Meditate on This! (3-25)
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Mt. 5:9)
I don’t know if any issue dominated more discussion in Paul’s letters than whether the diverse groups that made up the early church could truly come together, commune together, and work together despite their differences. No suspicions. No side eyes during worship. No separation or segregation into factions. We’re talking genuine communion, common goals, common grace, and common life because of our common Lord.
During this time of year when we commemorate and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection, it’s critical to remember that the work of Jesus on the cross is peacemaking, barrier busting, fence obliterating, wall-destroying work. Through the cross, sin, death and all the obstacles and impediments that get in the way of our relationship with God are removed.
Yet if we stop there, with restored relationship with God, then we’ve missed half of the story. Paul tells us that on the cross, Jesus also facilitates reconciliation and makes peace by destroying the “dividing wall of hostility” between people (Eph. 2:14). Where Jew/Gentile distinctions once divided, the cross creates a new humanity where all have equal access to God. In the place of separation due to gender or socio-economic status, we find a new oneness in Christ (Gal. 3:28).
As Christ followers, If we understand these implications of the cross, then we also must embrace that we cannot simply be content to receive his peace. We must be active in promoting peace. The blessed life, the life that shows us to be true children of God displaying the character of God, is the peacemaking life. Peacemaking is active, not passive. It aims at breaking down barriers and building bridges. Peacemaking involves working against injustice and for the flourishing of others. Peacemaking forgoes revenge and instead seeks reconciliation.