The New Testament understanding of making peace goes far deeper than merely working for a compromise between two or more parties so that hostilities can diminish. Peacemaking is a costly, self-sacrificing reality that finds its fullest expression in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Then, in His kind desire to share His blessing and authority with us, He invites us into the same kind of sacrificial life. Consider this passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:14-18, NKJV)
Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker, and therefore sets the definition for what that term can mean. In the first place, He gave Himself as a man to full and complete obedience to the Father, completely and perfectly living out the character of God in the flesh. He is the one man who did it right every time! Because He is the author of life, and all of life is contained in Him, when He demonstrated His perfection through the course of His days on earth, He was given authority to be the prototype of a whole new race of men. If you can picture this, it is as though He gathered up into Himself all who would believe in Him and brought them to peace, reconciling them to His Father through His life.
Because we have been reconciled to the Father, we can now truly come into our own identity and destiny by His grace instead of by our energies. As we live in communion with God, we hear our Father’s voice telling us over and over who we are, how much we are loved, what our task is, and the destiny to which He has invited us. His love and power assure our hearts that these things will be fulfilled, and therefore we can be at rest, at peace. When we live at peace with God, we can come to peace with ourselves and our own journey toward the fullness of our destiny. And when we are at peace in those two arenas, we can come to peace with one another.
Those who make peace stand in the direct flow of the ministry of Jesus. We are called to live in Jesus’ dynamic of intimate obedience to God and His ways. As we do this, the Father reveals Himself through our lives in ways similar to how He revealed Himself through the life of Jesus. People are drawn to Him through us as they were through Jesus, and the opportunity presents itself to establish peace between those individuals and God as their Father. As the reality of peace with God is absorbed into their lives, it becomes possible to bring them to peace with others whose lives they touch. Because this effect stands in such harmony with the ministry of Jesus, the reward that comes to peacemakers is at the level of fundamental identity: they are called “the sons of God.”