Sunday, December 4, 2011
By Alfredo Fisicaro, Chile
The blessing pronounced upon the peacemakers is one of the most beautiful expressions that God has given to His children in His word. We will briefly analyze this phrase containing a great blessing for everyone who will put this truth into practice.
The word “blessed” is defined as a synonym for fortunate, glad, happy. In this case it is applicable to “the peacemakers.” The word “peacemaker” comes from the Greek word eirênopoiós, which is made up of two words–eirêné (peace) and poiéô (make)–or, in other words, “make peace.” Let us remember that the word “peace” in Hebrew is shalom, a word used by brethren as a fraternal greeting as they leave the church, especially on Sabbath. The word “peace” has nothing to do with the absence of war but means everything that contributes to man’s well being. In the East, when someone greets a person with “Peace,” he is wishing him not the absence of problems or difficulties but the enjoyment of all good things. Good things are generally thought of
as material goods or worldly honors, but here the phrase does not mean this.
“The people had come to think that happiness consisted in the possession of the things of this world, and that fame and the honor of men were much to be coveted. It was very pleasing to be
called ‘Rabbi,’ and to be extolled as wise and religious, having their virtues paraded before the public. This was regarded as the crown of happiness. But in the presence of that vast
throng, Jesus declared that earthly gain and honor were all the reward such persons would ever receive.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 305.
True peace through Christ’s grace
In general, this earth’s inhabitants search for peace through economic stability, international treaties, union of churches, and other means, but rarely through the unique way provided by Heaven to receive this great gift. To change the world, the countries have to change. For the countries to change, the families that compose them must change. For the families to change, each member
must change; and for each person to change, there must be a change of heart. “Men cannot manufacture peace. Human plans for the purification and uplifting of individuals or of society will fail of producing peace, because they do not reach the heart. The only power that can create or perpetuate true peace is the grace of Christ. When this is implanted in the heart, it will cast out the evil passions that cause strife and dissension. ‘Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;’ and life’s desert ‘shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.’… The peace of Christ is born of truth. It is harmony with God. The world is at enmity with the law of God; sinners are at enmity with their Maker; and as a result they are at enmity with one another.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 305.
That is why the sinner’s most urgent need is to accept Christ as his Saviour and Lord of his life, enter into a harmonious relationship with God through Jesus, and receive sweet heavenly peace for his soul. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1.
It is necessary for good to gain the victory over evil in the inner life so the soul will be converted by having the heart given wholly to the Lord. But this is not the end. The life of the peacemaker is just the beginning. It is necessary for the grace of Christ to remain implanted in the heart day after day, year after year, so the soul will be converted every day to the Lord and thus grow in grace, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 12:14.
“Christ is ‘the Prince of Peace,’ and it is His mission to restore to earth and heaven the peace that sin has broken…. Whoever consents to renounce sin and open his heart to the love of Christ, becomes a partaker of this heavenly peace. There is no other ground of peace than this. The grace of Christ received into the heart, subdues enmity; it allays strife and fills the soul with love. He who is at peace with God and his fellow men cannot be made miserable. Envy will not be in his heart; evil surmisings will find no room there; hatred cannot exist. The heart that is in harmony with God is a partaker of the peace of heaven and will diffuse its blessed influence on all around. The spirit of peace will rest like dew upon hearts weary and troubled with worldly strife.”
–Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 27, 28.
Effects and needs of the believer
The result of living in Christ will be bountiful fruits revealed particularly to those who are closest to us. Family members will be the first to witness this conversion and peacemaking. If the members of a family are not converted and do not have a healthy dayto-day spiritual life, they will not be able to be a good example to others. Each church member needs to overcome through the grace of Christ in his spiritual life. When this happens to each individual member of the Christian family, it will result in unity and a family that will radiate a strong influence wherever it is. Such converted families build strong churches, showing to those who are wandering in darkness the Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, by their practical example. Then the
church can accomplish its sacred mission to be the light and salt of the world. The Lord Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
Very negative situations are found in all societies and churches, and the church is no exception. There are members who call themselves Christians although their lives are far from being such. In their words and behavior, they show that they are far from Christ. Their lips are a tempestuous fire. They are surrounded by an influence saturated with problems, bitterness, frustration, and conflict. No matter where they live, they will always be involved in strife, stirring up and irritating others. When they speak, it seems that they cannot be quiet without offending, attacking, or hurting even those who are considered their closest friends. Sometimes they behave with arrogance and provocation. They cannot live in peace. They are irascible and often offended. They are very sensitive to what others say while they are totally insensitive in their own use of words; they have a perfect memory of what others may have done to them and virtually none about what they have done to others. There are persons who manifest such a discontented, murmuring spirit concerning many things that happen to them that they cannot reveal the light of the Sun of Righteousness shining in their everyday life. Instead, they live in the gloom of this world, discontented and making life difficult for themselves and those around them. They testify that serving the Lord is a heavy load, giving the impression that if they could get rid of Christ’s yoke they would do so. Instead of making peace, which is God’s work, they do the biddings of the enemy.
