Mathew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” It is necessary to explain why peace is needed before one can understand the job of a peacemaker. Sin separated us from a Holy God. However, Romans 5:1 reminds us that the work of Jesus Christ on the cross made reconciliation with God possible. The blood of Jesus allows us to be at peace with God the Father. Since I have been reconciled to the Father and I am at peace with Him, I am now called to bring that same peace to others (2 Corinthians 5:18). Simply put, being a peacemaker means that I bring the good news of salvation to a dying and confused world. Peacemakers are reconcilers. They pray with great fervency for revival to break out in the land and for the hearts of people to be turned to God.
Peacemakers will often offend those who are in sin because they speak the truth of God’s word. That truth is sharp and powerful and goes straight to the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Those who choose to continue in sin will never receive the peacemakers. However, rejected truth is still true!
There is so much chaos going on in the world and the root of it all is sin. Well-meaning individuals employ different strategies to accomplish world peace. However, world peace can NEVER happen through human plans, it can only be accomplished through the blood of Jesus. Good actions and legislations cannot bring lasting peace, only an acceptance of the finished work of Christ on the cross can do that. Rejecting Jesus is rejecting peace. Afterall, He is called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6.
Oh, that the church will arise and embrace the call to be peacemakers!
I love the promise in Mathew 5:8 that the pure in heart will see God. This seeing is not limited to when we see Him face to face for all eternity. This seeing also refers to the connection, the closeness, the sense of intimacy with God that is gained when our hearts are pure. I love how Psalm 24:3-4 puts it, “ Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure.” When you have a pure heart, you see God so clearly. He reveals His truth to you when you are studying His word. Purity of heart opens the door for you to sit at the table as a member of the family and feast on the bread of life. He floods you with His presence and you “see” Him show up on your behalf and shower you with mercy and grace. It’s also worth mentioning that trouble and difficulty are tools that God uses to bring our hearts to a place of purity. The fire of difficulties serves as a spiritual detox. Impurities rise to the surface in the fire, and we are able to be purified. I encourage you not to shun the idea of difficulty because it gives you clearer vision to see God.
Mathew 5:8 states, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
When we think of purity we think of something without blemish. However, purity of heart is not about being perfect, it is about being consistent and sincere in my pursuit of the one who will continue the work of perfecting me until the day of His return (Philippians 1:6). This was a hard truth for me to understand because I have a natural bent to please, especially those in authority. I recently had an ugly cry session with God and I was repenting and felt so broken over the wrong attitude that I had the previous day. I felt like I disappointed Him. God gently reminded me that my willingness to not make excuses or be comfortable with my sinful behavior the previous day is what makes my heart pure. I had to pause and really soak in such an affirming truth from my father. As long as we live in the flesh, the pure in heart will make mistakes BUT they are quick to humble themselves and repent of their sins. They are more grieved that they sinned against God and are not just sorry because of the consequences that follow. The pure in heart do not abuse the grace of God and use it as an excuse to keep on sinning. Instead, they use grace as a stepping stool to be delivered from sin.
Purity of heart speaks to inner purity. It’s a heart that is dedicated to God, one that seeks to please Him, a heart that is honest, and fully devoted to Him. A pure heart is one that says, “I don’t care what man thinks of me, I only want to please you, my allegiance is to you, and it is not divided.” Their constant song is that of the psalmist in Psalm 51:10, “create in me a clean heart and purify me.”
We must resist the temptation to be like the Pharisees who were more concerned about looking good on the outside. Jesus calls them out in Mathew 23:27 and tells them they are like whitewashed tombs-beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sort of impurity. He goes on to say in verse 28, “you try to look like upright people outwardly but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” OUCH! Jesus uses such language of disdain, but this lets us know how serious He is about us pursuing purity of heart.
Mathew 5:7 says, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” None of us are without guilt, not one. Romans 3:23 reminds us that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glorious standards. We have all done things that deserved the wrath of God, but His mercy rescues us. Mercy is simply withholding the punishment that is deserved. The passage in Mathew 5:7 reminds us that to get mercy from God, we must give it to others. This is nonnegotiable. The parable that Jesus told of the unforgiving debtor in Mathew 18:21-35 is a sobering reminder of this truth. It is quite prideful to come and ask God to show us mercy but deny those who have offended or hurt us of that same privilege. How hypocritical. We live in a fallen world, so we will get hurt by others and the temptation to withhold forgiveness and mercy is ever present. But the stakes are too high if we choose not to be merciful to others because to be in fellowship with God both now and later, we need His mercy!
Mathew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” True righteousness is not just about our acts, it is an inward reality. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees who did many righteous acts because they were hypocrites with impure motives. They did it to gain the recognition of man and wanted to be considered pious. Their righteousness was indeed like filthy rags. True righteousness comes from Christ alone. We are made righteous through our faith in Jesus. We must stay in a place of pursuing that righteousness that only Christ can give.
Hunger and thirst provoke me to action. When I am hungry or thirsty, getting something to eat and drink becomes a primary concern. Everything else becomes secondary in my quest to satisfy that desire for food and drink. When I am hungry and thirsty for righteousness, I have a deep desire for the more of God. I don’t make excuses for why I can’t pursue the one who makes me righteous. My hunger for the more of Him creates a desperation that causes me to hurdle over the excuses so that I can sit at His feet. He fills me and at the same time leaves me longing for more. I want to remain in that place of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, how about you?
Mathew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Gentleness and humility are synonymous with meekness. The meek don’t insist on their own rights, they are willing to put the needs of others before their own. Contrary to what culture may teach, meekness is not weakness, it is strength under control. Jesus is the epitome of meekness. As Jesus was being arrested before His crucifixion, one of His disciples tried to retaliate by cutting off the High Priest servant’s ear. Jesus rebuked this disciple who was trying to defend Him. He reminded his disciple that he could have easily asked his father to send thousands of angels to protect Him in that moment (Mathew 26:53). But Jesus chose not to. Isaiah 53:7 tells us of Jesus’ response to suffering for sins He did not commit. It says, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Even though He was innocent and did not deserve to die, Jesus was focused on our need for salvation. He was submitted to the will of the father, even to the point of death. That’s strength under control.
Verses like these sure make me pause,
Because let me tell you, I can write a book on how to insist on your own rights, be prideful, and how to defend yourself when others do you wrong. I really can. However, the word of God shows me what I should be, and I am so grateful for grace that makes it possible! I am praying to be meek, how about you?