Hank Hanegraaff, host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, continues working through the beatitudes. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). In speaking of peace, Jesus is in fact speaking about Himself. For as Isaiah prophesied, Christ would be called the “Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9: 6). As such, for us to be peacemakers is to be a son of the incarnate Christ. Sons of God! “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5: 10–12). It is one thing to say that the peacemakers are blessed. It is quite another to designate those who are persecuted, for the sake of righteousness, as blessed. And yet that is precisely the case. Because those persecuted for the sake of righteousness will indeed inherit the kingdom of heaven. Christ’s message is crystal clear. Rather than fixate on earthly vanities, such as the admiration of men, we ought to focus on such eternal verities as the approval of God. Persecution is a continuum. A continuum ranging from harassment to oppression and ultimately to cruel death. In the Levant, being a Christian can lead to loss of property, imprisonment, or beheading. In America, you may not die for being a Christian, but you will face certain discrimination.
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