To such I would like to say that there is hope in Jesus; it is not just possible but imperative that we live authentic Christianity in the Lord. When one is far from Him, life is difficult and the trumpet will give an uncertain sound. “In every act of life Christians should seek to represent Christ-seek to make His service appear attractive.
Let none make religion repulsive by groans and sighs and a relation of their trials, their self-denials, and sacrifices. Do not give the lie to your profession of faith by impatience, fretfulness, and repining. Let the graces of the Spirit be manifested in kindness, meekness, forbearance, cheerfulness, and love. Let it be seen that the love of Christ is an abiding motive; that your religion is not a dress to be put off and on to suit circumstances, but a principle–calm, steady, unwavering. Alas that pride, unbelief, and selfishness, like a foul cancer, are eating out vital godliness from the
heart of many a professed Christian!” –That I May Know Him, p. 167.
We need the Lord Jesus Christ urgently in our lives. We need to be born again. We need to give our lives to Christ so we can live to the full a fruitful, abundant, and healthy Christian life through the working of the Holy Spirit. “Christ’s followers are sent to the world with the message of peace. Whoever, by the quiet, unconscious influence of a holy life, shall reveal the love of Christ; whoever, by word or deed, shall lead another to renounce sin and yield his heart to God, is a peacemaker.
And ‘blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.’ The spirit of peace is evidence of their connection with heaven. The sweet savor of Christ surrounds them. The fragrance of the life, the loveliness of the character, reveal to the world the fact that they are children of God. Men take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus. ‘Everyone that loveth is born of God.’ ‘If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His;’ but ‘as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’ 1 John 4:7; Romans 8:9, 14.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 28.
“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.” Micah 5:7.
Blessing upon those who make peace
Jesus’ words express a blessing for the peacemakers, or those who restore calm, but not for those who only love peace. There is a big difference between loving peace and being a peacemaker.
We need to love peace in the correct way to become a peacemaker. For example, if there is a dangerous situation and one assumes a self-defensive attitude, doing nothing to do achieve peace, there is no peacemaking but a gathering up of problems for the future; situations are not made better, and appropriate measures are not taken. The peace about which God’s Word speaks and which is called a blessing resolves difficulties, instead of avoiding them. True peace is proactive, facing situations and “making peace,” standing courageously when there is a conflict.
There was a man among the people of Israel who was blessed and protected by David’s men while they were staying in Carmel, a place near the city of Maon in Judah. When these men asked for his help with their food, their request was refused by this man–Nabal, whose name meant “fool.”
David could have taken directly what he needed, but his request was made with honor and respect. We find this story in 1 Samuel 25. Nabal did not recognize David’s kindness, and he refused to help, answering with denial and disrespect. David was indignant, and he reacted by planning to go and kill Nabal and all the men of his household.
Now a woman peacemaker took action. Having been told about the situation by one of her servants, and without consulting with her husband, Nabal’s wife took two hundred loaves, two bottles of wine, five sheep ready dressed, five measures of parched corn, a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, put everything on donkeys, and quickly rode to meet David. Abigail approached David with reverence suitable for a king. “With kind words she sought to soothe his irritated feelings, and she pleaded with him in behalf of her husband. With nothing of ostentation or pride, but full of the wisdom and love of God, Abigail revealed the strength of her devotion to her household; and she made it plain to David that the unkind course of her husband was in no wise premeditated against him as a personal affront, but was simply the outburst of an unhappy and selfish nature.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 666.
She pleaded for the lives of her husband and her household. She asked for forgiveness as if she herself had committed the sin, not her husband. She offered what her husband had refused. “These words could have come only from the lips of one who had partaken of the wisdom from above. The piety of Abigail, like the fragrance of a flower, breathed out all unconsciously in face and word and action. The Spirit of the Son of God was abiding in her soul. Her speech, seasoned with grace, and full of kindness and peace, shed a heavenly influence. Better impulses came to David, and he trembled as he thought what might have been the consequences of his rash purpose. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.’ Matthew 5:9.
Would that there were many more like this woman of Israel, who would soothe the irritated feelings, prevent rash impulses, and quell great evils by words of calm and well-directed wisdom.
“A consecrated Christian life is ever shedding light and comfort and peace. It is characterized by purity, tact, simplicity, and usefulness. It is controlled by that unselfish love that sanctifies the influence. It is full of Christ, and leaves a track of light wherever its possessor may go.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 667.
“Deal gently with human beings. With hearts full of spiritual tenderness, melt your way into convicted hearts. Let your words be dipped in the heavenly oil from the two olive branches. We need the golden oil emptied into prepared vessels, that it may be communicated to those who are seeking for the truth. Ever remember that it is ‘not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith
the Lord of hosts.’ (Letter 200, 1899)…
“For Christ’s sake do not speak or think evil. May the Lord help us not only to read the Bible, but to practice its teachings. The human agent who is faithful in his work, who unites gentleness with his power, justice with his love, causes rejoicing among the heavenly intelligences, and glorifies God. Let us strive earnestly to be good and to do good, and we shall receive the crown of life that fadeth not away.” –(MS 116, 1898) Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, pp. 440, 439.
May the Lord give us His divine care so we will be men and women who not only love peace but “make peace.” Amen.