“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
One of the chief characteristics of God’s children is their disposition to make peace. After all, the Holy Spirit lives in their hearts and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc. Of course, this peace doesn’t mean “appeasement”. This isn’t “peace at all costs.” This peace is allied with divine love, which includes love for God, his kingdom, and his righteousness. Interestingly, Jesus also said he came not to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34)! By that he means, devotion to him who is the Prince of Peace inevitably brings persecution from those who oppose his peaceful reign and his gospel of peace. Continue reading “Blessed are the Peacemakers”
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
The people referred to in the Beatitudes are blessed because they belong to the kingdom and they possess the traits that identify them as belonging to the kingdom.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “PURE IN HEART”?
A) “Clean on the inside”, not like white-washed tombs which are clean only on the outside.
B) “Sincere” or unadulterated like unmixed wine.
C) “Single-minded” like a faithful husband who has eyes only for his wife.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SEE GOD?
They are blessed because they will see God. In other words, they are those who will be saved because by the purity of their hearts they prove that they really have put their faith in Christ (1 John 3:1-3). Without holiness, no one will see God. The holy God is too pure for sinful hearts to see. To the pure all things are pure; to the impure, all things are impure.
HOW CAN WE BECOME PURE?
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). But we can become pure –
(a) By God’s grace. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10) See also Ezekiel 36:25-27.
(b) By confessing our sins: 1 John 1:9
(c) By keeping God’s Word: Psalm 119:9, 11
(Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash)
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MERCY AND GRACE?
The previous beatitudes have to do with our attitude or relationship towards God. The beatitudes that follow have to do with our actions towards others resulting from our right attitudes towards God.
Mercy is compassion towards others who are in a miserable state. Grace, on the other hand, is generosity to the undeserving. Grace views the unworthiness of the recipient. Mercy views the misery of the recipient. Grace has to do with cleansing the guilt of the person. Mercy has to do with alleviating the miserable condition of the person. Continue reading “Blessed are the Merciful”
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
We continue to study the characteristics of those people who belong to the kingdom, one of which is their spiritual mourning, because they are a people whose hearts have been broken by a recognition of their sinfulness before God and have therefore become contrite (humble, repentant). It is comforting to know that God takes account of our tears (Psalm 56:8).
- WHO ARE THESE WHO MOURN?
They are those who sorrow over their sins and who suffer for Jesus’ sake. For now, we take up only the first one.
A) They realize how much they’ve grieved God by their sins (Psalm 51:4).
B) They feel the pain they’ve inflicted upon themselves (and others) as a result of their sins (Psalm 32:3-4; Jeremiah 2:19).
C) They also weep tears of conviction because of God’s love for them in Christ in spite of their sins. It was my sins that nailed Christ to the cross and I grieve at the sight of him on the cross, but at the same time I rejoice that he loves me so much so as to die for the forgiveness of my sins (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 5:8).
- HOW ARE THEY COMFORTED?
They are comforted by a sense of God’s grace and forgiveness (Psalm 30:5, 11; Psalm 32:1, 5; Luke 15:7, 10).
PRAYER: Lord, we are sorry for our many sins. Thank you for your forgiveness which you’ve given us in Christ Jesus. In him we have the comfort of complete pardon and eternal life. Amen.
[The poor] are the ones who have nothing to prove or to protect – no posing, no posturing before people or before God. When all you’ve got is all you’ve got, all that’s left is to be yourself and you can only receive. And that, in a sense, is why the poor are blessed, because they know what really matters.
– from the Introduction to Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, p. 31