Category Archives: Life of Christ

Breath of Life

Studies in Genesis 2

Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7 ESV)

God filled Man’s nostrils with a puff of His breath and the dry clay and dust He formed into the shape of a Man came alive. That which was not alive, lived.

Ezekiel had a vision of a valley of dry bones. It was not uncommon for a victorious army to take their captives to the top of a cliff and throw them off. Exposed to the weather and the carrion it would not take long for the flesh to be stripped off the bones and the sun to bake them dry. God showed Ezekiel a pile of that which had lived but was now dead.

God’s question suggests a “yes or no” answer. “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’” But that is not the answer Ezekiel gives. “And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, you know’” (Ezekiel 37:3 ESV). Ezekiel cannot bring these who have died back to life. No one created by God can bring back to life that which has died. Does he think God cannot? Though we carry the image of God we are not God. Only God can give life.

Then God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones. A prophet tells the truth, whether about what is before them or about the future. Only God can give the truth about the future. When God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy He was telling him to tell the truth about what will happen to these dead, dry bones.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:4-6 ESV)

 God assembled the bones into people and covered them with muscle and flesh. But they were not alive. They were still dead.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” (Ezekiel 37:9 ESV)

“Breathe on these slain, that they may live.” “Breathe” is the same word used in Genesis 2:7. “Live” is closely related to the word “living” used in Genesis 2:7.

God told Ezekiel to tell the truth about what God was going to do and then did. Only God gives life. Yet, God uses people to deliver His truth and act upon His will.

Jesus, when He sent out the twelve, instructed them to tell the truth about the coming of the kingdom of heaven. He told them to announce “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7 ESV). He then gave them authority to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay” (Matthew 10:8 ESV). His disciples raised the dead. Those who died and could not live were given the breath of life and lived.

God tells us the truth throughout Scripture. He took a handful of dust and breathed on it and Man lived. Adam, the first Man, knew God. He told Ezekiel to tell the truth and those who were slain were given life. When they were raised they knew God. “And you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:6 ESV).  Jesus gave His disciples authority to tell the truth and raise the dead. Jesus told the truth about His death and His resurrection. All of the circumstantial evidence, from the beginning of the history of Man to now, tells us the truth of His resurrection and validates every word God has said. Jesus’ disciples know God and are His witnesses of truth to the world.

God Rests

Studies in Genesis 2

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3 ESV)

God finished His work and then He rested. Do not think God is exhausted from His work or that He needs to sleep so He can get up after the weekend and do it all again.

We need to have an understanding of God’s work for us to understand God’s rest. God worked in creation. His work is everything He does which is natural to His being. He does not work for someone else but acts according to His eternal nature. What He begins He finishes, perfectly completing all He determined to accomplish. He then ceases working on creation. He finishes creation, because there is nothing left to do. His finishing creation and ceasing to work He calls “rest.” God “rested.”

“Rested” is a verb and means to cease or desist from labor. It is the word shabat from which is derived the noun shabbath translated Sabbath. So, on the seventh day of creation, the sabbath, God rested, shabat.

One of the questions which arises is whether after God rested He again began to work. We are told God finished His work. If He were to begin working again it would be to do something different, unrelated to that which He created. A new project. We don’t know about God’s “projects” other than the space-time universe in which we live. Yet, Jesus tells us He and His Father are still working. “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5:15 ESV). John uses a word for “work” which is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “work” used in Genesis 2.

Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath and the Jewish leaders are incensed. One of the rules the Jewish leaders extrapolated from Scripture was no one was to “work” on the Sabbath. Apparently healing a person on the Sabbath was considered “work.” That, and Jesus told the man healed to “get up, take up your bed, and walk” (John 5:8 ESV), which is also considered work by the Jewish leaders. Not only was Jesus working but encouraging others to work on the Sabbath. How scandalous.

Jesus’ response to the superstitious tradition of not doing physical labor on the Sabbath was that God works and is still working, regardless of the day of the week. These Jewish leaders misunderstood what it means to work and rest. They also have a skewed understanding of God. They do not know Him either intellectually or intimately.

Jesus is God. It was He who created the heavens and the earth, every atom in the universe, accomplishing exactly what He intended. It was He who wrote the Scripture, inspiring the writers to record, in their own voices, that which He wanted. It is He who declares Himself “Lord of the Sabbath” “for the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8 ESV). It is He who created the beginning of the space-time universe and it is He who will bring it to an end.

