Matthew 5:9

Setting and Overview
Matthew 5:9 bring us to the second to last Beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” It is helpful that is placed here as it builds upon the previous six Beatitudes. While making peace doesn’t encompass everything that the previous six exhort, it does require us to faithfully exhibit all of those characteristics.
 
Exposition
The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, is used frequently throughout the Old Testament. While our understanding of peace focuses on what is absent, shalom reflects completeness and soundness. That includes the absence of conflict, but it doesn’t stop there. Peace in the Old Testament reflects perfection (Isaiah 26:3), righteousness (Malachi 2:5-6), God’s sovereignty (Isaiah 9:6), and permanent deliverance (Isaiah 52:7). In New Testament, peace is seen as a gift from Jesus Christ (John 14:27) and a powerful force that guards and protects (Philippians 4:7, Colossian 3:15.) It is announced as a blessing when Jesus appears to the disciples after His resurrection (Luke 24:36 and John 20:19), and often by Paul to introduce his letters (I Corinthians 1:3 and others.)
This Beatitude, however, calls us to not just pursue or keep peace, but rather to make peace. Scripture makes it clear that it is God who ultimately makes peace, as He did by destroying the barrier and hostility between nations to reconcile people to each other (Ephesians 2:14-15), and by destroying reconciling mankind to Himself through the blood of His cross (Ephesians 2:16-18, Colossians 1:19-22.) We are called then to also seek overcome hostility and division to bring people together and to help people grow closer to God. James 3:17-18 provides a picture for us of peacemakers, which is then detailed elsewhere in exhortations to promote unity (Romans 14:17-19), to disciple and discipline (Hebrews 12:11-16), and to evangelize (Romans 12:17-19, II Timothy 2:22-25.) Being a peacemaker does not simply mean to just avoid conflict or even to occasionally create peace, but rather to consistently and deliberately seek to bring people closer together and closer to God.
Since God is the ultimate peacemaker, then it follows that Jesus would declare that those who make peace who be declared to reflect His character. While some versions translate the second part of the verse as “children of God,” the original Greek is “sons of God,” which was a declaration not simply of a family relationship, but more so of a reflection of character (Deuteronomy 14:1-2.)
 
Examination and Application

If we are to be peacemakers, then we cannot also be creating unnecessary division and discord. In an age where we have access to so much information and so many ways to communicate with large groups of people, we are unfortunately given many opportunities to do so. As Christians, we are instructed to begin with adhering firmly to the truth (Colossians 3:8-9), to not overstep the boundaries of how or when we are critical of others (James 4:11, 5:9, Romans 14:10, Matthew 7:1-2), avoid destructive language (Colossians 3:8, 4:6, Ephesians 4:29), and make sure that we are seeking opportunities where we can help (Ephesians 4:29) and not create more discord (II Corinthians 12:20.) That, however, is just the beginning. To truly be peacemakers, we must be diligent to seek opportunities to evangelize (I Peter 3:15-16), reconcile (Philippians 2:2, 4:2-3), disciple (Ephesians 4:12-13, 29), and worship (Colossians 3:16.) If we are committed to faithfully doing those things at every opportunity, then we can indeed be makers of peace.
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