TOPIC:"Be a Christian Peacemaker"
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (12:18)
As we come to this section of the book of Romans we find the Apostle Paul moving his readers from theological issues to personal matters. This first-century Apostle gives some pointed and practical guidelines as to how Christians are to get along with one another. It is interesting that both our Lord and Paul included this area of human relations in the total message of the New Testament. And yet, when it comes to this practical phase of Christian living, let me ask you, when was the last time, if ever, you heard a sermon on the subject of human relationships among the people of the world, and especially, among believers within the church?
So it is our relationship with the larger world, members of our own family, and other Christians that I now want us to think about. Permit me to offer some special advice on how to live and work effectively with people in light of what Paul declares in the words of our text: "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Or as the NIV renders it: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
Consider, first of all, that our text sets forth a CALLING that is IMPERATIVE. Listen again to Paul's words: "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Let it be noted that the word "you" is emphatic both in position and in meaning. A more literal rendering would be: "If possible, as regards to your side." In other words, if the peace is to be broken, let it be broken from the other side. It is the solemn responsibility of every Christian to maintain the peace with all men.
And yet, how often this is not the case. I have known of professing Christians who have been peace-breakers instead of peace-makers. We are not called to be quarrelsome. We are not called to be disagreeable. We are not called to be unpleasant, offensive or troublemakers. We are not called to see how much despondency we can spread and division we can cause. Just the opposite! To quote Paul S. Rees regarding the Christian's obligation . . .