God’s rest is in our future. He is not constrained by the space-time universe He created but exists outside of it. Those laws which hold the universe together are sustained by Him until He decides to bring the universe to an end. The laws of the universe, like the moral laws, are a reflection of Him but do not control Him. Scripture tells us He rested after He finished His work. Those who are His know how to rest in Him because they are looking forward to His rest in eternity.

Blessed

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 ESV)

God blessed those He created in His image. This is the second of three times the word “blessed” is used in the Creation story. God blessed the sea creatures and the birds of the air in Genesis 1:22, telling them to be fruitful and multiply. God blessed the seventh day “and made it holy because on it God rested from all the work He had done in creation” in Genesis 2:3.

God blesses Man, who is created in His image. Man is male and female.

To bless means to kneel before, but not as one subservient to another. There are two images which may help us understand the use of the word. First, think of a father kneeling before a child to give the child a gift. Secondly, imagine one serving another by kneeling before them to deliver a service. In both instances, the one kneeling is not subservient but greater. With the father and child analogy, the father is greater than the child and is giving a gift the child needs but may not understand. In the second illustration the servant, or better, the one serving, is offering an act of mercy and compassion. In both instances the idea of blessing by kneeling strongly implies the greatest love of one for the other.

Part of the image of God is the desire to serve God and people and in doing so love them. Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is twofold.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)

God declares His eternal love for people when He kneels before them as a Father giving the greatest gift needed through the greatest act of service imaginable. He gave His image. Then, He gave His Son.

God Only Sustains Life

An Essay on John 4:46-54 

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. (John 4:46-50 ESV)

Even though Jesus regularly performed miracles, John identified only a handful as signs. His first sign was done at a wedding in Cana, a day’s walk from Capernaum. While at the wedding, Jesus turned water into wine. He did something only God could do. He created one thing out of another thing. Water is made from three atoms, two are hydrogen and one is oxygen (H2O). Water is essential for life but is not itself life. Wine comes from grapes which are the seed of grapevines, which are life. Jesus took that which was not alive and created a product of that which is alive. Only God can create one thing from another.

His second sign was healing a royal official’s son, who was on the verge of death. Jesus sustained the boy’s life. Only God can sustain life.

This man came to Jesus begging Him to come with him and heal his son. He had travelled a day to get to Jesus, walking or riding over twenty miles. Jesus’ response sounds like a rebuke. Still, the man pleads with Jesus to come but Jesus does not go. He sent him away with the assurance his son would live. Returning home the next day the official discovers his son is healed. At the exact time Jesus said the boy would live the fever killing him broke and he started getting better. Because of this miracle of healing the royal official’s whole house, everyone within his family including servants, believed Jesus.

Who this royal official was is never indicated in the passage. He was not himself royal but worked for or was related to royalty. In that area Herod was the only royal official we know of at that time. We also know that “Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager” (Luke 8:3 ESV) provided for Jesus and His disciples “out of their means.” Was it Joanna’s son who was healed by Jesus after Chuza journeyed from Capernaum to Cana to fetch Him? We do not know. Chuza was a royal official and his wife, Joanna, followed Jesus.

Was Jesus’ comment, “unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” truly a rebuke? Jesus did more than heal people. He taught them about God and how they should live for God. He demonstrated God’s love for them by more than miracles. He didn’t just heal lepers. He touched them and healed them. He didn’t just talk to people. He ate with “tax collectors and sinners” (see Luke 7:34). He is much more than a performer of miracles and wonders. He associated with those the righteous Jews considered under God’s wrath. He came because they were under God’s wrath.

Are Jesus’ words a rebuke? In Cana, at the wedding, His mother came to Him and told Him there was no more wine. Jesus’ response to her appears as a rebuke to our western ears and mindset, but actually was not. His mother knew what He was capable of but He would not let her control His timing and actions. He traveled around the nation, going to Jerusalem and returning to Galilee. Again in Cana, Jesus is surrounded by a multitude of Galilean’s who had watched Him in Jerusalem during the feast. “So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast” (John 4:45 ESV). When the official, the father of the dying son, asked Jesus to come Jesus spoke to everyone present, including the royal official, the Galileans and His disciples.

