“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”â€“ Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
Today I’m going to take a look at the sons of God. Who was Jesus talking about and what does that mean to me?
The term sons of God (or son of God) is found through out the Bible. It is the title Satan used when he tempted Jesus, â€œIf you are the Son of Godâ€¦â€ It is the very phrase that got the religious leaders in Jesus’ day in such a tizzy. At Jesus’ trial they said, â€œBy our laws he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.â€
My point is that when Jesus uses the phrase to talk about the peacemakers, it is not a throw away line. It is important to know what He means by it.
Someone with the title of son is in the family. It brings with it certain rights and responsibilities. Children have a unique relationship with their parents. And they can normally expect some sort of inheritance from their parents. There is really only two ways to become a member of the family. You are either born into the family or you can be adopted into the family.
By using the term sons of God (sometimes translated children of God) Jesus is saying that the peacemakers are part of Gods family. They have certain rights (and responsibilities) and can expect an inheritance from God.
So. Is peacemaking the way to become a son of God?
I think the answer is not so much. Let me explain.
When John is introducing Jesus in his account, he says the following:
â€œBut to all who believed in him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan â€“ this rebirth comes from God.â€ â€“ John 1:12-13 (NLT)
Paul said it this way: â€œSo you are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.â€
The doorway to joining the family is through Jesus Christ. We have to believe in Jesus. We have to be careful not to gloss over what it means to have faith in Jesus. We saw earlier that Satan saw Jesus’ identity clearly but obviously the enemy didn’t accept Jesus for who he was. And he doesn’t want us to accept Jesus either. He’ll use whatever methods he can to keep us from accepting Jesus.
A small example: when I typed in that quote from John just now I mistakenly didn’t type in the phrase, â€œand accepted himâ€. I read the words in my Bible. I knew they were in the verse. Then I typed the passage in without the phrase. And I read it a couple times to check my typing. My mind saw the words correctly even though they weren’t there. Some might call that a coincidental blunder on my part.
They’d be wrong. The enemy will do everything he can to keep people from accepting Jesus for who he really is. He doesn’t want people to hear Jesus when He said, â€œI am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.â€
There is only one way to become a son of God. Both the privileges and the responsibilities of being a part of God’s family are outrageous. And the way into His family is both incredibly easy and a very hard thing at the same time.
The easy part is that the only thing we have to do is believe in and accept Jesus for who he is. There’s no heavy lifting required on our part. Anyone can do it. There is no elitism or favoritism on this end.
The hard part of the equation is this: Believing and accepting Jesus is the only way into the family. Jesus said it is an extremely exclusive path. There are no alternate routes. No side tracks, shortcuts, or long ways. We can’t make our selves be good enough to make it. We can’t earn our place in the family. Even though we trick ourselves into believing we’re really OK, in the end everything we do, all our heavy lifting and sacrifice, will fall short. We still won’t be â€œin the familyâ€ short of believing in and accepting who Jesus is.
Jesus wasn’t saying that being a peacemaker doesn’t make you a son of God. Peacemaking results from sonship. One of the characteristics of the people in God’s family is that they should make â€œpeaceâ€ in the world around them. This includes both Social and Spiritual peace.