Summary: The Beatitudes and the christian value system.
Introduction to the beatitudes. (Part 1)
Mankind has always valued and exalted the strong, the beautiful, the successful. The happiness of a person has usually been measured by the degree in which one achieves good results or arouses admiration. Conversely, the absence of strength, beauty, riches, success, and the like, is considered a misfortune—a source of frustration, humiliation and suffering. This has always been the prevailing scale of values in “the kingdom of man.”
When Jesus came, He challenged and rejected this earth-bound standard which condemns to hopelessness and frustration the vast majority of mankind. With his “Sermon on the Mount,” he turned upside down this short-sighted value system, and introduces the values of the “Kingdom of God,” the opening set of which is enshrined in “The Beatitudes.”
The beatitudes reveal attitudes of heart and life which God values. The values which God has and which He has designed His Kingdom to work around are very different from the values of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The regenerated Christian is to have the same system of values which God has, for we are to have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).
These values are essential to Christian living. They cannot be compromised and are undebatable truths that drive and direct behavior. They are motivational, giving us the reason why we do things; and they are restrictive, placing boundaries around behavior.
Every man has a value system or a set of values that guide his life. These values are what we are willing to live by and also to die for. For some, their values or morals are ungodly and are not based on the scriptures. For others, they base their lives on Judeo-Christian values or morals. We are not saved by our value system.. The way a person can go to Heaven is by trusting in the Blood of Jesus for the remission of sins. Worldly values include wealth, power, pleasure, revenge, fame, vanity and status. These are the most important things to people who perceive no power or purpose beyond themselves. Worldly values promote jealousies, resentments and conflicts among people in accordance with the purposes of Satan (John 8:44, Acts 5:3, Romans 16:17-20, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:25-32, 2 Timothy 2:22-26, 1 John 3:8-10).
The values taught in the Bible are the opposite of worldly values:. Christian values promote peace and good-will among people in accordance with the purposes of God. We will never achieve perfection in this life, but those people who strive to obey God often find a sense of joy and peace that no worldly rewards can match!
The Beatitudes provide a comforting vision. There is a place where all the wrongs will be righted. The poor in spirit will inherit God’s Kingdom. Those who mourn will be comforted. The meek will inherit the land. Those who suffer for righteousness will be vindicated. The merciful will be shown mercy. Peacemakers will find peace as God’s children.
This is indeed a powerful vision. It can be understood as future-oriented. As is well known, this reversal seldom happens in this world. In this world the successful are those who “seize the day” or who act aggressively. The meek, lowly and humble often get left behind or, worse, trampled on. From this vantage point, the Beatitudes express what will come in God’s Kingdom, not what can be expected here below.
King David demonstrated value-driven behavior in Psalm 15:1-5
"Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken."
Notice that he said the person who enjoys the presence of God and lives a blameless life is the one who “speaks the truth from his heart” (vv. 1-2). Because this person values truth in his heart, his words express truth. Because he values kindness, he “does his neighbor no wrong” (v. 3). Because he values honesty, he “keeps his oath even when it hurts” (v. 4). Because he values justice, he “does not accept a bribe against the innocent” (v. 5).
Believers who are driven by biblical values reap a great benefit from the Lord. David said they “will never be shaken.” Regardless of what may happen around them, they can live with full confidence that the right principles have shaped their values and have guided their decisions. That confidence will give them emotional and spiritual stability. It will enable them to be believers whom God can use for his glory.