One of the implications of this observation by John was Jesus had performed other miracles and healings while at the feast in Jerusalem. John tells us “now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing” (John 2:23 ESV). Jesus did more than drive the money-changers out of the temple or predict His death and resurrection. He healed people. John does not tell us about those healings but the people who traveled from Galilee saw them and mobbed Jesus when He returned.

Most probably the royal official had seen Jesus heal someone or heard He performed miracles. His son was dying and he reckoned Jesus could save him. So he traveled a day on a desperate mission to find Jesus and persuade Him to come and heal, like He had done in Jerusalem.

Jesus’ statement is not a rebuke but a statement of fact. Knowing the hearts of those surrounding Him He told them why they were there. They had seen miracles. They wanted to see more miracles. For them Jesus was entertainment. Yet, there was a part of Jesus’ statement that thrust a verbal blade to the tender core of their motivation. Unless they saw more miracles they would not continue to believe Jesus. Once He stopped performing miracles they would leave and find something else to tickle their senses.

He heard Jesus say these words to the crowd. We do not know how many people Jesus healed that day. We know He was in Cana. We know the people there had seen and heard Jesus do wonders. But, this man was not there to watch Jesus perform. He was there to beg Jesus to come and heal his son. Perhaps he was grasping at the last possibility, desperate to do something which would help his son live. He was a day away from home, constantly aware of the suffering his wife and family were enduring as they watched a loved-one die. He was not there for entertainment but to bring his last hope back.

But, maybe the words were for him. We think Jesus has to be present to work. Present as we demand present. Tangibly present. Though Jesus is fully man, those around could touch Him, He is fully God, untouchable by anything sinful. “So Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’” Unless you can touch the tangible evidence of a miracle you will not have faith. Jesus uses the word pisteuo, which means to believe the evidence and trust the object which did the deed that left the evidence behind. Yet, there is an implication in pisteuo of obedience. There must be action as well as intellectual assent and emotional acceptance. Unless you see you will not actively believe. And even if you see you may only believe for a while and then forget and stop believing.

“Sir, come down before my child dies.” He believed Jesus could heal his son. He did not believe Jesus could do anything after the child died. But, before he died, Jesus can do a miracle.

Jesus knows Himself. He also knows the heart of the father standing before Him and the deepest motivation of all those standing around waiting for Him to do something spectacular. Faith is a moment by moment link to God. Even when there are many moments when it seems there is no connection there are still a few moments of faith with a firm and solid connection. God knows Himself. Where we waver He never falters.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.”

When God speaks what He speaks happens. He spoke creation into being. He spoke light. He spoke the separation of waters from dry land. He spoke life and life covered the planet. When He changed water into wine He didn’t speak to the water but to the servants who knew the difference between water for washing and water for drinking. And they drew out water which became the finest wine.

Jesus spoke to the father of a dying son. Go home. Start now. Your son will not die but will live. I can visualize the father staring into the eyes of Jesus through tears and fear and seeing in those eyes certainty and truth. So he turned and went home. He pistueo, believed the evidence of Jesus’ works and words and emotionally trusted Jesus as the object and walked his faith home in obedience. He would walk home the rest of that day, spend a night somewhere and finish walking home the next.

As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee. (Joh 4:51-54 ESV)

But the story doesn’t end with a healed son and a comforted father. He was met by other servants before he arrived home. They came to him bearing news. His son was well and would live. When Jesus spoke to the father the previous day his son immediately began to get well. “The fever left him.” His son had an infection and his body was fighting it and losing. Jesus spoke and the infection ceased. At a specific time the fever broke. When he arrived home and told his story, about meeting Jesus and what Jesus said, his family and those bond-servants in his household believed, pisteou, also.

What did they believe? Did they believe Jesus could heal over distance? He can. Did they believe Jesus’ teaching? If I am right, the wife of Chuza, the head of Herod’s household, began following Jesus and providing for Him and His disciples out of her means. She probably would not do this without her husband’s approval. They believed the evidence of Jesus’ words and works and trusted Him showing their faith through their actions and obedience. There is more to this story but we do not have all of the facts. We have enough.

“This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee” (John 4:54 ESV). Jesus did many miracles, healed many people, even raising some from death before His resurrection. Yet, John identifies this healing as “the second sign” with the first sign the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana.

