Blessed are the peacemakers

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

James 3:18 “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Conflict with people I care about is difficult for me. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all get along? I so long for the Biblical image of heaven in which we all sing with one voice our praises of God. I wish that there were not so many different church denominations. We confess that we believe in the one, holy, Christian, apostolic church, but yet we have an alphabet soup of denominations.

On the church sign at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamburg, Michigan are the letters LCMS (Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod). St. Paul Lutheran Church is a member congregation of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The LCMS has been around since 1847 when German immigrants established a new church body in America. Our church body was largely founded by immigrants that had left Germany because they were seeking the freedom to practice and follow their faith.

I want to explain in this article briefly why our congregation is a member of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The LCMS believes, teaches, and confesses that in Christ alone there is salvation – by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of Scripture alone. The LCMS is a creedal church. We define ourselves by our creeds or confessions which state what we understand to be the teachings of the Bible. I appreciate that our unity is based on the truth of Scripture. The LCMS and every member of the synod “accepts without reservation the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and practice” and all the writings in the Book of Concord as “a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God” (LCMS Constitution II).

Martin Luther and other founding members of the Lutheran church did not want to be innovative in their teaching. We continue to be a conservative church. We seek to conserve in our teaching nothing more and nothing less than what the Scriptures themselves teach and what Christians have always believed. At the heart and core of everything we believe and teach is the Gospel, the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the sins of the whole world.

There will be controversies in each generation that seek to push the church away from relying on the authority of Holy Scripture as the inspired and inerrant Word of God. For instance, with a desire to love other people, some may believe it is necessary to bend the teaching of the church on certain sins. The level of discomfort you may have in a conversation with a friend can quickly increase when talking about how certain behaviors are sinful. You may have found yourself censoring some of your conversations because you desire to keep the peace and avoid any conflict. We do not bring peace by avoiding the topic of sin or by accepting sin. Sin separates us from a loving God and from those He seeks to love.

When there is sin, the only peace I know that will last for eternity is found in Jesus Christ. I know that I do not like conflict with people I care about. I also know that true peace with God and with those I care about is not found in silence. The center of our salvation is the forgiveness of sin, and so we cannot afford to ignore sin. Sin is a problem and silence will not resolve this problem. You will not have peace with God or with others by ignoring sin. Peace with God and so therefore peace with others is found in the faith that Christ alone forgives our sins.

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