Saturday, December 16, 2023

2023.12.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 5:9

Read Matthew 5:9

Questions from the Scripture text: Who else are blessed (verse 9a)? What shall they be called (verse 9b)?

Who are the sons of God? Matthew 5:9 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In this verse of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the sons of God are those who are in Christ, and who are being made to be like Christ.

Being called sons of God in this context. God has declared Jesus His beloved Son (cf. Matthew 3:17), following immediately upon the heels of Christ saying about His baptism, “thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus identifies Himself with sinners, so that they may be righteous in Him. The baptism that we needed was the pouring out of His Spirit to give light to our minds and life to our hearts that, having had our minds exchanged for new ones, we might be joined to Him by faith.

Sons of God in relating to God and to creation. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17). God has reconciled us to Himself—made peace with us (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18a). And those with whom God has made peace, He turns into peacemakers, giving them the ministry of reconciliation (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18b). Indeed, God is reconciling the entire cosmos to Himself in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:19a), and when the sons of God are revealed, the creation itself will be set free to enjoy their glorious freedom (cf. Romans 8:19–21). Christians become the best citizens a kingdom can have, the best neighbors a community can have, the best stewards the creation can have. They belong to a new heavens and new earth, but they live according to that creation—really, according to their Creator and Redeemer—even in the world as it currently is.

Sons of God in relating to our neighbors. Christians are saved by a peacemaking God, Who brings them into fellowship with Himself. This means more than just enjoying His company. It means sharing in His life, in His priorities. And our God is a peacemaking God. The Father reconciles us to Himself by the death of His Son (cf. Romans 5:8–9). The Son Himself is our peace—not only making peace between us and God, but even with one another (cf. Ephesians 2:14–18). Indeed, the Spirit produces peace, even within us, where He has come to dwell (cf. Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:15). 

So, as the Lord’s priorities become their own priorities, they come especially to prioritize the conversion of sinners. Though they may not be given the preaching ministry of an apostolic ambassador like Paul (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20–21), yet they seek to participate in God’s saving of others. Christians must pray for others’ salvation (cf. Romans 10:1) and labor for their salvation, in whatever manner God permits us to participate in His doing so (cf. Romans 11:13–14; 1 Corinthians 9:22; James 5:20).  And we reflect our desire for our neighbor to be at peace with God by doing what we righteously can that our neighbor might be at peace with us (cf. Romans 12:18).

Sons of God in relation to the Son of God. Here, the great love of God is shown unto us: that we are already called His children (cf. John 1:12–13; 1 John 3:1–2). But we look forward to completion of the work in which we are made like Christ, body (cf. Romans 8:23) and soul (cf. Romans 8:29–30). On that last day, when our adoptions are completed, and our bodies have been redeemed, we will be fully conformed (pressed into the shape!) of the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the titles by which He will be glorified is as “the Firstborn among many brethren.” 

We are not yet the peacemakers that we ought to be. But the fact that we are peacemakers at all, and increasingly so, is the earnest money on the fact that Christ will be glad to be glorified as the Firstborn among us.

Sons of God in relation to one another. Now, there is one group upon whom our affections will especially be set, as we are conformed to Christ: the saints! They are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. He receives what is done to them as done to Him. They are united to Him. He suffers together with them, and they inherit together with Him. And therefore, we should store our minds with these truths and kindle our hearts with these realities. What peacemaking people we will then be, when it comes to the saints! A couple of passages on believers’ peacemaking in their relationships are worth quoting here at length (and would be worth opening and applying, if we were to take more than the ordinary space for these devotionals):

Ephesians 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 5:1Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

The more we follow all of these things now, the more we come to participate already in that blessing which shall soon be perfect and everlasting: we will be identified as the sons of God, enjoy the blessing of the sons of God… we will be called the sons of God!

How have you been enjoying your peace with God through Christ? What are the particular times at which you intentionally enjoy this peace? What are some other times at which you need to remind yourself of this peace? How has your adoption by God been displayed, recently, in how you interact with creation? With your nation? With your neighbors? With other believers?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for reconciling us to Yourself in Your Son. Grant that by Your Spirit’s applying Christ to us, the fruit in our lives would be peace, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH461 “Blessed Are the Sons of God”

No comments:

Post a Comment