9..24.14 4:50 am – Bed
Lord thank you for the clarity regarding the Beatitudes. Help me to organize and communicate better my thoughts.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Yesterday, I feel I was on to something with this Beatitude but was unable to get it out fully. I have spent the day reflecting and would spend today as well.
The first thing that comes to mind is that this Beatitude is not not a prescription for becoming a child of God. It does not say if you are a peacemaker you will be a child of God, but if you are a peacemaker you will be called a child of God. If it is looked at as prescriptive there is no room for grace, and Christianity becomes a works-based religion. I touched on this a little yesterday, but other areas took my focus. So I want to break this Beatitude down again, but I need to start with the second half.
For they will be called children on God: In yesterday’s post I think it was an accurate assessment that to be called a child of God is an expression of reflecting the Fathers will. The expression, “like father, like son” comes to mind. God will call us His children when he is pleased. When our actions reflect Him. It is the children who inherit the kingdom.
If this Beatitude isn’t prescriptive, how then do I become a child of God? The answer is given elsewhere:
- Yet to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. -John 1:12
- So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God, through faith -Galatians 3:26
- For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. –Romans 8:14-17
I think these passages make it clear that being a child of God is something that is only attainable through faith in Christ. The last says more about how I think the term “child of God” is used in this Beatitude. We, through faith in Christ are His heirs. But this isn’t a life of carefree bliss, just to go about doing what I want and asking for forgiveness later. This is a life of transformation by the Spirit!
- So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. -Galatians 5:16-18
How do I know if I am “walking in the Spirit”? I know by the expression of certain attributes. The fruits of the spirit:
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 22-23 (emphasis added)
Blessed are the peacemakers: I think it is clear that being a peacemaker isn’t something I do to become a child of God, it is something I do because I am already a child of God. It is something that can only be truly done through the transformative work of the Holy Spirit.
A peacemaker is someone who is actively attempting to make peace. Making peace is not a passive avoidance of conflict. It is actively confronting situations in attempts to resolve a conflict. I think I was clear on the last post about how my motivation for making peace is just as important as my action. If I make peace for my personal gain it is only self-righteousness. How then should I make peace?
- You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. -Galatians 5:13-15
The answer, throughout the Bible is clear. By loving my neighbor as myself. This includes a variety of actions; physical mental, and spiritual. It does not just involve making peace between ourselves and different people, but also making peace between people and God.
What unsettles me most is that the fruits of the Spirit, and the Beatitudes are aspects of God’s will, and I don’t always want to carry them out. I don’t always want to be a peacemaker, sometimes I just want to keep my head down and avoid conflict. But this is not what God wills and to live outside of God’s will, and put my will above His is sin. That doesn’t sound like I am truly walking in the Spirit. I need to change, I need the Holy Spirit to transform me, and I need to stop resisting Him.
Lord, thank you for shaking me on this devotion and waking me up to areas I may not have wanted to think about. I ask that you help me to live a Spirit filled life. To help me swallow my insecurities and be a peacemaker, to speak the Truth in love even if it does not make me popular among men. I pray that your will be done through me Lord. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!