Matthew 5:1-5 ESV
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Who are the poor in spirit? They are those who have humbled themselves before God, who have repented of their sins, who have acknowledged their need of God, and who have turned to follow Jesus Christ with their lives. They realize that they can’t make it on their own, but that they need the Lord Jesus to change their hearts. They need the strength of the Holy Spirit to obey the Lord and to do what he says, too.
They know that they are so unworthy of God’s love and grace, as well, and so they are so appreciative of his grace and his kindness towards them in saving them from their slavery to sin. They do not have high opinions of themselves, for they know from whence they came when they came to Christ. Thus, they mourn and they weep over their sins as part of believing in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And, they want that release, that freedom from those chains that had once bound them, too.
And, now that they believe in Jesus Christ, and he has delivered them from their slavery to sin, they are able to follow the Lord in obedience, and they are able to walk in holiness, purity, and righteousness, all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within them, as they submit to the Lord.
And, in the strength of the Lord, not only are they able to walk in holiness, but they have courage to be bold in their witness for Jesus Christ and for his gospel message of salvation from sin, too.
For, humility and meekness do not mean weakness, and they do not mean that we compromise the scriptures in order to please people or so that they don’t misjudge us. For, meekness is controlled strength. “It is exercising God’s strength under his control” (1). So, just because some people are bold in their testimony for Jesus Christ does not mean necessarily that they are prideful. It could mean that they are meek.
So, those who have humbled themselves before God, who have mourned over their sins, who have turned away from living for sin and self, and who are now bold in their witness for Christ and in their walks of faith in Him, in the power and strength of the Lord, are comforted by God’s love and grace. And, they are given the hope of eternal life with God. And, they are showered with the blessings (the benefits) of those who walk by faith in Christ Jesus, and that God provides to those who love him.
Matthew 5:6-8 ESV
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
When we hunger and thirst after righteousness, it means that God’s righteousness, his purity and his holiness are something that we strongly desire and that we feel that we need, and that we can’t live without. They are not an afterthought. They are not optional to the follower of Christ. They are absolutely necessary to our walks of faith and obedience to Christ.
And, so we pursue them. We go after them. We pray for God to search our hearts. And, we want the Holy Spirit to nudge us when we are even beginning to let our minds drift from where they ought to be. We want the Holy Spirit to check our spirits when we are beginning to have the wrong thoughts or desires, or the wrong attitudes. We want to be reined in, and we want to walk in the ways of God’s righteousness and holiness.
When we are truly seeking after God’s righteousness, and we are responding positively to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit, by yielding to the Lord, we will want to do what he says, and we will want to be like Jesus in heart and in mind, too. And, we will want to treat others in like manner as Jesus treats us, with the same grace, and love, and kindness that he showed us.
But, Jesus doesn’t give us carte blanche to sin against him. He doesn’t ignore our sin, either. He confronts us gently, and more strongly if we are being rebellious, and he lets us know that we need to repent, and that we need to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. And, this is one of the ways in which he shows us mercy, too, by pursuing us, by prodding us, and by urging us to walk righteously before him.
So, showing others mercy doesn’t mean we condone or that we pacify sin. In fact, it means that we care enough about them to tell them the truth about their sin in hopes that they will forsake their sins and that they will follow the Lord Jesus and his ways. And, that is being merciful, because we don’t want anyone to go to hell and we don’t want anyone to suffer the consequences of disobedience to God, either. And, we want to see them walk in freedom from sin, for there they will have true peace.
Yet, there will be people who will judge us falsely, and who will accuse us of wrong motives or of being unloving or judgmental. But, we have no control over what others do or say about us. So, no matter what comes our way, we must remain pure in heart in our love for our Lord, and in our love for our fellow humans, even if we are misjudged as having impure motives. For, God knows our hearts, and we answer to him.
Matthew 5:9-12 ESV
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
A lot of people have this impression of being Christlike as being someone that everyone loves, who never says anything to upset anyone, and who always tries to make peace with everyone. But, there is a difference between being peacekeepers and peacemakers. For, peacekeepers are those who will never ruffle any feathers and who will willingly do whatever they need to do to avoid any and all conflict, even if it means compromising truth and their faith in Jesus Christ.
A peacemaker, on the other hand, doesn’t compromise truth or the gospel or their faith in order to appease others or in order to not “make waves.” Jesus was a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper, and he definitely “made waves,” and he upset people because he didn’t compromise with them. For, peacemakers are more concerned with people being at peace with God than they are with whether or not people like them and think that they are “nice.”
If you are a peacekeeper, you probably will never be persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ, for you will do everything possible to never upset people or to have them angry with you or thinking badly of you. And, so you probably won’t say much at all about Jesus or his gospel because you know that is bound to offend someone or to make people not like you. And, you won’t confront people in their sin, because you want them to like you, and to think well of you, and you won’t call them to repentance, either, or warn them of judgment for the same reasons.
Nonetheless, if you are a peacemaker, and if you are a seeker after righteousness, and if you have the love, compassion, mercy and tenderness of heart of Jesus Christ in caring about other people, then you will say whatever the Lord gives you to say, even if people don’t like you in return. You will speak the truth in love. And, you will say things that people don’t want to hear, and you will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, too.
For, if they persecuted Jesus, who was without sin, and perfect in heart and motives, and who only did what was best for us, and if they hung him on a cross to die, because they didn’t like who he was and what he did and said, then if we are following him with our lives, we will be treated likewise. Yet, we are to rejoice, for our reward is in heaven, not on this earth.
An Original Work / April 15, 2012
Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.
Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
By His Spirit, from above.
Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019