President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Jong Un recently met in Singapore to discuss peace. The Korean war did not end in a peace treaty. It simply ended in a cease fire. Almost six million American soldiers served in the Korean theater. The numbers are staggering. America lost 36,000 dead in the war. South Korea lost 415,000 people. The North Koreans and the Chinese lost 1,500,000 dead.
Almost every person has a deep desire for peace. Unfortunately, our world is filled with fighting and violence. Historians estimate that from the time of Christ there have been 15,000 wars. In these 15,000 wars some 3.64 billion people have died.
We live in a very violent world. Conflicts and fighting occur on every possible level. We see it in the burgeoning crime in our valley. It’s seen in the recent school shootings. Even in our athletic contests we see conflict between the NFL owners and the players. We even see violence on the personal level. The most dangerous call for law enforcement is for domestic violence.
The greatest need we face today is for peace. Thankfully, Jesus made an amazing statement in Matthew 5:9. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” What did Jesus mean by this statement? How can we experience true peace?
Sometimes we need to clear away the rubble to understand the truth. Jesus did not mean that all conflict is wrong. Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). We must stand for what is right. Jesus did not mean that self defense is wrong. The Old Testament taught the importance of self defense.
Jesus did not mean that war is always wrong and Christians must be pacifists. Turning the other cheek is a reference not to war but how to respond to a personal insult. Jesus did not teach appeasement.
What did Jesus mean when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers….”? Lying beneath the surface of this beatitude is a terrible reality. We need peacemakers because our basic nature is one of conflict. Our sinful nature expresses itself in two ways. First, in conflict with God. Second, in conflict with our fellow human beings.
The Bible is clear. Every person has declared war on God. When we sin we declare war on God. Romans 5:6 and 8 say, “For while we were still enemies, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly….but God shows His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We are described as enemies, ungodly and sinners. James 4:4 says, “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” We are separated from God by our sin.
We also declare war on our fellow human beings. No one had to teach me to steal or to curse or to hate. If you doubt our basic sinfulness, go to the church nursery and watch two cute adorable babies battle over what? A plastic toy with slobber all over it!
Peace is possible for two reasons. The first reason is God’s nature. By nature God is a God of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says that God is not a God of confusion but of peace. Jesus is described in Isaiah 9:6 as “the Prince of Peace.”
The second reason peace is possible is because of God’s mission. Jesus came on the greatest mission of peace. Jesus died on the cross. The warfare is ended for those in Christ Jesus. The Father’s wrath is satisfied in the death of His Son. The penalty for our sin was placed upon Jesus.
A Christian is adopted into God’s family. When we turn from our sin (repentance) and turn to the Lord Jesus (faith) we are adopted into God’s family. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). A Christian experiences peace on two levels. Vertically, with God and this enables peace on a horizontal level with our fellow human being.
The Civil War was America’s most tragic war. America lost more men killed in the Civil War than in all of our other wars combined. A popular song at that time was titled, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” The song expressed the longing for peace and a safe return of fathers and sons. Won’t you come marching home today to the arms of the Lord Jesus? Come home today to the peace that only He offers!
Pastor Ethan Hansen
Faith Bible Fellowship
Big Lake, AK