Clearly, our world is laden with conflict of various forms, on a variety of levels. We can do something about it.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
God has always lived in relationship. Father, Son and Spirit have eternally engaged in a life characterized by love—a great gift exchange that involved mutual submission and service.
Often pride is at the root of ... problems.
Within the Godhead there is and always has been peace. The theology our fellowship teaches is at times called “Adoption” theology, because it emphasizes the awesome future God desires for each human being. Through and in Christ we are the adopted children of God. Further, we are thereby given the opportunity to participate in the very life of the triune God—a life characterized by concern for one another and by service.
Love is the primary characteristic of God (see 1 John 4:8,16). The kind of self sacrificing love we are talking about comes into our lives through the transformational activity of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 5:5).
This sort of godly love is described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 and clearly transcends any human definition of that term. Amazingly, it never breaks down, “never fails”.
As God’s children, his will is that we respond to him, come to know him and through the work of the Spirit and become gradually transformed closer to the likeness of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). This allows us to be examples to the world of a better way to live (see Matthew 5:14-16).
In a very practical way, this means that as the children of God we will be peacemakers in the world (see Matthew 5:8).
Clearly, our world is laden with conflict of various forms, on a variety of levels. Often pride is at the root of these problems.
When people and nations angle only for self-interest, without taking into account the interests of others, it is virtually inevitable that conflict will result. Yet, Jesus taught that we should love our neighbour as we love ourselves. Paul put it this way, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
God wants his children to reflect a spirit of peace where ever we may be. He wants us to work to reduce conflict, to promote an understanding of the interests and needs of others. It is certainly fine to seek the welfare of yourself and those you love, but that doesn’t need to be at the expense of others. God made life to “work” for all people—every person is made in his image and he loves all equally. Things are designed so, in the end, all can prosper and find wellbeing.
The term “eternal life” in the Bible has reference to a quality of life, not only to life without end. We aren’t in a competition with our neighbour, but rather we are intended to work for the welfare of all. That is God’s way. It is how he lives, and is the life our triune God is drawing us toward.
When we do this—seek peace, make peace, reduce tension and avoid conflict— we live the life God lives and the life he intends for his children.
That is why peacemakers are called the children of God. Rather fitting, isn’t it?
Gary Moore is the national director for the Worldwide Church of God, Canada.
Originally published in Northern Light Magazine, January/March 2010.
Used with permission of the author. Copyright © 2010 Christianity.ca.