In the seventh Beatitude, Jesus showed that God has called us to be peacemakers, and He’s promised a reward that is beyond comprehension!
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” is the seventh of Jesus Christ’s Beatitudes (Matthew 5:9).
Being a peacemaker is not easy or simple. It requires many different godly characteristics working together.
Some of the character traits that we need to become peacemakers are being poor in spirit, mourning over sin and the suffering of others, being meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, showing mercy and being pure of heart.
In short, the ability to be a peacemaker is a summary of all the previous Beatitudes. Those who internalize all of these traits and become peacemakers will receive perhaps the greatest promise in the Bible!
Blessed are the peacemakers
The way people have used the term peacemaker is ironic, because they have often applied it to instruments of war and violence. Whether it’s the Colt Peacemaker that “won the West” or the B-36 bomber of the Cold War era, “peacemaker” often refers to a weapon designed to kill the enemy before he kills you.
This is far from God’s definition. God views a peacemaker as one who lives in such a way that he or she brings peace to others. A peacemaker doesn’t just prevent conflict, but works to bring about the highest good for others.
In order to help bring peace to others, it is essential that the peacemakers practice peace themselves. This peace is obtained by following the righteous law of God. “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Psalm 119:165). Listening to and obeying God gives us peace.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). Following God in a way that is pleasing to Him will bring peace in the long term.
One of the elements of God’s law that works to bring peace between people is His law for dealing with offenses. The letter of the law was “you shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), but during His ministry Jesus revealed the spirit of the law.
“But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:22-24; see more in our three-part blog series on “Conflict Resolution”).
Real peace doesn’t come with only human knowledge and effort. Both the Bible and the history books clearly show that man does not know the way to peace on his own (Romans 3:17). In order to find peace, we need help. True peace is a gift of God through His Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
We can receive this wonderful gift through sincere, faithful prayer. As Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
We are told to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). We must be actively working now to have peace in our actions (James 3:18). As Christians, it is our responsibility, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
For they shall be called sons of God
It is to such people that God makes the most precious promise: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
One of the defining characteristics of God is peace. He is the very author of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). He is identified throughout the Bible as “the God of peace” (Hebrews 13:20, for example). So it is fitting that peacemaking should also define His children.
The Bible reveals an incredible and awesome truth: We are created to become the very “sons and daughters” of God (2 Corinthians 6:18). The God of the universe has created you with the express intent of bringing you into His eternal family!
As incredible as that is, there is even more to the promise of being sons of God. The children of God will inherit “all things” (Hebrews 2:8). The peacemakers—those who internalize and live by the traits listed in the Beatitudes by bringing peace to others—will become children of God and reign as “kings and priests … on the earth” (Revelation 5:10).
We will be ruling along with Jesus Christ, who also has the title “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). The Kingdom that we rule will be defined by peace (Romans 14:17). For more on this incredible truth, read “Children of God.”
The way of man
Peace is the hope of millions around the world, but it is something that the human race has proven to be incapable of accomplishing.Peace is the hope of millions around the world, but it is something that the human race has proven to be incapable of accomplishing. Put bluntly, mankind does not know how to achieve peace (Isaiah 59:8). Without God, man cannot find the way to peace regardless of the latest treaties, technologies or philosophies.
Instead, man seems inevitably drawn to war (Psalm 120:6-7). So long as man refuses to follow God and instead follows his own carnal nature and Satan’s deception, then warfare will reign on the earth. War, like all conflict, starts with man’s various lusts and desires (James 4:1-2).
Conflict within a society can take many different forms—divorce, lawsuits, murders, political rivalries, etc.—but they all clearly illustrate a lack of peace.
What being a peacemaker looks like
It’s clear that God expects us to be peacemakers. Yet what does a peacemaker actually look like? What are some of the details that we need to know in order to make peace?
One of the most important things that a peacemaker can do is to seek peace. A peacemaker doesn’t sit around waiting for peace, but actively seeks it while avoiding the evil way that destroys such peace (Psalm 34:14). God’s people also cannot afford to seek peace selectively, but must “pursue peace with all people” (Hebrews 12:14).
In Genesis 13:8-12 we are given an excellent example of how to be a peacemaker. When conflict arose between the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of his nephew Lot, Abraham sought peace. Instead of standing on his rights as the elder and making demands, he peacefully approached Lot and willingly sacrificed by offering the better land to Lot so that there would be peace. Sometimes peace requires sacrifice. A peacemaker must be willing to suffer wrong (1 Corinthians 6:7).
Peacemakers also avoid and remove sources of conflict. These are often character flaws or sinful tendencies that we fight on a regular basis. One such flaw is the tendency to judge and condemn others, even when we’re guilty of the same sin (Matthew 7:1-5). Violence and hatred of others is also something that a true peacemaker will avoid (Matthew 5:43-48).
Peacemakers are also aware of the power of their words. They know that a quiet word can defuse a situation, while a loud, angry word can escalate the trouble (Proverbs 15:1).
One of the greatest tools that a peacemaker has is forgiveness. If we can forgive someone for doing us wrong, then peace is always possible.
Being a peacemaker is a challenging task that requires successful application of the other Beatitudes. Together, all of these character traits distinguish a Christian and prepare us to deal with what Jesus highlighted in the next Beatitude, persecution.
Learn more about being a peacemaker in our article “The Way of Peace.”