“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” How many are there who are truly desirous of being blessed, who would not only hear but do the words of Christ? Those who will not rely upon themselves, but who will put their trust in a power out of and above themselves, will be enabled to become doers of the words of Christ. Those who have glimpses of the perfection of Christ‘s character, will be filled with a longing to become like him. They will desire to be peacemakers and to receive the blessing he has promised to the peacemakers.
If the grace of Christ is abiding in the soul, we shall have the mind of Christ. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus.”
If the mind which was also in Christ Jesus be in you, you will practice the lessons of Christ, and because you appreciate his great mercy and love, you will be peacemakers. You will look to Jesus, and will draw nourishment from him, the living Vine, and as a branch you will bear the same kind of fruit as does the parent stock. The enemy of all righteousness will be ready to lead you into a course that will be the very opposite of that which the peacemaker should take. He who loves discord and strife, will tempt you to act a part in connection with himself to stir up strife. He will lead you to think that you see in some brother or sister something that is wrong, and Satan will urge you to go and tell it to others; but Christ has told you to go to your brother and “tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” Which leader are you going to obey? It is not in accordance with the natural heart to deal frankly and faithfully one with another. It appears easier to tell your brother’s fault to some one else than it does to tell it to him alone; but it is his ear alone that should hear your accusation. He who departs from the plain light which Christ has caused to shine upon his pathway, loses the privilege of becoming Christ‘s missionary, and becomes the agent of the evil one. How many church trials might be saved, how much bitterness and wrath might be saved, if Christ‘s professed followers would only obey his words! “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” They who are blessed are those who work in harmony with God, who are laborers together with Christ. The grace which the Spirit of God imparts is a wellspring of life to the soul, and will refresh all who come in contact with the peacemaker.
How many souls have been lost because those who profess to be the followers of Christ have been busy in carrying out the plans of Satan, and have thereby stirred up strife, and have discouraged souls, and driven them on to Satan’s battle ground, when they might have helped them by words of kindness and consolation. Satan is the one who works up strife. He lost heaven because he was filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmising, because he desired to be equal with God. It is important that we consider that the spirit we cherish now, the works that we now do, will testify to our fitness or unfitness for the future life. We are now upon trial, and it is to be seen whether or not we will fulfill the Lord‘s prayer, and do the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven. Those who are carrying out Satan’s plans, and are hurting and bruising souls by their course of action, prove that they are not the children of Christ. Whoever has the word of God, the appointed instrument of salvation, abiding in him, will overcome the wicked one, and he will grow up into Christ in all things. But of how many may it be said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God“! How many when beset by temptation do wrong by not being peacemakers! Their weakness is found in the fact that they do not study the Scriptures for the purpose of practicing them in their daily life. The Psalmist says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee;” but how many are destroyed for lack of knowledge!
It is best that every one of us should do right because it is right, and thus we may create about us an atmosphere of peace. We shall not then be found pressing to the side of Satan’s human agents, to catch their spirit and to repeat their words of accusation and reproach against those who are seeking to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord. We shall not link in with the adversary of souls, and aid him in stirring up suspicion and strife, and in causing souls who love God to be tempted to do evil. Through the grace of Christ, these souls would be raised up to sit together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus; but if the agents of Satan come to them as accusers of others, they may fall from their steadfastness, and be turned out of the path of holiness.
Those who are filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmising, and who indulge in evil speaking, make it manifest that they are unfit for the kingdom of heaven because they are not peacemakers. Through trial and test, it is proved that they are weighed in the balances and found wanting.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (not for their coarse, harsh spirit that leads them to stir up strife and dissension, but “for righteousness’ sake”). The righteous are those who desire peace, and will have peace at the cost of everything save the sacrifice of principle. Truth they can not sacrifice, though adherence to it costs them distress, reproach, suffering, and even death. “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, place the commandments of God first in their lives, and they allow no human policy, no promise of reward, no offer of honor, to come between them and their God. They can not be induced to deny Christ and to betray his cause. The rich promises of God have a place in their memory, and when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him. The Holy Spirit opens to the understanding the preciousness of the Scriptures.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” These words are full, and broad, and deep, and you are not to be downcast, not to be shaken in faith, not to be filled with murmuring or complaining. Time and courage and faith are all precious, too precious to sacrifice to dejection, to mourning. Christ tells you to rejoice, and to be exceeding glad. All heaven is watching, and is ready to help you. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
The church itself needs converting, so that its members may be made channels of light, may be blessed and made a blessing. A vague reliance upon God‘s mercy will not obtain for us access to the throne of grace, or draw down the blessing from God the Father which he has provided for those who do his will. Faith must center in the word of God, which is spirit and life. Every page of the sacred word is illumined with the beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The word of God is to be the support of the afflicted, the comfort of the persecuted. God himself speaks to the believing, trusting soul; for God‘s Spirit is in his word, and a special blessing will be received by those who accept the words of God when illuminated to their mind by the Holy Spirit. It is thus that the believer eats of Christ, the Bread of Life. Truth is seen in a new light, and the soul rejoices as in the visible presence of Christ.
Christ chose twelve men from among the multitude, whom he named his apostles. They were to catch the words from his lips, and receive them into their hearts, that they might be witnesses of him to the world. While those who listened to Christ in the multitude were deeply impressed with his teaching, though the crowd constantly pressed close upon Christ, yet the disciples understood that they were not to be crowded away from his presence. They pressed close to his person, in order that they might not lose a word of the instruction that was of so much importance. They were eager, attentive listeners. They understood that “the flesh profiteth nothing,” but that the words he spoke unto them were “spirit and life.” They came unto him because he had the words of eternal life.
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, 10/10/1895