“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.”
This is Matthew 5:9 and is the passage of scripture I’ve had in mind since beginning this particular study on peace. I have been certain that I must understand exactly what peace is before I can make it and now, after gaining a greater understanding of the peace of God, I want to take a look at this scripture.
First, a brief recap on just what is the peace of God. It is not the absence of something. The way the world looks at peace is it exists as long as there is no open conflict and this conflict can mean anything from verbal disagreements to open warfare. I have seen this is not the case in the peace that comes from God. His peace is a facet of His life and becomes a way we live. It does not depend on circumstances and, in fact, His peace is all the more real in the midst of conflict. Peace is an aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit and the peace of God grows in us and flows out of us more and more as we understand who we are in Jesus Christ and who He is in us by the Indwelling of His Spirit.
As I studied the Hebrew letters comprising the word for peace (shalom), I was struck at the relation to the heart. The letter Lamed is the middle letter of shalom and is the tallest of the Hebrew letters. It is the only one that ascends above the line and I learned this extending upward symbolizes the aspiration of the heart. The first letter of the Hebrew word for heart (Leb) is the Lamed and Lamed has to do with what the heart longs for: to rise up, to elevate, and to connect to God.1 The third letter of shalom is the Mem and, while studying the Mem, I found another reference to the heart. In his book, Mr. Bentorah writes the Mem represents a broken heart. The little break in the left hand corner of the letter Mem shows us a picture of our hearts as vessels filled with pain and suffering but with a little hole in the corner where all that pain and suffering can pour out so God Himself can refill the heart with His love and presence.2
I do want to devote more study specifically to the heart but wish to stay focused on peace for the sake of this current study. Reading these references to the heart reminded me of two scriptures. The first is Isaiah 26:3 and I’m quoting it out of the Amplified Bible: “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.” The second is Colossians 3:15 and, again from the Amplified: “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live].”
I see in these two scriptures both the absolute truth of God’s statement in my study passage-“I make peace”-and how we are peacemakers. The peace is not ours in the sense that we have anything to do with making it. God Himself is the source of it, it belongs exclusively to Him, and He freely gives it to us. We are not passive recipients. We keep our minds stayed-and other translations have fixed-on Him and I do like all the verbs listed in the Amplified: commit, lean, and hope. We also let His peace rule in our hearts. The English word ‘let’ in this passage amuses me because it sounds so easy. We just simply let His peace rule. I don’t know about you but the “letting” is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do, especially when I am in a situation where I am being verbally and emotionally attacked. When I am faced with being-by necessity-in close proximity to someone who is dismissive, belittling, and patronizing, the most difficult thing for me to do is “let” His peace rule. I have to constantly remind myself that all I am in Christ and all He is to me is also His desire for that person. I have to remind myself of their identity, choose to see them as one beloved of the Lord, and one for whom Jesus is actively seeking.
We say the words “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” every time we quote the Lord’s Prayer and I wonder how often we take time to consider what that means. I know Jesus Christ. I know my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I know this is true because the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation has opened the eyes of my heart to see this reality. That’s it. I don’t know it because I have studied hard and learned it although I learn more and more what exactly my inheritance in Jesus is through study so will not ever disparage study! My point is I am not who I am in Christ Jesus because I’m special. I do choose to respond to what He has shown and continues to show me. I fix my heart and mind on Him and choose to keep my attention there no matter how I am treated or what I might experience. This keeping of my focus on Jesus Christ can be a battle but I can do all things through Christ who infuses His strength to mine (Philippians 4:13) and His Spirit in me is my strength.
It is so very difficult to explain this Christian life. I choose but can only choose what He has revealed to me. I commit myself but can only do so because His Spirit strengthens me. It is me but it’s also Him. It is a we and us but I am not disappearing into Him. I’m aware of constantly aligning my will and thoughts and decisions with His. There really is no better description that “I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in (of) the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
This is how we make peace. The Strong’s Concordance gives the Greek word translated “peacemakers” in Matthew 5:9 as eirenopoios. The word is a compound word and can be broken down into eirene-peace- and poieo. It takes a veritable paragraph to define poieo. The main definition is “to make or do” but then there is a list of words which all seek to fully explain its meaning. The very first is “abide” and I am immediately taken to the upper room where Jesus is explaining the life that was about to be the disciples’ life and is our life now. “Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself (and let us not forget Peace is part of that fruit!) unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
“I make peace,” God declares through His prophet. My study of Isaiah 45:7 has shown me how true that is. I won’t repeat my study on the word “make” but I do not think I am wrong when I say He is peace and, through the workings and processing’s and chastising’s and corrections; makes the peace He is a reality in us. His is the strength enabling us to keep ourselves in Him. We abide in Him, and His peace flows out of us like a never ending stream to the world around us. Truly we are blessed to be peacemakers because we will be recognized as sons of God! (Weymouth New Testament).
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures are quoted from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
- Bentorah, Chaim, Hebrew Word Study: Beyond the Lexicon, Trafford Publishing, USA, 2014, Pages 119-120
The Amplified Bible, Expanded Edition, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Lockman Foundation, 1954,1987
Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990