(originally posted 9/21/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matt 5:9). Jesus also said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34); also recorded in Luke 12:51 as, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Then, upon His departure from earth Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27).
How can Jesus say blessed are the peacemakers and that He leaves us His peace, yet also say that He Himself did not come to bring peace? How can Jesus seemingly contradict Himself? He can’t, and I covered the issue of seeming Biblical contradictions in this series HERE. If you read that series, then you understand that the Bible cannot contradict Itself, and the fact that a scripture is not understood by a reader does not make it a contradiction. So how do we reconcile these seeming contradictory scriptures? We reconcile them the same way we reconcile all seeming Biblical contradictions, we let the Bible speak for Itself through contextual application and correct word understanding.
When Jesus said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword or division, He was talking about the effects of the Gospel message. The Gospel is divisive, because you either accept it or you don’t. And those who don’t, are against those who do. Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:19). Therefore, even though the Gospel message brings peace to those who receive it, it also brings division from those who reject it. Those who receive it are divided from and are at spiritual enmity with those who don’t receive it.
When Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers”, He was talking about those who share and stand up for the Gospel message. How do I know this? Because He says peacemakers will be called the “children of God.” And when you read the Bible, you find out that the Bible tells you exactly who the children of God are, and how they come to be considered God’s children:
— “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14)
— “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12,13)
The children of God are those who have accepted Jesus Christ. So what does Jesus mean when He says that we are to be peacemakers? What sort of peace is He referring to us making? Fortunately, the Bible tells us that too:
— “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” (Rom 5:1)
— “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross;” (Col 1:20)
When Jesus says “blessed are the peacemakers”, He is referring to those who share the Gospel message. Peacemakers are the children of God because we share the message of the reconciliation of men with God through the death and atoning blood of Jesus Christ. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Rom 5:11). This verse says that before Christ, we were enemies of God, we were not at peace with Him. But through the death of Christ, we were reconciled back to God, the death of Christ is the peacemaker between us and God. We become peacemakers when we share this message of reconciliation with others.
As Christians, we should strive for peace with all men because it is one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit that dwells within all genuine Christians, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22,23). But we are also to stand up for the truth of the Gospel and defend righteousness, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 10:33). We deny Christ when we go out of our way not to offend someone based on religion. In our effort not to offend anyone, we fail to confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Peacemakers are blessed and called the children of God, not because we don’t offend anyone, but because we stand up for the Gospel of Truth. We stand up for true peace, which is the reconciliation of mankind back unto God through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27), we must pay particular attention to the fact that He says, “I do not give to you as the world gives.” That is what tells us what sort of “peace” Jesus is talking about in this verse. So if Jesus says that He isn’t giving us peace as defined by the world, then what sort of peace is He leaving and what sort of peace is He giving? He LEFT us the Gospel of Peace, the Good News of reconciliation between God and man, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:15). He GAVE us the peace of God: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7).
We know that Jesus said He didn’t come to bring peace, but He did say He would leave us peace and give us peace.