From yesterday: Two fundamental expressions of this new dynamic were a part of the teaching of Christian Liberty. On one hand believers were free to disregard Old Testament ceremonial practices as long as it didn’t violate their conscience. On the other hand, they could choose not to use their freedom if they felt it might cause a struggle in another believer’s walk. The choice to eat or not eat was situational, which does not endanger the idea of absolute truth since both were permissible. Why should anyone care about these distinctions? It is because they were called to win the peace, and their first reconstruction project was very close to home.
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” His truth certainly applied to this future culture clash in the church. However, it is doubtful His followers at the time would have made the connection. The church was yet to be born, and a discussion about fellowship between Jews and Gentiles would have been nonsensical. This doesn’t mean trouble between these two groups was not a concern during Jesus’ ministry, or that there were no other conflicts, such as the one between Jews and Samaritans.
This leads us to wonder what the people who heard Jesus’ words were thinking. Which peace were they supposed to win? Was it the one between the Roman Empire and the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, or perhaps the internal strife between Jewish religious sects and political activists? It could have been one of the social divides the Apostle Paul later identified in his letter to the Galatians: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28). Roman and Jew, Pharisee and Sadducee, Zealot and Herodian, Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female. The potential for relational breakdown must have seemed endless as did the opportunity for peace.
It is highly possible Paul was thinking of Jesus’ words when he wrote, “You are all sons of God”. This is the exact phrase the Master used when He asked His hearers to take up the mantle of peacemaker.
The peace Jesus died for on the cross was something only He could bring. The peace we build in our human relationships is ours to win. All things have been made new and we are called to live as sons. This means all of us have inherited the kingdom, and as citizens we want everyone and everything to reflect the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).