Beatitudes 46: Peace 8

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

This will be the last issue on the Beatitudes. However, as you reflect on the beauty and wonder of the Beatitudes, surely it is clear that there is much more that could be said. These wonderful words of Christ are simply full of wisdom, glory and truth. These truths run throughout the Scriptures and can be seen and applied at virtually any point. This week we will primarily look at what it means to be called a son of God. While it may be thought to be a minor thing to be called a son of God, this is something that the Scripture sets out as amazing.

This aspect of blessedness is actually part of the blessing of the other beatitudes as well. To be a son of God is indeed to have the kingdom of God in us. To be a son of God is to be comforted by God and to inherit the earth. To be a son of God is to be satisfied with Him, to receive mercy from Him and to see God. In one sense all of the blessings of the Beatitudes cannot be separated, but in another sense they all flow from being a son of God. We will look at several verses in an effort to draw out just a little of the blessing it is to be a child of God and to encourage us all to be peacemakers in the true sense so as to glorify our Father and see others as His children.

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1). While the world can read or hear this verse with barely a motion of the heart or mind, John did not write it that way and it should not impact the children of God that way. There is a great love bestowed on all who are the children of God because they are children of God. The children of God did not deserve to be His children, but instead this love was bestowed on them. In other words, these children of God have had love poured out on and in them by grace. Those who are true peacemakers, and not just those who run around doing something called evangelism, are those who have the love of God in their souls and have had it bestowed on them by grace. They are truly blessed people.

“By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). This text points us to the alternative of being a child of God. It is to be a child of the devil. How blessed, then, are the children of God because they are no longer children of the devil. The child of God is blessed in many ways, but to be freed from the devil is to be freed from the kingdom of darkness and the bondage to sin and from eternity in hell which is the eternal home of the devil and all of his children. The love of the Father (from I John 3:1) is seen in an ever brighter light when it is compared to the hatred that the evil one has for his children.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13). All who are children of God have been given this right or authority. Where did that come from? It came from God and they were born of the will of God and not their own. That shows that this is of grace and only of grace. To be called a child of God in truth is to be a true child of God which means that one is born of His Word and of the Spirit (John 3:5-8; I Peter 1:23-25). When one is born in the world one is born dead in sins and trespasses and children of wrath and the devil. When the Spirit works in and through the Word a person is born with life and holiness and is now a child of love and of God. That is true blessedness.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:14-17). This text shows another beautiful part of the blessedness of being a child of God. It is to be led by the Spirit of God. The children of the devil are in bondage to the devil and are led by him to sin in all that they do. The children of God are led by the Spirit of God who is the Holy Spirit and He leads His children into true freedom. Those who are free in this way are heirs with Christ instead of heirs with devil of eternal torment. The blessedness of being a peacemaker by being a child of God should be evident at this point. If we could only see with spiritual eyes we could see how blessed it is to be led by the Spirit and to be an heir with Christ. Such the children of God have and are.

“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18). Here is another glorious blessing of being a child of God and therefore a true peacemaker. God Himself is their Father. Not only is He a Father, He is all that a Father should be. He is the Lord Almighty and He is the perfect Father. He becomes the true provider and the true protector of His children. When a believer is a true peacemaker, that believer goes out in his or her duties as a peacemaker knowing that he or she has Almighty God as a Father to watch over and protect him or her. It is not that the Lord will make everything go perfect in the human sense of the word, but that all that happens comes though the perfect love of the Father.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26). The true peacemaker knows how he or she came to be a son of God. It is through faith in Christ Jesus. Christ is the true Son of God and all who come to the Father come through Him by faith alone. The true peacemaker is blessed in that he or she has stopped all works to be accepted by God but now rests in Christ alone. In Christ, who is the perfect Son, one has union with Him and all the blessings of God in Him. The true peacemaker knows the blessing of being accepted as a Son on the basis of Christ. No one has the right to be a child of God based on anything but the work of Christ and the application of the work of Christ by the Spirit. Another way to put the same thought is Romans 5:1: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” One must be declared just by God on the basis of faith in Christ to have peace with God. The true peacemaker is one that has peace with God through Christ and has that same message. It is the only way to the Father. But the peacemaker knows what it means to have peace with God based on justification by faith alone in Christ and so is blessed.

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6). Here we see the beauty of the New Covenant. In that New Covenant all who are justified by God have the Spirit of the Son in their hearts. They are not left to work their way into heaven or even part of the way. They are not left after justification to a system of works and self-effort for sanctification. But instead they have the life of God in their souls and they live by grace each and every moment. It is God who is at work in them to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13). The Spirit is the one who is crying out “Father” which is one aspect of the testimony of the Spirit in the believer. Those were the same words that Christ used to refer to the Father and He is working that in the other children of God as well. This is true blessedness.

We must learn from this that there is no peace in us or others without the grace of God in Christ. We must learn that only those who teach peace through Christ and His cross by grace alone as taught in Scripture are true peacemakers. Anyone who teaches a peace with God apart from Christ and His cross by grace alone is a false preacher, a deceiver and a liar. They are the ones running around crying out peace, peace, when there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10-16). There may be many with false theology telling us many things, but the true peacemaker is ready to go to war for there to be true peace. God has used strong and blunt men like Martin Luther and John Knox who were more concerned with truth than civility to build His Church on the foundation of Christ. It matters little what one’s external theology is if one is not willing to stand firmly for the Gospel and the true way of peace. It would then be a theology of straw. There are those who are more concerned with outward niceness than with the edges of the truth and they will never be used for true revival and reformation until they repent. The Gospel has an edge to it and it is always edgy and offensive to those who deny it whether they are admitted unbelievers or not.

True peace with God is a fruit of the Spirit and is not natural to a fallen nature. Human beings want peace on their terms and their own ways. All false gospels make salvation too easy, though some make it with many hard works. But this is a fruit of the Spirit and cannot be obtained by any work or works. True peacemakers realize their helplessness to be peacemakers and instead plead with God to do the work through them because there is no peace anywhere without Christ. The peacemaker realizes that the messages of sin and of repentance and even of justification by grace alone are hard truths. This means that this person will be persecuted. We are promised persecution and also blessings from that as well. The true peacemaker must cease from his sinful self-interest and pursue true peace at the expense of peace with men and religious groups. It is a great sin to be at war with God for honor in seeking peace with men rather than seeking peace with God. To be a true peacemaker requires us to be men and women to be tender of heart while using the sword of the Spirit and enduring hostility from the world and religious people alike. It is being a child of God and it is to be very blessed.

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