it starts to get tougher here.
we’ve progressed now from seeing our spiritual poverty and seeing God change us, to action.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. NLT
alot of translations say “peacemakers”. i like that the NLT says work for peace. making things right takes work. notice it doesn’t talk about “keeping” peace. people who seek to keep peace are often doormats. they will do anything to keep the peace, but there is nothing inherent about making peace in that. there has to be reconciliation for true peace to exist. God made peace with us and we can choose to make peace with Him-
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 NASB
14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.
17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
so it is our “ministry” to be peacemakers.
ok, so this last one is often the hardest one for people to stomach.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. NLT
how many of us are “truly” persecuted. we here in America are blessed. we don’t see anywhere near the persecution of believers in Asia or Africa, so the question i would pose is this…are we doing right? have we progressed through the beatitudes where we would see persecution or are we living a content and comfortable life here in our neat little neighborhoods and cities?
Jesus closes this passage off with two verses that give instructions. so if we have built upon these ideas, this should be our response.
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be Happy about it! Be very Glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. NLT
again here we see that this mocking and lying and evil is probably not what most of us experience because we are not facing death and torture like the prophets. the question is are we willing to experience this? do we truly want to know the Lord this way? it’s a question i ask myself when i think about what it be like to lose all my “stuff”! am i more interested in my stuff or following hard after Jesus?