As with His first sign, Jesus here does only that which God is able. At the wedding He created something out of something else. Here, He sustains life. Facing eminent death Jesus spoke and death fled. Yes, the wine eventually ran out. Yes, the boy, and his family, would face death and finally die. But John is telling us about who Jesus is and why we should believe, trust and obey Him. Jesus did that which only God can do. He took upon Himself our sin and covered us with His righteousness. He took us, dead in sin, separated from God, and recreated us, giving us life He will sustain for eternity. Only God can do this.

Peaceful Garden

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 18:2-3 ESV]

In the beginning there was peace in the Garden of Eden. It is never explicitly stated the garden was filled with peace. Gardens carry the assumption of peace, tranquility and order. Even now one goes to a garden, not to fight or hunt, but to contemplate and enjoy the work of the gardener and the handiwork of God. We assume there was peace in the Garden of Eden.

Originally, the word “garden” meant “protected” or “fenced in,” not that the rest of the world created by God was wild and untamed (another assumption). Adam was given the world, control over it, the goal of filling it with people and the task of working it, or bringing it under his control. He was at peace with the world, with the animals, with the weather, with his wife, and with God.

Enter sin, lose peace. With the corruption of sin Adam lost peace within the Garden, expelled from it so he could not reach out and eat from the tree of life and live forever corrupted by sin. He lost dominion over the world, fighting and struggling to make the ground grow food. He lost peace with those around him, those who came after him, replaced with contention, anger and hatred. He lost peace with God, separated from Him, the source of his very life.

Neither he, nor we, have lost the desire for peace. Instead, we try to manufacture peace according to our corrupted view and expectations. Yet, what gives us peace may force disturbance on others. In our selfish and self-centered posture we cease to care about others and especially we cease to take into account God. We now build our own gardens, our own refuges, fenced in to keep out the violence and discontent of the world. We grasp for control not realizing the more we fight for control the less control we have. God did not create us to be isolated from Him. Our high fences and dense the walls containing our self made gardens exclude God, sacrificing a peace only He supplies.

When the disciples argued over whom was the greatest in God’s kingdom, they did the very thing Satan had done before falling from grace, losing his position before God. He lied to himself, thinking himself as great as, even greater than, God. So, the disciples were lying to themselves, vying for a position only Jesus could rightfully occupy. But Jesus does not rebuke them, put them in their proper place or expel them from His presence. He did not come to lord it over the world, or even take what is rightfully His. He came, with the eternal image of the perfect servant, to offer Himself and to call to Himself those who are His.

He gave them an example in a child. Unless you turn away from your twisted, sinful attitudes, reverse yourselves and stop growing like the world wants you to grow, and be like a child, you will never even enter His kingdom. You cannot be a part of an eternal kingdom and carry in anything belonging to the world. Our sinful world and all in which it contains, cannot be reconciled with God’s kingdom. Growing and learning  according to the dictates of sin cause inability to do what a citizen of God’s kingdom does, or be how God wishes.

Children are naturally selfish, as corrupted by sin as all others. They must learn, or be taught, to sin in a sophisticated manner. Conversely, they are the most emotionally trusting individuals, recognizing the authority of big people, especially their parents. Children do not know, intellectually or intimately, the desire to displace those in authority. They will love, huddle against, find comfort in the presence of even an abusive parent. Until they learn differently.

Jesus tells us to be like a child in the only relationship which brings peace. Relinquish control of ourselves to Him. Stop trying to be the authority, the king of our own garden. We will never have complete peace while in this world. We do hope for peace in eternity. We glimpse peace, never quite comprehending the peacefulness of peace. Only when we arrive in eternity will we truly have peace. Until then, we must recognize our peace with God is more important than any felt peace offered by the world. For, where God is there is real, eternal peace.

“Rest in Peace”

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.  And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. [Luke 12:4-9 ESV]

If there is anything consistent in the makeup of man it is the reality of sin and consequent physical death. In our rebellion we excuse and ignore sin. We cannot ignore or avoid death. We can refuse to acknowledge God all of our physical lives until we come before Him.

Jesus told His disciples of His impending death at the hands of His enemies in Jerusalem.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.’”[Matthew 16:21-22 ESV]

I think Peter spoke for the group. He pulled Jesus aside and rebuked Him, suggesting Jesus was not going to die as He described. While we could debate Peter’s motivations his refusal to accept the impending death of a loved one is more prominent. He could not imagine the man before him, robust, quick witted, strong, facing death. Jesus bested the Pharisees. He would continue to best them. There is no way Jesus would be murdered by anyone.

