Summary: In these Beatitudes the Lord Jesus Christ describes the distinguishing characteristics and privileges of those who are "His disciples," or the birthmarks by which the true subjects of His kingdom may be identified.
The Preaching of the King –Part5
In these Beatitudes the Lord Jesus Christ describes the distinguishing characteristics and privileges of those who are "His disciples," or the birthmarks by which the true subjects of His kingdom may be identified. Looking at these Beatitudes from another angle, we may regard them as furnishing a description of the nature of true happiness, and how true happiness is attained. His teachings of true happiness are contrary to the teachings and the theories which obtain in the carnal mind. Instead of attributing genuine happiness in the possession of outward things, Jesus attributes true happiness to the possession and cultivation of spiritual graces. Jesus is not describing the foundation the sinner’s hope of receiving mercy from God rests, but is tracing the spiritual features of His own people, among which mercifulness is a prominent one. His evident meaning was: mercy is an indispensable trait in that holy character which God has inseparably connected with the enjoyment of that happiness, both in this life and the hereafter, which is the product of His own sovereign kindness.
The place first four Beatitudes may be regarded as the initial work of the Holy Spirit in the heart that has been awakened by the Holy Spirit. The next four Beatitudes deal with the subsequent fruits of the heart. In verse 6 the soul is seen hungering and thirsting after righteousness and than filled by the Holy Spirit. In verse 7 we are shown the first effect and evidence of this. Having received mercy from the Lord, the saved sinner now offers mercy to others. It is not that God requires us to be merciful in order to obtain His mercy that would overthrow the whole purpose His grace, but having received mercy the disciples of Jesus act graciously toward others.
The merciful Jesus refers to is compassion of the soul that is moved to pity and go to the relief of another in misery, a gracious disposition toward our fellowman and fellow Christians. It is a spirit of kindness and benevolence which sympathizes with the sufferings of the afflicted, so that we weep with those that weep. It ennobles its possessor so that he tempers justice with mercy, and scorns the taking of revenge. It is a holy disposition in contrast with that foolish sentimentality which ignores the requirements of justice, and is inclined to sympathize with those in deserved misery. That is a false and unholy mercy which petitions the courts to cancel or modify a just and fully merited sentence which has been passed upon some flagrant offender. It is also a holy compassion as opposed to that partiality which is generous to some and harsh to others.
The roots of this mercy do not have in them anything in the natural man. True, there are some who make no profession of being Christians in whom we often find sympathy for the suffering, and a readiness to forgive those who have wronged them, yet is it merely instinctive, and though admirable there is nothing spiritual in it. Instead of being subject to God’s authority it is often opposed to God’s law. The mercy Jesus refers to is different from and superior to natural graciousness, it is a graciousness approved by God in which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and commended in His Word. It is the result of Jesus living in our heart. He was moved with compassion. He wept with the mourner. If He is living in us the same disposition in Him, however imperfectly manifested, must be reproduced.
This mercy is something more than a feeling it is an active principle. It not only stirs the heart, but it moves the hand to render help to those in need, for the one cannot be severed from the other. Jesus makes it very clear that no work of mercy is shown to those in misery except that it proceeds from inward compassion. The "mercy" Jesus refers to in this Beatitude exerts itself in doing good, being a fruit of the love of God shed abroad in the heart. It is an unmistakable trait of the new man. It is like the "mercy" in Abraham, after he had been wronged by his nephew, which caused him to go after and secure his deliverance from the hands of his enemies. It was the "mercy" on the part of Joseph, after his brothers had so grievously mistreated him, which moved him to freely forgive them. It was the "mercy" in Moses, after Miriam had rebelled against him and the Lord had smitten her with leprosy, which moved him to cry, "Heal her now, O God, I beseech You” (Numbers 12:13). It was the "mercy" in David which caused him to spare the life of his arch-enemy when the wicked Saul was in his hands.