So Far As It Depends On You
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Every now and then I come across a subject thats significance has not stood out to me before. This happened recently as I was studying the Beatitudes. Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” As I studied further, I found there are a number of places in the New Testament where the pursuit of peace is a command to be followed. The author of Hebrews said that we are to “strive for peace” (Hebrews 12:14). The word “strive” is the same word that would be used to describe a sprinter as they lean forward to go as fast as they can. It could also be used to describe a predator as they chase prey. It is the act of using all your strength to acquire peace. In 2 Corinthians 5:18, Paul declared that just as we have been reconciled to God through Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. That is not a vocational call to a few, but a part of what it means for all of us to be believers. We are all called to strive for peace and minster reconciliation.
However, the most interesting verse to me was in Romans 12:8: “if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” He is acknowledging that peace and reconciliation takes the effort of both parties. It is not possible to be reconciled with someone who is opposed to the prospect either intentionally or not. Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews also acknowledged that we cannot pursue peace at the cost to our own personal holiness. Sometimes, the actions of others preclude peace. However, for the child of God, the lack of effort towards peace should never be on our account!
Furthermore, when Paul uses the term “all” in Romans 12:18, it is in the context of being persecuted. That means we are being instructed to live peaceably with even those who are actively trying to hurt us!! Let there be no doubt, this kind of effort requires the indwelling Holy Spirit transforming the heart and actions of a believer! But God is in the business of reconciliation!! When you were a hater of God and a rebel against His government, He made the first move and did everything that was necessary for you to be reconciled to Himself. Jesus came and gave His life for those who were living as His enemies! And now, that same power to pursue peace and minister reconciliation lives in us through the Holy Spirit!!
I pray that you would be inspired to be a peacemaker! May you receive power from the work God has done in you to reconcile you to Himself. May you minister that same reconciliation to others!