Jesus rebuked the liar who inspired Peter to believe the lie. “Get behind me Satan” [Matthew 16:23 ESV]. Wishful thinking is just that. It has no foundation in truth and therefore no substance.

Christians are probably more afraid of the process of dying than of actual death. If we knew when we were going to die would we not get our house in order? Would we tremble and quake because we do not know Him or face death with peace because we do know Him. Moses was told he would not enter the Promised Land so he prepared the people to follow God after his death. Then was gathered to his people atop a mountain overlooking the land he could not enter. There is no indication he feared dying.

Often it is not the one dying who is afraid but those around facing the reality of losing a loved who are the most distressed. Leaving loved ones, through death, might bring resignation and acceptance of one’s circumstance. Trapped by the world, those staying want to build a false peace to placate their emotional upheaval.

“Rest in peace” is an accepted euphemism stuffed with wishful thinking. Where there is no peace with God there can be no peace in death. Where there is no fear of God there is no desire to be right before Him. Death becomes a purposefully ignored unknown filled with superstitious possibilities based upon fantasy.

Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem where He would face a violent death at the hands of professional executioners. He knew this and He was at peace. He asked God to take away the cup, but submitted Himself to His Father, for He knew the peace He had could not be taken, even by death. How we face death, our own and the death of a loved one, is a test. Do we know we have peace with God? Do we know the person dying has peace with God? Do we live for God?

Death could not hold Jesus. He was raised from the dead. Those who are His need have no fear of death. Those who are not His should absolutely fear death.

Introduction: Peacemaker, Sons of God

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. [Matthew 5:9 ESV]

We desire freedom from conflict to pursue our interests without restraint or threat or failure. We long for peace to the point of ignoring conflict, hopelessly hoping conflict will go away or cease and no longer plague us or those who are ours. We even excuse irresponsibility and minor criminal acts which may cause unwanted conflict to maintain a tenuous peace. Underneath the desire for peace is a moral foundation and emotions designed by God to interpret and signal danger about those actions and attitudes which compromise our position before Him.

If we listened to the internal warning signs we would know why we have no peace, especially  with God. Every fiber of our being screams out the reality of our separation from God. We are not at peace with Him and He will not give His peace unless we are morally right before Him.

Still , want peace at almost all costs because peace is the evidence of security and contentment. Whole institutions within governments and societies are built to promote peace. Law enforcement officers are trained to keep the peace. Envoys and ambassadors are sent to negotiate peace between peoples, and groups, and nations. Even our religious leaders espouse peace often falsely teaching we have peace with God.

Yet, there is no peace.

So, we look to “peacemakers” to help negotiate peace.

One of the worldly characteristics of a peacemaker is the ability to find compromise between those conflicted. Peacemakers are esteemed, lauded and showered with rewards and gifts, written about and remembered, at least for a short time.

One of the consequences of such worldly acclaim is the redefining and misinterpreting of what Jesus actually means by being a peacemaker. Those who are true peacemakers do not negotiate conflicts between individuals, find compromise between countries, bring together enemies and find compromises where both agree.

Peace is not lack of conflict but a place of rest before the One who has authority to judge. True peace has little to do with the world and everything to do with eternity. True peacemakers bring condemned sinners to the loving Judge of sin, who desires complete reconciliation and absolute obedience.

A peacemaker is someone who wants those created in the image of God to have peace with God. Once a person has peace with God they are changed. This does not mean they will have peace with those around them but that they have recognized sin, realized its consequences and abandon themselves to God, their Creator and Sustainer. They are changed and made His and begin hungering and thirsting for His righteousness, to do His will, as His servant.

They actively love Him, who actively loved them and showed His mercy to all through the sacrifice of His Son. They are selflessly loved by God and, in return, selflessly love God through the sacrifice of their obedience by selflessly loving those whom God loves. They are whole as God has made them and who is making them complete. Being a peacemaker is the final element found in the makeup of the spiritually whole citizen of the kingdom of God according to the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Where I have characterized mercy as active love and purity of heart as selfless love,  a peacemaker is someone characterized by tough love. God will not allow anything of the world to compromise the peace of God. It is a spiritual state reflected through the life of the Christian to the world. The evidence of having peace with God confounds and convicts the world. It is an unshakeable demeanor which believes trusts and obeys God in the harshest of circumstances. Only those at peace with God will show the evidence of such a life.