When we come to humanity we must always bear in mind that man wants to suppress the knowledge of God. If we bring this message of the glory of God to him he will react in a way to suppress that information and that might be an effort to suppress the peacemaker. If we water the message down we are helping that person suppress the truth and we are doing the same thing too.

All of the things above are reasons why the Gospel is so man-centered today. This is true in the Reformed ranks as well as others. Our so-called Gospel presentations are canned messages or generalized talks that are focused on the human being. It is no wonder that people don’t see their hatred for and enmity with God and so see no need of the Gospel. The visible Church today is as guilty of suppressing the Gospel as anyone. From its desires for numbers, honor and influence it has chosen to take out the hard parts of the Gospel which has left it with a false gospel. It has also left the visible Church teaching about a false god and trusting in one as well. The true peacemaker must never water down the character of God in proclaiming the Gospel of the glory of God. If we water down the character of God, we no longer have a Gospel of the glory of God. It becomes a gospel of the glory of man.

For some reason the Jesus Christ was heavily persecuted during His ministry on earth. He was perfect and perfectly loved, yet He was hated, despised and eventually killed. Why is that? Because He was the temple of the living God (John 1:14) and He was the outshining of the glory of God (Hebrews 1:3). Wherever He went He was perfect love and yet He was hated as the glory of God shone through Him. When people saw Him they hated the God who shone through Him. If we are to be true peacemakers we are to go out with the life of Christ as our life and strength. We are to do all that we do to the glory of God. We are promised that men will hate us because they hate Him. If we can go out and tell what we call the gospel and no one is really all that mad, it may be because we are not declaring the Gospel of the glory of God. Man hates God and when he sees God he will react with anger.

In our day we have seen what happens when the Gospel of the glory of God becomes the gospel of the glory of man. Multitudes are deceived with an easy way to “believe” in Christ, yet many others are inoculated to the truth of the Gospel by someone watering it down. Church buildings are filled with unbelievers and all are in search for something to tickle their ears in order to keep their deception going. Since church buildings are filled with unbelievers if anyone speaks of the Gospel of the glory of God it makes people very angry and they fire the pastor. A peacemaker will face fierce opposition in most “churches” today precisely because man has become the center of all things and it is even taught that God is centered on man today as well. But despite the opposition and hatred that the Gospel of the glory of God brings, we must never water it down at any point. To do so is fatal.

We have seen (though to a small degree) that the Gospel is primarily about the glory of God (II Cor 4:4-6). We have seen that human beings that are not true Christians hate God and suppress the truth about Him. It is in Christ that the glory of God shines when Christ is presented in truth. This brings us as peacemakers into a position of considerable tension. If we water the message down enough that people will not get mad, we are suppressing the truth of God and we must question our own hearts as to whether we love God or ourselves in trying to please others. What are we to do? We must be humbled in order that God would deliver us from our self-love and self-pleasing ways in order that we would love Him enough to declare His glory despite the opposition that we will face from professing believers and unbelievers alike. The glory of God is the most beautiful sight that a person can ever have. However, it is the most hateful sight to unbelievers and perhaps especially to unbelievers who are very religious. They hate a free and sovereign grace which stands against their belief in their own free-will. We must love God and His glory enough to proclaim the Gospel of His glory to fellow human beings who will hate us and mistreat us. That is what Jesus did and that is what we will do if Jesus is the life that is in us.

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