The Beatitudes – Part 2

Scripture

Read Matthew 5:6-8

Study

Jesus went on a mountainside with disciples to instruct them when he saw the crowds.  What he taught them the masses were likely unwilling to accept.  The Beatitudes are not for the spiritually immature but they should be the standard for all true disciples of Jesus.

Those who hunger for righteousness

There are close similarities between those who hunger and thirst for righteousness as to those who mourn.  When Jesus wept, it was over unbelief and unrighteousness.  Likewise we should be upset when we see the world falling apart at the seams because of sin.  A hunger for righteousness takes things one step further however.  It is one thing to be upset about something, it is an entirely different thing to want to be a part of the solution.  People who hunger for righteousness aren’t content to just mourn the poor situation that they’re in, they will go out and do all they can to bring about change.  This can be done in a number of ways: through politics, civic organizations, or simply preaching the gospel.

It is easy to recognize and complain about the problem – a true disciple hungers for the solution and will work to see righteousness achieved.

The merciful 

It has been said that mercy is for the weak but Jesus tells us just the opposite.  If we expect mercy, we should be merciful.  This is much the same way as we should be forgiving if we want to be forgiven.  Perhaps this could be considered a corollary on the golden rule.

That said, mercy is also a spiritual gift that some have and others do not.  Some are naturally more merciful than others.  This does not excuse those who do not have the gift of mercy from being merciful however.  Those who lack mercy usually want to see people “get what they deserve.”  This is a natural human tendency but we should all remember what we really deserve.  “For the wages of sin is death…”  Thank God for His mercy that the verse doesn’t end there but continues with “… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The pure in heart

Who are the pure in heart?

Of all the beatitudes, the pure in heart are the most difficult to define.  It is perhaps the most “ideal” of all as well.  We won’t always be merciful and we won’t always be peacemakers, but it is possible to be that way most of the time.  Pureness in heart, that’s more difficult.

Jesus taught that the Ten Commandments were broken not just when a physical act had been done but whenever an attitude of the heart was committed.  A murderer does not have to kill someone but may just have an attitude of hatred in their heart.  Purity in heart encompasses so much of what we do that Jesus may as well have said, “blessed are those who don’t sin.”  How many sinful acts do we commit that don’t originate in the heart?  And would a person who is pure in heart then commit those sins?

Fortunately there is hope.  It would be difficult to describe David as a man who was pure in heart when you concentrate on the sins he committed.  Nevertheless, he was a man after God’s own heart.  Once again it comes down to attitude.  Our attitude can be, and often is, sinful.  But even when that occurs we can then have a repentant attitude that strives for purity.  David committed horrid acts of sin but his cries of repentance show that although the flesh wins the occasional battle against the spirit, the person whose heart is pure will win the war and they will see God.

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