By Larry R. Houchen
The young generation today often displays a “peace sign” by forming a V-shape with the index finger and the third finger. Although this sign to them is a symbol for making peace, this article is concerned with the making of peace with God.
In the seventh beatitude of Christ’s sermon on the mountain, our Lord said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). If we can determine what Christ meant when he utilized the term “peacemaker,” then perhaps we can better understand what it means to make peace with God.
The inspired writer, Matthew, penned these words immediately prior to the text of the beatitudes, “And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people” (Matt. 4:23). This passage seems to imply that everything Christ taught pointed to his kingdom that was soon to come. If the immediate text said that Christ “proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom,” then it would seem to necessarily follow that the sermon which was preached on the mountain pointed to His kingdom.
Let us now examine a passage which immediately follows the sermon on the mountain. Matthew recorded in 7:28, “The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching.” The sermon, then, is called a “teaching,” or a “doctrine” as some translations render it. Therefore, if Christ was proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom in all Galilee and his remarks in his sermon are referred to as a teaching, was not our Lord referring to making peace with God in using the term “peacemaker”?
Paul says in Romans 10:15, “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, `How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things.’ ” Acts 10:36 defines the “glad tidings” in Romans: “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ.”
Thus far, it can be seen then, that the peacemaker is the peace preacher – the disciple of Christ. Examine now, the passage of Eph. 2:14-18. Verse 14 tells us that Christ is our peace, who broke down the barrier which had existed between Jew and Gentile. The next verse teaches that when Christ established the possibility for both Jew and Gentile to become one new man, in so doing he established peace. Verse 17 says that Christ preached peace to both those who were far away and to those who were near.
Making peace with God, then, means that all who are disciples of Christ must assume the responsibility of being peace preachers. We must concern ourselves with the lost condition of the world and attempt to convert as many souls as possible during our lifetime-so making peace with God.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:21, pp. 12-13
March 24, 1974