Summary: The Beatitudes are not a list of "TRY HARDER" principles, but characteristics of Children of God at work in God's Kingdom.
The Unveiling of the Kingdom of God: The Beatitudes (2)
We have been looking at the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. The word, “Beatitude” is from the Latin word meaning “to bless”, and so The Beatitudes are sayings by Jesus in which He describes how He BLESSES those whom He chosen as His Kingdom Children. These Beatitudes ARE NOT given to us in order to TRY HARDER to be a Kingdom Kid, but they are the reality of a LIFE THAT HAS BEEN CHANGED from the spirit of the World into the Holy Spirit of the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 5, from last study: 1 ”When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain ; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
I. (vs. 3) "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (I am spiritually bankrupt, destitute, and KNOW IT)
II. (vs. 4) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (By God’s grace, I have come to a realization of how great my sin really is and I turn to God in REPENTANCE!)
III. (vs. 5) "Blessed are the gentle (meek), for they shall inherit the earth.” (The meek and humble realize how much grace and forgiveness have been received from God and are willing to follow His Word and Will on His terms. The meek live in humility and submissiveness to God’s Sovereignty.)
IV. (vs. 6) "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (I now have a new spiritual diet which desires to please God and follow His standards. I am only truly satisfied and fulfilled when I am pleasing God.)
V. (vs 7) "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” This fifth beatitude could be seen as is a natural result of hungering and thirsting after God: If you are following and feasting on Christ, you are going to start acting like Christ. If you realize what He has done for you, you will not be judgmental to others. How much grace have you received? Just a little from God? NO! An infinite amount! It is only those who are poor in spirit, those who are humble recipients of God’s grace who will naturally extend mercy to others.
Jesus took my penalty for sin and so God has pardoned me instead of judging and punishing me; God has extended help and healing to me in the person and work of Jesus and I can do no less toward others. You extend forgiveness to others because you have received forgiveness from God.
The “world’s” attitude toward those who seeks retribution, but those who have received grace from God, are quick to extend mercy. By the grace of God, we demonstrate the very character of God to others. Extending mercy is the living proof of the living God living in us.
We will find Jesus expounding on this beatitude later in Matthew 18 in the parable of the unmerciful servant: 32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
VI. (vs. 8) "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Psalm 24:3-6 tells us: “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.”
The immediate answer to “who may stand in God’s Holy Place?” is NOBODY. Our hearts are POLLUTED with sin. Unholy (impure) people CANNOT stand in God’s Holy Place. The Bible continually teaches that sin and evil originate and spring up in the heart, in the inner man because man’s HEART IS EVIL, born in sin. The word for “pure” (katharos) is translated “pure, clean or clear” in the New Testament. Some of the definitions for this word include: “free from corrupt desire, free from sin and guilt, free from what is false, sincere genuine, blameless, innocent”.
Matthew 23:26, Jesus used the verb (Katharizo) as well as the adjective form (Katharos) of this word when He said: "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” As is the case with all of these Beatitudes, we cannot will and try to do better and expect to achieve God’s standard. WE cannot cleanse a polluted and dead heart. Cleansing has to begin from the inside out. We need a righteousness and a cleansing that is not our own. We need HEARTS cleansed by the washing of the Holy Spirit and by the blood of Christ and we need the clothing of Christ’s righteousness, a righteousness NOT OF OUR OWN; that is the only way that we will see God. The GIFT from God will lead to Holy Living, NOT THAT Holy Living will result in a Holy heart.